Ah, January. The start of a brand new year, and a fresh start. It’s the time of year when we start to seriously contemplate what goals we’d like to accomplish, and which projects are better left in the past. With this is mind, it seems like a relevant time to begin thinking beyond just the financial return on investment (ROI) and consider how we might start effectively begin investing in our own lives. ie. Invest in your life and increase your life ROI.
4 Ways to Invest in Your Life and Increase Your Life ROI
This post has been written by staff writer, Kerah Kemmerer.
Here are four solid areas to begin investing in your life where you will be able to enjoy the dividends for decades to come.
1. Focus on personal growth and development for physical, mental, and emotional health
While this may seem like an obvious place to start to invest in your life, we often lack the long-term vision to stick with some of our biggest dreams or challenging goals. When you decide to invest in your life, you decide to prioritize the short term challenge with the long-term reward in mind. The idea is that slow and steady wins the race.
You can count on the fact that there will be disruption and setbacks…
- sick days,
- job loss,
- relationship struggles, you name it.
However, since you’ll have already decided you are in it for the long haul and you know the reward is worth the current sacrifice, you will be able to get right back on track and continue to move forward stronger than ever.
So where to start?
Let’s begin with the body you live in.
- When is the last time you had a physical examination?
- What about routine blood work?
- How are your overall energy levels?
- Are you taking vitamins and supplements regularly and incorporating at least 30 minutes of activity into your day?
- Maybe you are struggling to manage a low-functioning thyroid, diabetes, MS or another autoimmune disorder that is sucking the life out of you.
If you truly want to invest in your life, it’s time to start focusing on your long-term health and wellness. Not a diet or fitness goal for the month, but a long-term, anti-aging, kick-these-issues in the butt sort of commitment.
Take time to schedule some routine check-ups and make a list of small things you can start doing today and approach this in small, manageable increments.
Let’s get real
One challenge for me has been to incorporate movement for at least 30 minutes every day.
- I want to it,
- I mean to do it,
- but I am not a morning person, so my attempts to do it then have never been successful.
…And it seems like once the day starts, it tends to slip away and suddenly it’s time to start wrapping up my projects, prepare for dinner, and focus on other tasks.
One solution I found is to block out 30 minutes in the afternoon on my calendar as if it were a client meeting – no exceptions – to schedule a solo-dance party or aerobic workout in my tiny living room.
It’s about as glamorous as it sounds, but it gets my heart rate up, clears my head and gives me a boost of creative energy to finish out the work day. For those of you that work from home, this may be an option – especially with little ones. They love to join in on the fun when music is involved!
When I worked in the office, I used to eat lunch at my desk and use my 30 minutes to walk around the parking lot (like 50 times) and catch up on social phone calls. The idea is to look for any way to get activity in and make small, daily deposits into the investment of your health.
Another extremely important aspect to prioritize for your physical and mental health is SLEEP.
While eight hours is recommended, you may find you actually need a little more than that to operate at full capacity. Begin by challenging yourself to actually get in bed around 9 or 10 PM every night.
- Read books,
- color, or
- watch a show with the display set to the “nighttime” setting on your device so as not to allow the blue light to disrupt your melatonin levels.
While the first few nights may be challenging to fall to sleep, consistently getting up at 6 or 7 AM will help your body adjust quickly. One shortcut is to nix the coffee or energy drink you usually have in the morning. Replace it with tea or water for a day or two until your body adjusts to the new pattern.
But, wait – there’s more!
We all know that what we eat affects our overall sense of well-being. Ideally, we want to reduce our intake of sugar, processed and chemical-laden foods, and increase our consumption of fresh fruits and veggies.
But there is even more to it than that.
Our bodies are all different and some foods may affect us differently than others. Many people can’t ingest dairy or gluten without becoming extremely uncomfortable or ill. It’s important to pay attention to what is working for your body and what isn’t. Experiment with cutting out certain food groups and then slowly working them back in. Keep a journal to observe how you feel and if something may be affecting you physically or mentally when you add it back. Invest in your life by eating what’s best for you!
At some point, however, our bodies need a reset. If you have never heard of or considered intermittent fasting, I would strongly encourage you to do some more research on it and consider how it may help your body tackle some of your mental stress or physical ailments.
Oh, and drink more water. Period.
Once you have yourself in a healthier place overall, it’s time to begin branching out.
Finding others who inspire and motivate you to pursue the best version of yourself is integral to growth. While we are fortunate to have so many online resources to draw from, nothing quite beats a real-life conversation with other individuals who are also walking the walk.
- Invest in your life by prioritizing social interactions with these individuals.
- Join Facebook Groups created by some of your favorite bloggers,
- Start your own local chapter of a group (the Mustachians is a perfect example of local meetups inspired by blogger Mr. Money
- Join Meetup.com to search for or start your own group.
