I know I should invest in myself. You know you should be investing in yourself.
We’ve heard that all a million times already!
So instead of preaching about the reasons why you should be doing it (since you already know them) I thought it’d be way more helpful to share what I do to invest in myself and exactly how much it costs me to do it.
Because maybe you haven’t realised just how many things can be an investment. Maybe you don’t know that investing in yourself doesn’t have to mean spending lots of cash (though it definitely can if you want it to). Maybe you just need a little inspiration or a few suggestions to get you going.
So that’s what this post is – me showing you exactly how I invest in myself and exactly how much it costs to do it!
And just so you know, all of these costs are in AUD since I’m in Australia!
Before I begin
I want to let you know that I’ve created a free 10-page guide about my all-time favourite tools that help me with personal development, sticking to goals and sorting my life out. The guide includes must-have apps, amazing books and my favourite podcasts.
Some of the things I talk about in the free guide are included in this blog post, but a lot are not. If you’re serious about investing in yourself and making the most of your twenties, I really encourage you to download the guide so you can get all the tools you need to make your life amazing!
So as far as I’m concerned, this is a personal development blog (because that’s my favourite thing to talk about, ever) so I’m going to kick this off with the ways I invest in myself in terms of my personal development.
I think these sorts of investments are often overlooked or dismissed because they usually don’t reap tangible, obvious results – at least not immediately.
The benefits of these kinds of investments might be harder to identify, but they’re definitely there!
The money and time I invest in my personal development makes me aware of exactly why I’m doing what I do (and why I’m not doing what I ‘want’ to do). It helps me stick to good habits and stop bad ones. It helps me sort my shit out and make better decisions. It helps me when I’m having a shitty day or something doesn’t go the way I wanted it to.
And it’s SO necessary.
1. Podcasts – Time investment
Why is listening to podcasts an investment in my personal development?
Because I get to sit in on conversations I would otherwise never have the chance to be a part of – conversations between some of the world’s most successful people about how they got to where they are today (and the failures they had to work through to get there).
I also get to be coached by some of the world’s best life and success coaches. I get to learn exactly how to work through my shit and train my mind to do exactly what I want it to.
And it’s all completely free! And I can do it almost anywhere – on the train, in the car, when I’m running, when I’m cleaning, when I’m cooking. I can listen to podcasts absolutely anywhere!
I’ve been obsessed with podcasts since 2013 and it was actually through listening to podcasts that I decided to start this blog. I heard stories about other people doing it and learned what tools they used to do it. And I was encouraged and persuaded to do it. And then I did it.
My favourite podcast, ever, is the Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo. And don’t let the name put you off – it’s basically just a podcast that’ll teach you how to coach yourself through pretty much every situation in life (which is a pretty damn valuable skill to have).
I also LOVE listening to these podcasts too:
- The Tim Ferriss Show with Tim Ferriss
- Being Boss with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon
- The Lively Show with Jess Lively
- Make It Happen with Jen Carrington
- Space to Face with Asia Croson and Paige Poppe
- Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon (this is a new podcast)
- The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
- Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas
Update: I’ve written a blog post all about the 10 best podcast for millennials, check it out here.
2. Books – $14.95/month + time
Unsurprisingly, I absolutely LOVE reading (that’s why I started the Smart Twenties Book Club after all) but I actually find it hard to carve out the time to sit down with my earl grey and read a paperback book (or even the kindle version of one on my iPad).
Yeah I could make it happen, I definitely could. I know that.
But between staring at a computer screen at my full-time job and staring at a computer screen when I’m blogging, I just don’t feel like using my eyes for much else (that sounds kinda weird, I know).
Which leads me to my next investment – audio books!
If you read my blog on the regular, you’ve probably heard me talk about Audible before (the app I use to listen to audio books) because I’m obsessed with it!
Basically, I love audio books for the same reason I love podcasts – portable wisdom.
People spend years writing a single book – they put all the shit they know in there. It’s their best work. And I can listen to someone read me that book anywhere I want, for only a few dollars. How amazing is that?!
I signed up for the $14.95/month plan in 2013 and have been on it ever since! That gets me one audio book per month (or I can save the book credit for a future month if I don’t know what I want) and I’ve also shared my Audible login within a few select people so they can benefit from my investment too.
I talk more about Audible in my free 10-page guide because it’s one of my favourite personal development tools! In the guide I also share some of my favourite books, all of which I’ve listened to on Audible, so make sure you click the pink button below to find out what books they are!
3. Waking up early – time investment
Ok so this one’s kinda different – I invest in myself by waking up early.
Obviously there’s no financial cost for this one but there’s a definite time cost – time that I could otherwise be sleeping!
I don’t sacrifice my sleeping time lightly. I’ll admit I’m not one of those people that would marry their bed if they could, but I still love to sleep!
Why is waking up early an investment in myself?
Because I start the day by doing something for me. For only me. Not for my employer, not for my boyfriend, not for my family. I wake up early for me. I wake up early so I have designated time, right at the start of the day, to do something for me.
And it’s SO powerful.
On a weekday, I usually wake up between 4:30 and 5:30am (I need to leave for work at about 7am). I’m not saying you need to wake up that early – I know that’s a very early time to wake up – but it’s my ‘me’ time.
