26 Simple But Effective Ways to Invest in Yourself

When you invest time, money, and effort in yourself, you’re really investing in your future. Prioritizing your health, personal growth, and career is the best way to have a prosperous life.

Anything you do to better yourself will improve your skills and abilities, making you a more valuable employee, a more capable entrepreneur, and a happier person overall. Being happy, well-liked, and having diverse skills will make people want to work with you, which is a roundabout way of protecting your money and job security.

While this isn’t exactly a way to protect your money from economic instability, investing in yourself will pay off. And it usually comes with a low risk and a low cost.

What small, simple changes can you make in your daily life?

1. Eat Better

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Just as you invest in your financial future, prioritizing a balanced diet is an investment in your physical health. What you eat and how much you eat has a huge impact on your health and how you feel.

Sure, caffeine or sugar will give you a boost, but a balanced diet is much better for your energy levels and overall well-being. The proper nutrients can improve things like your stress levels, memory, attention span, and problem-solving skills. So grab a piece of fruit or nuts instead of a chocolate bar, and limit processed foods.

2. Drink Water, Not Sugar

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I love sugary drinks like cappuccinos and grape soda, but I didn’t realize just how much sugar they contain. One drink alone has more than the maximum recommended amount of added sugars you should have in a day. So, having a coffee in the morning and a soda at lunch is way too much!

Consuming too much sugar can cause a lot of health problems, like heart disease and weight gain, and can actually drain your energy. Drink water instead. It’s good for your physical health, digestion, energy levels, and mood.

3. Go Outside

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Chances are good that you spend the bulk of your day sitting looking at a screen. Go outside to get a break from the blue light and mental fatigue.

A 10-minute walk might seem uneventful, but it can do wonders for your body and mind, especially if you make it a daily habit. Stepping away from your busy office or taking a family walk after dinner will help you feel better and think clearly.

But even just being outside has its benefits. Natural light and fresh air are good for you. So eat your lunch outside instead of at your desk, or have your morning coffee on your deck instead of your kitchen counter. You’ll love it.

4. Read Interesting Things

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I don’t know about you, but I often find myself reading pointless things while scrolling through my phone. I’m never really sure how I landed on an article about organizing my sock drawer, but that’s what happens.

Once I realized I was going down these rabbit holes, I purged the time-wasting apps from my phone and replaced them with interesting ones. Flipboard and Refind are my favorites, as I can easily follow the topics that interest me and learn things that help me improve.

Reading a book is also a good choice. It’s good for your brain and memory, helps expand your vocabulary, and is a very productive form of entertainment.

5. Write Something

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To-do lists, emails to friends, journal entries, rough notes for a new idea, blog posts… whichever appeals to you, writing every day is a great way to invest in your personal development.

These days, everyone communicates through writing, and no one wants to try to decipher typos and vague responses. Clear, direct messages will make your life a whole lot easier.

Plus, writing things down helps keep you organized, allows you to express yourself and your creativity, provides an outlet for processing things, and can help you solve problems.

6. Move Around

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Health experts suggest getting 30 minutes of exercise every day. While this seems easy enough, most people don’t reach this target. While you should try your best to exercise every day, moving around more is a simple way to improve yourself.

Stand-up desks or ellipticals that fit under your desk are one way to go. But you could just stand up while on the phone, use the stairs, or park a little further away. These little steps will add up, help you feel more alert and relaxed, and are easy to build upon.

7. Be Picky With Who You Follow

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You’ve heard before that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who you follow on social media also influences your perceptions and behaviors.

Of course, if all you see on your preferred social media site are rants or negativity, that will make you angrier and more pessimistic. It’s healthy to be picky about who you follow. Your time and attention is valuable. Choose people or accounts that make you smile and lift you up. (And you have my permission to delete that one family member who’s always posting nonsense.)

8. Turn Off the TV

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I’m not saying you should never watch TV, but there’s a big difference between watching it for 2 hours and 6 hours a day. Surely, there are better things you can do with some of that time. Plus, studies have shown that watching TV before bed interferes with sleep, so cutting back will also improve your sleep quality.

9. Go to Bed

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Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. I suffered from insomnia for years and wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Not getting enough makes you sluggish and irritable, and the smallest things completely distract you. You don’t have to live that way, though.

Prioritize your sleep by getting quality pillows and bedding, using blackout curtains to make the room dark, and using fans to cool the room and add white noise. Also, stop using your phone in bed. You will wake up feeling so much better.

10. Schedule Me-Time

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You need to relax. For some people, that means meditating; for others, it means going for a long drive in the country or tending to their garden. Choose whatever makes you feel calm and content, and make time for it. If you have to, actually schedule time for self-care in your day planner so you don’t skip it.

11. Do Something Creative

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Some people are more naturally creative than others, but we all have it in us. Doing creative things, like cooking, painting, or playing an instrument, can unlock those skills—even if you aren’t great at them. You will get better with practice and persistence, giving you a nice confidence boost.

Engaging in creative activities is generally calming and helps manage stress levels. Trying new things can also help you uncover your hidden talents.

12. Go See Your Friends and Family

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Texting and DMing are great ways to keep in touch, but you should really go and see your friends and family if you can. Sending messages is not the same thing as seeing each other, hugging, and having a face-to-face conversation. If distance is a problem, a video call is a solid alternative.