I was recently invited to join a group of other local professional photographers. Our meetups include sharing our success stories as well as our struggles, and teaching and learning from each other. While sometimes it can feel like you are giving more than you receive when you join a new community, remember how you got to where you are and the people who were willing to help you out along the way. Even if that includes those who posted free content online for your to view!
Always be looking for ways to grow and get outside your comfort zone – whether you are the teacher or the student.
3. Generate multiple income streams
One financial lesson I learned quickly in life was to make sure you always have multiple streams of income.
I began working regular jobs at the age of 18 and held two jobs rights from the start. It wasn’t long before I discovered that the manager at the local sandwich shop I had been working had been ripping me off. He was paying me about $.75 less per hour than agreed upon. When I approached him about it, he blew it off as a misunderstanding and said he would fix it. I ended up with no back pay and no real resolution to the issue. Thankfully I was able to quit that job a week later because I still had the full-time one to rely on.
When I graduated college in 2009, full-time positions were hard to come by and I ended up with three part-time jobs.
- One paid minimum wage, but provided the work experience I was seeking at the time, and
- The other two were just enough to get me by living with roommates and making the minimum payment on my student loans.
By the time I had a full-time, salaried position, I knew exactly what my paycheck would be each month. While it was a bit of a step up and only involved showing up at one location rather than three, I wasn’t about to get anywhere fast on that locked-in rate. I eventually picked up another part-time job after a few month just to keep things rolling on the student loans.
Multiple streams keep from the flow drying up too quickly
I am far from the only person I know who uses this tactic. While the perks of being full time with an organization are often wonderful…
- paid vacation,
- sick days, and
…many are finding it beneficial to keep more than one income stream open.
Others have opted out of full-time roles altogether and have made more money and enjoy even more job security by balancing several jobs.
For example, I have a friend who works as an RN.
She is able to select Per Diem status at several medical facilities, which…
- allows her to set her own schedule,
- includes a higher hourly rate, and
- doesn’t require that she work weekends.
When work is slow at one facility, she has two others she can rely on and even pick up hours with her former full-time workplace – a local family vet.
I know people who maintain full-time jobs and do side work in their given professions or invest in rental properties.
When you invest in your life by creating multiple income streams, you are opening the door to not only additional financial opportunities, but learning and networking opportunities as well. You can stave off boredom by having a variety of projects to keep you on your toes and rest assured that if anything happens to one of the streams, you have others to fall back on while you seek out additional options.
(Derek’s note: Also, it’s a great idea to look into passive income options. This way, you can have several other income streams without getting burnt out from all your running around!)
4. Give back
Finally, it’s time to invest in your life by giving back. Studies have shown that giving increases happiness, counters depression and helps us live longer.
In fact, Winston Churchill sums it up quite nicely:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Start giving back today
There are many ways to give back. Here are just a few ways you can get started:
Were your grandparents influential in your life? Visit them more frequently. Ask them to share stories of what life was like growing up and ask to see old photo albums. It’s likely they’ve spent a lot of time being invested in your life through the years. Let them know that their years mattered, too.
If visiting your grandparents isn’t an option – stop by a local adult living facility. Bring flowers and balloons and ask the front desk who is celebrating a birthday this month. Brighten someone’s day by being the one to celebrate their birth and help them remember they are still worth celebrating.
Follow up with a friend that you haven’t seen in awhile. Ask to meet up or schedule a phone call. Just let them know you are thinking of them. You never know how hearing they were thought of could be the very thing they needed to hear today.
Reach out to a current friend just to make sure they are ok. Sometimes the ones that seem to have it all together are struggling the most and need a non-judgmental shoulder to cry on.
If you have younger siblings or cousins, make time to take them out at least once a month. Nothing brightens the day of young person quite like having an older sibling or someone they look up to taking time to interact with them.
Call your mom or your dad. Or your favorite aunt or uncle. Let them know you are thinking of them. Ask them if they need help with anything. Then be sure you make the time to make it happen.
Volunteer a few times a month with a cause that speaks to you personally and do what you can to raise awareness. If you can’t volunteer, then donate.
Basically, invest in others whenever you can. You don’t need to over extend your schedule and be all things to all people all the time. However, by making consistent efforts to connect with not only your loved ones, but also strangers whenever the opportunity arises, you will be investing in a future of hope and positivity for everyone.
It’s Time to Invest in Your Life, NOW!!
So that’s it. Four simple ways you can begin to invest in your life that will return back to you 100-fold.
- Focus on personal growth and development for mental, physical, and emotional health
- Start building a community of like-minded individuals
- Generate multiple income streams
- Give back
Sounds like a pretty solid return on investment, don’t you think?
What else would you add to this list? What’s your best way to invest in your life?
AUTHOR Kerah Kemmerer
Hello! I'm Kerah. I'm a writer and personal finance enthusiast with a background in marketing. I'm also a wedding and portrait photographer, part-time RVer and a lover of simple and minimal living. Always up to some project or adventure over @krisandkerah on Instagram.