15 Ways to Invest in Yourself and Advance Your Career
Ways to Invest in Yourself and Advance Your Career
Personal development and self-care are often the first casualties in our busy lives. It can be a challenge to find the time to study, exercise, or simply switch off. Unfortunately, ignoring our emotional and physical health can also lead to job burnout and much worse so prioritizing self-care and personal development will help to keep us healthy and ahead both personally and professionally.
Life is intense with the pressure to perform increasing as we adjust to new ways of working. It has never been more important to take time to make sure we are the best possible versions of ourselves.
Invest in Yourself and Advance Your Career
There are different definitions of success. Some of us value titles and remuneration while others are more interested in philanthropy and helping others. What we do share is a common desire to achieve and provide for ourselves and our families. It can seem like an insurmountable task to simply manage what’s expected of us each day. Before we know it another day, week, or year has passed. It can feel self-indulgent to actively prioritize ourselves but not doing so has far-reaching counterproductive consequences.
With that in mind, here are 15 ways to invest in yourself and advance your career.
1 | Find Time to Exercise | Perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our families are to be healthy and active. It doesn’t matter what we do, what does matter is that we do it regularly.
Finding an activity that we enjoy and benefits our health has never been easier. There are options for us all ranging from a simple walk every day to weight training or even yoga.
Like everything, physical fitness is a journey. You will be astounded at what your body can do with a little effort and consistency.
As a bonus, there are proven correlations between physical activity and mental health. Making sure our bodies are fit and healthy can only make us happier and more effective in the workplace.
2 | Prioritize Healthy Eating | How we choose to fuel our bodies each day can have a dramatic impact on our productivity. None of us are immune to unhealthy eating habits slowly creeping in.
While we juggle our professional and personal responsibilities, it’s all too easy to ignore the power of a healthy diet.
We’ve all skipped breakfast or ordered in rather than cooking. Sadly, these habits can become the norm quickly if we aren’t paying attention.
The good news is a healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring, repetitive, or exorbitantly expensive. Cutting back on processed foods, alcohol, and red meat are some of the easiest changes to make.
Changes such as these will improve overall health dramatically, allowing for increased energy and productivity.
3 | Get Enough Sleep | It may be tempting to stay up for a few hours every night to watch your favorite show. Unfortunately, not getting enough good quality sleep can jeopardize our goals and negatively impact our well-being.
Being exhausted all the time is not pleasant. Slogging through the day and relying on caffeine to sustain you is a recipe for disaster.
One of the best ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep is to practice good sleep routine.
Making sure that we avoid screen time before bed is an easy, simple change to make. Switching off our devices an hour before bed can go a long way to getting that perfect night’s sleep.
4 | Rediscover a Lost Hobby | With a seemingly endless to-do list, it can be tempting to think there isn’t time for our hobbies. While many of us are time-constrained, losing touch with the activities that feed us is a mistake to be avoided.
Our hobbies may not seem important to our friends, families, and colleagues but nothing could be further from the truth.
Our hobbies give us a sense of purpose and accomplishment that aren’t dependent on professional success. This leads to increased levels of confidence and self-acceptance that contribute immensely to our mental health and workplace effectiveness.
4 | Get Organized | Having a cluttered workspace where it’s impossible to find what you need is a recipe for disaster. This can be avoided by making sure that work and living areas are clean, neat, and tidy.
Simple routines like never leaving the office without clearing the desk are a great place to start.
Research shows that making the environments we live and work in more organized can lower our levels of stress significantly. This can only make us happier and more productive.
5 | Look Good, Feel Good | Our appearance has the potential to either make us feel great or dent our confidence. It may seem shallow but there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in the way we look.
It isn’t vanity to look as good as we possibly can. Our outward appearance is often directly related to the time we have to prioritize them.
Getting a new haircut or that perfect outfit you’ve had your eye on can make all the difference.
By making that time we are telling ourselves that our needs matter. This can so often get lost when we are caring for others or working long hours.
Having a healthy self-image is one of the cornerstones of mental health. Our appearance plays a significant role in how we view ourselves and interact with the world. Looking the best we can gives that boost of self-confidence we all instinctively need.
6| Have a Routine | According to research, it takes 28 days to form a new habit. Sadly, the opposite holds with bad habits also being easy to entrench.
While we all have different schedules and responsibilities, having a consistent routine is something we should all share.
This is especially valuable when we are making changes to our lives. If exercise is new, diarizing your sessions and sticking to the plan helps immensely in the difficult early stages.
