Since I came back to my home state of Wisconsin in mid-October for the Holidays, I’ve had a chance to connect with many of my old friends. This led me to realize there are two types of people. Those who invest in themselves, and those who do not.
The friends who didn’t invest in themselves have digressed in almost every department of life. Health, career, financial status, relationship status, and personality-wise. They chose the easy road of doing what was most fun at the time. By constantly satisfying their immediate desires they have lowered their overall status in life, including their outward happiness.
In contrast, the friends who have invested in themselves seem to be very different people in the other direction from when I last saw them last year in March. They are now making more money, have acquired a boat-load of new knowledge, honed skills, learned new skills, developed healthier relationships, achieved new health levels, and appear to have greater happiness. They did this through many simple things such as consuming new knowledge, reallocating their spending, changing their mindset/friendships, a bit of exercise and setting goals.
When you hear this tale of two friend groups, which one would you rather be in? For me it’s obvious. Happiness > Dissatisfaction. So, let’s discuss the 7 ways you can invest in yourself in 2021 to end the year with greater happiness, new skills, more motivation, perhaps we can conquer our depression, and maybe even find a SO that we will actually treat well this time.
Some of these things will probably seem very simple and overstated, and that’s because self-improvement is actually super simple. It all comes down to one thing, mindset. If you have the right mindset you will improve. So, let’s dive into these simple ways of investing in yourself to help you become a better person.
#1. Read More Books
As you know reading books is quite simple but actually picking up a book and finishing it is hard, because of Netflix and COD. Some ways to break the pull of the Netflix and Video game tractor beam are. (a) To listen to books on Audible. (b) Schedule time to watch Netflix and to read. This way your brain knows it will get to have its Netflix time later (this is the best way to slowly cut something out IMO) (c) Choose books that are interesting to you that feed your interests.
Reading books is at the top of my list because reading allows you to connect to the mind of the author and to fill your life with experiences without actually having to go through that experience personally. It can accelerate your career in ways you had never imagined because of the experiences you can gain from the trial and error of others.
#2. Watch the Right YouTube
This one we can all easily do since we already spend a decent amount of time on YouTube. YT has so many good resources in addition to the endless hours of entertainment that you can find there. This can be your year to tap into those free resources and benefit from them in so many ways.
Changing the content of what you watch isn’t super hard since you are still doing the same thing youv’e been doing, you just need to reprogram your goal so your subconscious has a shift in what it types/searches for when you go on YT. Start by writing down a few things you want to learn more about, so next time you go on YT you can refer to that list for search topics. If you keep this. upyou will eventually have very different “suggested” videos which makes it easier to stay on track (momentum).
#3. Spend your Money with Purpose
We all spend money, oftentimes on things that are meaningless, so in 2021 start to spend your money with more purpose. This change of resource allocation can be very powerful in creating meaningful change not only because of the different things you’ll have but also because of the new mentality you will gain from how you spend your money.
Start by watching what you spend your money on so you can begin to audit where your hard-earned cash is going. Start to retract spending from things like, new video games, useless subscriptions, or that impulse Starbucks buy then start to buy books, better food, travel, tools like a Mac or the Adobe Suite. These things all add up and start to compound and by purchasing things that are more meaningful you will start to have different activities presented to you which will in turn lead to a greater rewards.
#4. Find a Mentor
This is something that I find very important and extremely helpful for me. I’ve naturally gained mentors through being curious and asking my bosses questions. This leads to deeper discussions about their field then to a friendship, resulting in more introductions, which leads to more mentors in other areas of life. Mentors can really help you to level up every aspect of your life as they have an outside perspective that is often times invaluable.
I’ve had mentors ever since I graduated and moved out and I now have mentors for, business (x3), startups, relationships, faith, general life, health, and mental health. I really can’t understate the importance of having mentors in life.
Many will object saying they don’t know how to find a mentor, it’s easy. I know anyone reading this has at least 2–3 people whom they respect and look up to, ask them if you can buy them a coffee (even virtually if need be) to ask them questions. Let them know that you are looking for a mentor to help you in X area of life and you’d like to meet once a month to discuss happenings and how you can do better in the coming month before you speak next.
The important thing to remember is that you need to be somewhat self directed, they are not there to lead you. You are leading yourself, they are helping you traverse the difficult terrain.
#5. Sleep Enough
One of the most underatted things among young folks is sleeping consistently. If you are serious about living a happier life, sleep is integral to achieving that. A really wonderful book to read regarding the importance and benefits of sleep is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD. This book changed my life and I highly recommend it.
The basics of getting good sleep are, (a) sleep 7–8 hours a night, (b) always go to bed at the same time (within an hour), (c) sleep in total darkness when possible, (d) limit blue light at least 3 hours before bed, (e) sleep in a cool room, (f) go to bed early enough to get the first part of your two sleep cycles.
If you are one of those people who tries to argue that we can sleep when we are dead, you need to read this book that is fully backed up by study after study.
#6. Pursue Your Interests
it is my personal belief that we are all created with individual interests, and a specific purpose in life. Even if you don’t belive this, I guarantee you you have interests and you may be like many individuals who set aside their interests at an early age to seek approval from those around you or to pursue what your parents tell you is responsible. I’m here to tell you that living a life where you have buried your interests, you will be much less satisfied with life until you finally decide to pursue them.
Take time this year to rediscover your interests, and then begin to pursue them. When choosing your reading follow those topics, spend your YouTube time learning about them, and most importantly — create projects to help you fully comprehend your interests. Projects are one of the best ways to deeply understand a topic or subject. These projects might just result in new opportunities (volunteer/career) for you to move towards living a life filled with joy and passion.
Don’t roll your eyes at me (I’m talking to all of you tough guys). Most people struggle with not understanding themselves because their thoughts are so mixed up and messy in their head they can’t make out the crux of the ideas/problems they face. Journaling or having someone to just talk through your thoughts (therapy is for everyone regardless of baggage) is so helpful and freeing. Part of the reason I blog is because even though these ideas are not perfect, they are now more than a small grain of an idea in my head. They are a sprouting plant that might grow into something more later.
A good habit is to journal at the end of every day and recount the day’s happenings so you can better comprehend them. Doing this can help remove the trauma from the memories, and pack it away as a piece of data rather than something that haunts you. Doing this intentionally can be very powerful since you can separate facts and feelings, then decide if the feeling associated with that fact (memory) is the one that should be or that you want. This is the best way to recondition your mind especially if you were raised in a way that produced toxic habits.
If you have read this, I’m assuming your the type of person that is curious and wants to be better, but if you somehow made it through this entire piece and are not convinced or have some excuses that you’ve told yourself throughout reading this as to why you are the exception, I’m here to tell you that you’re lying to yourself. We all have the power in us to choose who we will become, what type of life we will live, even people coming from the toughest circumstances can make incredible changes.
If you feel that you have legitimate reasons why you are unable to do some of these things, reply to this story and I’ll help talk you through suggestions to circumvent those concerns. If you truly care about becoming better you will stop at nothing to procue change in your life. However, none of this can be accomplished unless you first decide what you want. You only get one shot at this life so give it all you have. Strive to be better each day, build more meaningful relationships. Take control of your health and habits. Become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Invest in yourself.