Carving out the time and energy away from normal work and home commitments to make improvements in yourself is hard for everyone.  

By investing a little time in yourself every day, you’ll realize that you are capable of doing more in the long run.

How can we start to think about investing in ourselves to get the right personal ROI?  

1. Consider Your Health

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise helps alleviate high blood pressure, diabetes, and all kinds of other issues as well as improving mental health. Exercise reduces mental stress. It is more difficult to start investing in yourself when you are physically and mentally unhealthy. 

As a leader, we have to remember that depression and anxiety are major roadblocks in taking steps toward self-improvement, so these issues need to be addressed. One of the best free sources of information is Mental Health Navigators. Another great resource is NAMI. 

Starting a regular exercise and workout regime can be hugely beneficial. When we feel physically healthier, we tend to feel more confident. The mere act of exercising releases happiness-inducing hormones in the body.

Recommendation: Eat a little healthier, drink a little more water, and get a little more activity on a daily basis.

2. Set the Right Goals

If we are going to invest in ourselves, then we need to figure out what we are working toward achieving.

What do we want to improve?

What do we want to learn more about?

We need something to strive for, something to achieve. 

When people are under stress (and this has been a stressful year!) we need quick wins.  We need to shoot for lofty goals, yes, but we also need some quick wins to keep us motivated.

Recommendation: Start by looking at your one of your goals, and then plan out the action steps you need to take to get there. Set milestones to get those quick wins to stay motivated.

3. Stretch Your Mind

Did you know that according to the Pew Research Center, 24% of American adults say they have not read a book in the past 12 months? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans over the age of 15 spend less than 17 minutes per day reading.

And yet, the benefits of reading are widely known.  UC Berkeley researchers proved that the more children read, the greater their vocabulary growth and cognitive skills. The world’s top CEOs claim that reading is an integral part of their success.  Pew further shows that the amount of time we spend reading is correlated to a higher wealth level.

We need to be continuously learning. It is vital to try and learn new things constantly, about a variety of topics, but especially in those areas that help us create the career and the life we want.   

Online learning through individual classes, courses, degree programs, workshops, masterclasses, and conferences are now readily available and affordable.  A quick online search yields thousands of results.

Recommendation: Make daily reading of books or articles related to your goals a habit.

4. Build Confidence in Yourself and Others

Confidence does not come from other people encouraging you to do something.  Cheerleading is nice, but it does not increase confidence. Confidence comes from actually doing the thing that is a little scary. 

Psychotherapist Barbara Markway, PhD believes that self confidence is attached to almost every element of a happy and fulfilling life. When you improve self confidence, you are actively fighting against fear and anxiety, two things that can derail personal success. When you build confidence you know you are capable, and as a result you become more capable.

Recommendation: Take a risk and build confidence. 

5. Decide to be happy

We all know people who have every advantage in life and they are miserable. And we all know people who have been through significant challenges, tragedies, and adversity, and they are grateful for every minute.

Happiness is a choice. People either decide to be happy or they decide not to be happy. It may sound like something you have no choice over but you really can choose to be happy.

Are there challenges? Yes.
Are things always going to be easy? No.
Can you control your attitude? Yes.
Can you decide to be happy regardless of the situation? Yes.

You must choose to do to adopt an attitude of focusing on the positives over the negatives.

Recommendation: Find something that you are proud of or that makes you happy. Invest in your own sense of well-being. Take pride in investing in YOU!

About Mary Kelly:  Mary spent 25 years on active duty in the Navy.  Author of 15 business and leadership books, Mary’s PhD is in economics. A Hall of Fame speaker, Mary delivers award-winning programs, coaches teams and executives to higher levels of growth, and advises clients companies on a monthly basis.

For more information about Mary Kelly, click here.