Set yourself up for success with these six tips.
Setting Up for a Bright Future
If you’ve ever set aside time for introspection, you’ve probably looked back on past activities and habits. Now it’s time to look forward to what the future has in store. You can set yourself up for success with one key action: investing in yourself. Here are a few ways you can do it.
With the uncertainty of the past few years, everyone is more keenly aware of the importance of smart spending and saving. You may have discovered that some previous “musts” are now “maybes”, and you can save money by maintaining (or returning to) your scaled back habits. Perhaps you discovered that the pricey coffees you once enjoyed aren’t as exciting anymore. Trimming this type of expenditure can bring extreme savings and you could find yourself with hundreds of dollars to build up your security savings or put toward something that will really improve your family’s lives.
You certainly shouldn’t purchase every new gadget that comes on the market, but you should consider buying the tools and devices that really do make your life easier. Back in the day, our grandmothers swore by their washboards and wringers and day-long commitment to doing laundry. Even though the automatic washing machine was a luxury, it freed women up for other activities. Think of the time savings innovation can bring you! The same idea can be applied to services. If your budget allows, hiring a cleaning service or using online shoppers takes a mundane task off of your plate and allows you to spend your time on things that really matter, like family time or creative pursuits.
Think of something you’ve always wanted to do and go do it! Watch videos or take a class (in person or online) on a topic that’s always interested you. It could be a writing workshop, auto mechanics, playing a musical instrument, or upping your culinary game. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not. The victory is opening your mind and heart to knowledge.
Don’t forget to keep your career skills sharp. New technologies are introduced every day, which means the way we do our jobs will evolve in some way. You don’t want to stagnate and find yourself relegated to the sidelines. Keep an eye on your industry’s trends and tools – especially being an expert in the standard software, so you can stay on top of current thinking and practices.
Plan Out Your Goals
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” We all have hopes, and some of us set goals. But very few plan out how we’ll achieve them. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to watch your spending and save money. But you’re more likely to be successful if you say you want to put $100 in a savings account each month, which you’ll do by eating out one fewer night a month and buying coffee just three times each week.
Take the same approach to planning your goals that you would to plan a vacation – determine where you want to go, when you want it to happen, and what needs to be done to get there. It’s important to define your goal precisely. If you say you want to lose weight, set your weight goal and give yourself a realistic time frame. Put significant thought into how you’ll do it, such as cooking healthier meals, walking more, involving your family, etc. Most important, write it down! Somehow putting pen to paper makes things feel real, and if you want to keep a journal, you can record your progress and keep yourself on track.
Even the greatest plans go awry sometimes. Maybe you discover you couldn’t care less about 19th century English literature, that trying to play Heart & Soul really stresses you out, or you missed your weight goal by 10 pounds. It’s all survivable. You tried something and it didn’t work – so try again or try something else. It’s a hard concept to accept if you tend toward perfectionism, but personal growth shouldn’t include beating yourself up if you don’t succeed.
Enjoy the Journey
Life is one big journey made up of many smaller ones, and your goal is to have a happy future. While investing in yourself does have a starting point, it should never have an end. You’re going to learn new things, achieve fantastic goals, and have a ton of great experiences along the way. Be sure to notice the little things and savor every moment.