“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin
If you’re anything like me when it comes to investing, you likely have two thoughts in mind:
1) It’s at the top of my to-do list.
2) When done correctly, it provides a high return over time.
We want to be strategic when we’re picking our investments. We want stocks or bonds that will give us the best returns over time.
Yet our habits and daily actions follow a similar trajectory. As Victoria Osteen once said, “The choices we make today shape the people we become tomorrow.” Some days will require hard work without tangible results. Other days we will feel like giving up. Yet if we stick through the ebbs and flows, we’ll see better results.
Investing in the stock market, or investing in our own lives, can feel incredibly overwhelming and complicated. People don’t know where to start, so they push it off and never begin.
Once I got some guidance, the direction became clear and I was able to begin. If you’re feeling lost on where to invest in your own life, let’s walk through it together.
1. Spend your time on the moments that matter.
If we’re lucky, we’re given twenty-four hours on any given day. Most people go from scrolling on their phone, to spending time on their computer, to watching TV without even realizing where all their time is going. This might provide contentment in the moment, but it doesn’t provide long-term satisfaction.
Have you ever heard someone look back and say, “I really wished I spent more time watching TV?” Neither have I. While we don’t need to abandon Netflix entirely, make sure you are in control of your time instead of letting your time control you.
2. Focus on the present moment.
I remember thinking this rule only applied to those who wanted to live a Zen lifestyle, yet the research is loud and clear: Multi-tasking is a myth. Our efforts are a result of the time and attention we give a specific task. If we are always distracted and multi-tasking, how can we ever expect ourselves to improve?
When we give each activity our full and undivided attention, we notice and learn from our experiences in a way that we never did while we were distracted. We have more productivity tools than ever, but our attention is also more pulled than ever. Be selective, mindful, and focused.
3. Pursue habits that fill you up
As the famous habit expert James Clear wrote, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” Some of the habits I enjoy include going on walks, listening to podcasts, and reading books. I know people who would hate doing these activities, and others who love them. Pursue the habits that work best for you.
Track your habits, get an accountability partner, and find a way to make your habits stick. Shape your environment to make your habits fun and simple. Lessen the friction and embrace the joy.
4. Cultivate the relationships that matter most
Neither extroverts nor introverts live on a deserted island. While we have different preferences and communication styles, we all have people we love and care about. Foster the relationships around you. Give back to your community. Develop a sense of interest and curiosity about others. As the African Proverb reads, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Cultivate those relationships and go further together.
5. Cherish your health
Regardless of the continent you reside in, each of our true homes are within our own skin. We’re given this precious and amazing life, but it’s nothing without our health. Take care of yourself, in every aspect of the word.
While experts disagree on the details, focus on the points where they do agree: Eat whole foods and drink plenty of water. Get plenty of exercise, sunshine, and sleep. Take time to be still, reflect, and relax. Ensure you are taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health on a daily basis.
Maintaining Your Life Portfolio
This is by no means a recipe for perfection. There are still days where I waste time online, eat junk food, or try to do multiple things at once. Rather than beating ourselves up for a mistake, we must be willing to take a deep breath, give ourselves grace, and try again.
If this list feels too overwhelming, start with the one that resonates most. Over time, these five investments will create a great life portfolio for you. Best of all, many of these investments can be done in tandem.
Create an exercise habit you enjoy. Focus on the present moment when spending time with loved ones. Spend time on the actions your future self will thank you for.
Just like any investment portfolio, this one also requires adjustments and consistency. But if you are intentional with your actions, the results will compound in your favor.
About the Author: Andrew runs the Successful Steps Blog, where he writes about achieving success one step at a time. When he isn’t writing, he can often be found walking, reading, or being in nature.