7 | Set Goals | It’s easy to get lost in the quest for productivity and output, losing sight of the big picture. Few of us take the time to think about where we want to go and how to get there.
Feeling rudderless and without direction can seem overwhelming. Just having a vague idea of what we want for our lives contributes to this.
Measurable, achievable, and realistic goals give us a sense of purpose and a roadmap to our dreams.
Setting aside time to think about what we want and how to get it is the bedrock of achievement. If we want to avoid drifting aimlessly, we need to know what our goals are and how to realize them.
8 | Read a Book | Reading may seem like a chore when compared to your favorite show or a night out with friends. In truth, the gift of reading is one of the finest we can give ourselves.
Whether it’s for complete escapism or personal development, setting aside time each day to read strengthens us immensely.
Reading builds vocabulary and broadens the mind. It allows for increased empathy and, at its best, can show us entirely new worlds.
These skills have value in both our private and professional lives.
9 | Start a Journal | Writing can seem intimidating if we have limited experience. What’s brilliant about journaling is that it’s not for public consumption.
A journal is an opportunity to write down what we are feeling or about the events of our lives.
Often the simple act of organizing our thoughts can lead to insights and breakthroughs we may not have expected.
A diary or journal is deeply personal. It doesn’t matter what or how often you write, just that you do it regularly and honestly.
Gaining insight into ourselves and how we react leads to increased self-awareness. It allows us to see what’s going well and where changes may be needed.
When it comes to working, journaling about our successes and failures is invaluable. It gives us perspective on our achievements and shortcomings while building resilience and conscientiousness.
10 | Travel | Our offices and workplaces have become increasingly international and cosmopolitan. We interact with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds all the time.
If we haven’t spent time away from our own homes and cultures, it can be challenging to relate.
Travel allows us to have novel experiences in an unfamiliar environment. By doing this we can get out of our comfort zones. This gives us a feel for how people in other places live their lives.
When we understand that our differences are what make us stronger, we become better people.
11 | Be Financially Fit | We are all subject to unexpected expenses and life-changing events that can impact us significantly. These obstacles have the potential to derail us.
By making sure that our finances are in order we can avoid much of the pain and uncertainty.
Having a few months of savings and a clear understanding of our expenses mitigate the fallout from these events.
When we are confident and prepared, there is less scope for panic and uncertainty during difficult times.
12 | Network | Greatness is not often achieved in isolation. It may be tempting to go it alone, but it often makes what we’re working towards harder to achieve.
It’s not only at the office where we rely on our network.
From everyday help and advice to a trusted friend in times of need, the people we know can make us stronger.
Networking doesn’t have to be formal. We have opportunities to meet new people all the time. We can join a club or take up a new hobby.
Activities like this broaden our horizons and our social or professional circles. Having as many resources at our disposal as possible can only help us personally and professionally.
13 | Take a Break | We may have unavoidable responsibilities that mean we can’t get away for long holidays. While a great vacation on a sun-drenched beach seems perfect, sometimes it’s just not possible.
Taking a break can be as simple as deciding to take a walk for every hour we spend working.
This simple reset can give us clarity and renewed energy.
Even if we are under pressure, it’s important to try and find the time to switch off for longer periods. Tactics such as not responding to emails after hours or on the weekend will stand us in good stead.
14 | Find a Mentor | Having somebody we know, trust, and respect to guide us in our professional lives is important. Being able to get an accurate assessment of our weaknesses and strengths puts us far ahead of those who don’t.
Great mentors can be found just about anywhere. Our offices, networking events, and social circles are all filled with talented people we can learn from.
If we don’t have a mentor close at hand, a great option is to hire a professional coach. They are trained to help their clients achieve their goals and are often rocket fuel for our career ambitions.
15 | Communicate More Effectively by Listening | We have all had the experience of being heard, understood, and listened to actively. We have also had the feeling that who we are talking to can’t wait to get their next sentence out.
Before we speak, it’s important to learn how to hear what others are saying.
This may seem simple, but the reality is that listening is a skill few have mastered. Learning how to listen is simple and requires a little practice. If we do this, the people we talk to every day will feel heard and understood.
Being a great listener is one of the key predictors of professional success.
It may seem as if we are stuck in a relentless competition for our time, resources, and attention. When we feel like this, it can seem impossible to step back and think about what’s ultimately necessary for success.
We ignore our emotional and physical health at our peril. Investing in the activities and habits that nourish us both personally and professionally avoids this.
Thankfully it isn’t difficult, but it does require time and commitment.
If we are serious about being the best version of ourselves possible, it’s an investment we have to make.
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