Guest Contributor Casey Slide lives in Atlanta and is a columnist for the Money Crashers finance site, where she writes about money management and personal development.
The older I get, the quicker time seems to pass. A year feels like mere months, and a day passes in the blink of an eye. I often become so caught up in daily life and its many distractions that I often forget to take care of myself. Perhaps if I treated my needs as if they were investments, I might make some changes and refocus my priorities.
This year, learn to invest in yourself. You’ll be sure to improve your finances, as well as your quality of life.
Fill Your Time With Value-Adding Activities
To truly invest in yourself, stop wasting time with frivolity and engage yourself with life-enriching activities. Things you can fit into your daily schedule to add value to your life include:
1. Read More Books
Look for books about personal finance, health and well-being, business, or any other topic of interest that could make you a better person or enable you to make better decisions. As long as you continue to educate yourself and expand your wisdom, you’ve chosen the right books.
In addition, keep updated on current events by reading a trustworthy news website. When you become informed, you become a well-rounded, knowledgeable person who makes educated decisions.
2. Focus on Your Health
Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, taking vitamins, and visiting your doctor on a regular basis could add years, if not decades, to your life. Begin by reading books about health and fitness. Visit your physician for a check-up and put yourself on a regimen that gets you in shape.
3. Take Classes
Consider taking classes or programs to advance your career or to help you transition to a new line of work. Then, consider acquiring new skills that enrich you personally. Do you want to learn how to cook, sew, or play a sport?
I recently took a sewing class because I wanted to sew my son’s homemade Halloween costumes in order to save money and to make really unique costumes. Some of my friends have taken other fun classes for personal enrichment, such as belly dancing, ceramics, and creative writing. These classes can further help you invest in yourself by increasing your workout times or by increasing your personal and professional networks.
4. Spend Time With Family and Friends
Sometimes, we all need a shoulder to lean on. Boost your mental and emotional health by spending time with people who support you during rough times, and celebrate your successes. These are the moments you’ll remember at the end of your life, so begin building wonderful memories today.
5. Meditate or Pray
Meditation or prayer allows you a way to step back from your life, slow down for a few moments, and escape the chaos around you. This also affords you the opportunity to evaluate yourself and your life to become a better person. Taking time to reflect reminds us to believe in the big picture, and to not get so hung up on the little disappointments in life.
Make Smart Financial and Career Decisions
In addition to spending your time more wisely, you should also spend your money more wisely and make smart career moves. Some tips to help you invest in your financial and career goals in 2012 are:
6. Follow Your Passions
If you feel passionate about your career, you can enjoy unlimited satisfaction. When you do what you love, you can truly excel at your job, and gain promotions, higher pay, and recognition – as well as personal fulfillment.
7. Find Multiple Sources of Income
Consider getting a part-time job or start your own business to supplement your savings and emergency fund. Additional sources of income help you pay off debt and plan for retirement. While earning a second income takes work, you benefit by growing your wealth and diversifying your skill set.
8. Embrace Self-Awareness
Carefully evaluate your passions and what you like and dislike at work and at home. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and use that information to build up your personal brand. This makes you more marketable in the workforce, and helps you understand the career and life path you take.
Invest in yourself by increasing your personal and professional networks. Depending on your personality and comfort level, you may feel more comfortable meeting people at events specifically designed for people to network. If you decide you need a change, having a vibrant network can help you get the job you want.
10. Become More Frugal
Learn to live within your means. Get out of debt, decrease your monthly expenses, and avoid accruing more debt. Learn how to save money on groceries and how to cut back on monthly bills to stay within your budget. By living free of debt and within your means, you’ll find a new sense of freedom.
Investing in yourself can be challenging, but if you don’t take time for yourself, you have everything to lose. If you don’t care for your health, it will fail you; if you don’t care for your mind, you will fall behind. Take the time to care for your mind, body, and soul, and reap the benefits as you enrich your life.
How have you invested in yourself lately? What activities do you believe enrich your life and your finances?