The people in your life are wonderful support systems for advice and encouragement or when you just need a break from your routine. That sense of belonging makes us feel secure, and you can learn a lot from meaningful conversations with others.

13. Make New Friends

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Making friends as an adult is challenging, but expanding your network and social circle is beneficial. New people are interesting and often expose you to different perspectives or ideas. And from a professional standpoint, meeting new people creates opportunities for potential partnerships and job referrals.

Online friends count here, too. I never would have imagined that joining an online group back in 2019 would lead to me working full-time for them a few years later. I now have the best job and love my career. And I still haven’t met a single member in person!

14. Take a Class

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Taking a class or course is a great way to meet new people and learn new skills at the same time. And there are so many options to choose from, like cooking classes, dance lessons, language courses, or boot camps. You can also take a class online, giving you endless possibilities about what you can learn.

Employers love to see continual learning on your resume, and it can also make you more valuable to your current team.

15. Volunteer

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Volunteering somewhere is a fantastic way to support a cause you care about. But this selfless activity is actually sort of selfish, too. The organization benefits from your time and effort; you benefit by getting hands-on experience, meeting new people, and making a real difference.

16. Talk to Your Children

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Children see the world differently. Spending time with your kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews will expose you to their imaginative and inquisitive ways. No two conversations will be the same; I promise you that.

17. Get a Pet

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Yes, that little furball friend of yours is enriching and improving your life. Having a pet (or several) means you always have company and something to keep you entertained. Playing with your pet also does wonders for reducing stress levels and increasing your happiness.

18. Listen to Podcasts

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Finding the time to read can be challenging, but podcasts and audiobooks are much easier to add to your routine. You can listen to one on your commute, while cooking dinner or doing chores, or even at work. With a massive amount of topics and titles available, there is something perfect for you.

19. Set a Goal and a Plan

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Setting goals only works if you also make a plan to achieve those goals. Otherwise, they are just aspirations you hope will come true one day. Figure out what you want, when you want it by, and how you are going to get it. Then make it happen!

20. Challenge Yourself

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Yes, you want to set SMART goals that you can actually accomplish. But pushing yourself a little further will pay off even more.

For example, let’s say you want to save $2500 this year. To get there, you’d have to save about $50 a week. But if you can push yourself and save $75 each week, you’ll have $3,900 in your savings account instead. Or, instead of taking a 30-minute walk five times a week, aim for 45 minutes.

21. Figure Out Your Finances

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Investing in yourself doesn’t necessarily mean spending money, but not everything is free. Going back to school, for example, can be an expensive investment to make.

Knowing where you stand financially is important at all stages of life. You don’t need a spreadsheet detailing every last penny, but you do need to know where you are spending your money and how much your regular expenses are. So, organize your bills, make a budget, and spend accordingly.

Being in control of your finances is powerful and allows you to invest in what matters most.

22. Invest Your Money

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When you think of investing, you typically think of things like the stock market, buying real estate, and mutual funds – not really about your health and career. Investing in your financial future is a significant part of investing in yourself.

Ideally, you’ll have money saved in a college, retirement, or emergency fund. However, to grow your money, investing is the way to go. That said, investing is a very broad field, so it’s important to do your research and choose the right strategy for your goals and risk tolerance.

23. Choose the Right Education

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Your level of education and the subjects you study impact your career. Getting a degree or certification in something you’re interested in is one of the best ways to invest in yourself. It will also make you more marketable and get paid more.

However, if you want to be successful, there also needs to be demand for your chosen role. Sadly, not everyone can be a professional golfer or luxury hotel critic! Finding steady work and career growth in in-demand industries like technology, healthcare, and financial services will be easier.

24. Start a Business

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Starting your own business (a.k.a. a side hustle) is another great way to invest in yourself. It’s a great choice for creative people who want to be their own boss. If you start your own business and it does well, you can make a lot of money. You also get the satisfaction of knowing you built something from scratch.

There are always risks when you start your own business, though. Even if you have a great idea, there’s no guarantee that your business will do well, so you should be honest with your expectations. But if you’re willing to take a chance, starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding both personally and financially.

25. Stay Healthy

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Little habits like eating better, drinking more water, and getting more exercise will become easier over time, and you will notice the benefits.

When you’re healthy, you can work harder and get more done. You’re also less likely to get sick, saving you money on healthcare costs. And when you feel good, you are more likely to be happy, which is good for your mental health.

26. Get a Check-Up

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No one likes going to the doctor, but if you haven’t been in a while or are concerned about something health-related, don’t put it off. A lot of ailments are easier to manage the sooner they are discovered. Getting help or a clean bill of health also puts any unnecessary worry at bay.

For your mental health, consider talking to a counselor or therapist. They have excellent resources and strategies for coping with stress, anxiety, and relationship issues.

How Will You Invest In Yourself?

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Figure out how you want to invest in yourself: physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, financially, or all of the above. Then, figure out how to make it a reality and do it. All of these things will be good for you in the long run!

Improve Your People Skills

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How you interact with and relate to others can impact your success in life and your career. No one wants to work with someone who is negative and always complains.

Strong interpersonal skills are just as crucial to your career as technical hard skills and expertise. They help you navigate the day-to-day tasks and challenges you face at work. So what exactly are these skills, and how do you learn them?

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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