I usually spend my mornings blogging with a cup of tea or working out (or sometimes a bit of both). And I always feel satisfied and productive by the time I step into work because I’ve already done something important for myself.
If you’re interested in setting up a morning routine you might want to check out this post I wrote on my morning routine.
4. Blogging – estimated $800/year + time
I’ve talked about this before, but I think blogging is one of the best personal development tools there is. Seriously.
You think you’re confident? You think you’re ready to put your shit out into the world? You think you know what you’re all about?
Start a blog and everything you thought you knew about yourself will be thrown back in your face, I guarantee it. And it’s actually a good thing!
I’ve learned SO much about myself through the process of putting my writing out into the world, and I know I’ve evolved as a person because of it. Regardless of whether anyone was reading.
I’ve just estimated the amount of money I spend on blogging because lately I’ve been making quite a few blog-related purchases (I’m really working on taking my blog to the next level).
I just purchased the Femtrepreneur course by Mariah Coz (called Your First 1K) which cost me about $400 ($297 USD). I pay about $120/year to have my blog hosted by Bluehost. I bought my WordPress blogging template off Etsy last year for about $150. I’ve just purchased Leadpages which is about $50/month and I’m looking at hiring a creative coach sometime super soon.
But you don’t really need to spend money on blogging to get the personal development benefits.
I didn’t have any of that stuff (except the hosting) for my blog until very recently, and I still got all the benefits.
I talk more about why blogging is one of my absolute favourite personal development tools in my free 10-page guide! Just click the button below to have the guide sent straight to your inbox.
Mind + Body
The investments I’m talking about now are the types of investments you hear about more often. And that’s because these kinds of investments often reap more tangible results.
Investing in your mind and body is something you need to do if you want to make the most of your twenties (and your life). Here’s exactly what I do:
5. Making time to exercise – time investment
I strongly believe that making the time to exercise (as opposed to trying to find the time to exercise) is one of the best investments I make in myself.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that making time to exercise is one of my foundations – every single area of my life benefits from doing it. I’m in a noticeably better mood, I work better, I write better, I’m more productive, I stick to my plans and I eat healthier food.
Everything seems to run fairly smoothly.
And when I’m not making the time to exercise? I feel scattered and restless. I get frustrated more easily. I don’t stick to my plans and I make bad decisions.
So exercise is my foundation thing, and I have to make time to do it.
6. Gym membership – $50/month + time
So there are a couple of ways I like to exercise (at the moment anyway, I like to change it up every few months).
I’m doing the Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide which involves resistance training and low-intensity-steady-state exercise (such as running). And I also do Bikram Yoga, which I’ll be talking about very soon.
I probably go to the gym 3-4 times per week, so I’ve invested in myself by spending $50/month on a membership at my local gym. I know I could probably do some of my workouts outside and save some money – but I’m a ‘gym person’ and sometimes the weather just plain sucks.
7. Sweat with Kayla app – $20/month + time
As I mentioned I’m doing Kayla Itsines’ BBG. And a few weeks ago I decided to start using her app, Sweat with Kayla, to do it.
Yeah, I already had the guide and didn’t necessarily need to spend money on this, but the Sweat with Kayla app seriously cuts down on the admin that comes with doing the guide (timing workouts, keeping track of what I’ve done and my progress) so it’s an investment I’m definitely willing to make.
8. Bikram yoga membership – $140/month + time
I always think of my Bikram Yoga membership as an investment in my mind more than my body.
When I practice yoga regularly (which usually means a couple of times per week) I always notice that I feel more grounded and more sure of myself and my decisions.
I know my membership is expensive but since I’m working full-time and I know how much yoga benefits me mentally, I’m more than happy to pay that money.
When I was a uni student I was still doing yoga regularly but I didn’t pay to do it – instead I cleaned the yoga studio for 1-2 hours per week in exchange for unlimited free classes. It is possible to invest in yourself even if you don’t have much money.
9. Buying pretty things for my bedroom + work desk – estimated $250/year
So this one’s a little different to the others and I’m aware that it might seem superficial. But I really believe that investing in beautiful things to have on my desk at work and in my bedroom really improves my mood.
When I’m in a beautiful, clean, white space (I’m obsessed with white) I always feel more productive and more put-together. And I cannot concentrate in mess or if there’s nothing pretty for my eyes to feast on.
So as superficial as it may seem, I invest in myself by investing in my surroundings.
10. Five Minute Journal app – $7 + time
The final investment I make in myself is the Five Minute Journal app, which was a pretty cheap investment at $7.
Basically, the Five Minute Journal is exactly what it sounds like – a journal that takes 5 minutes to complete (a few minutes in the morning and a few minutes at night). And when I use it regularly I notice that I’m way more productive, I’m more focused and I’m more grateful for the things I have in my life.
I’ve spoken about the Five Minute Journal before on Smart Twenties and I also talk about it in my free 10-page guide because it’s one of my favourite personal development tools!
To find out more about the Five Minute Journal app as well as the 9 other personal development tools I LOVE, just click the button below:
P.S. If you’re a procrastinator, keep reading to learn about my online course for procrastinators called Get Out Of Your Own Way:
Take your life to the next level
Four years ago, I found myself trapped in a vicious cycle of procrastination and guilt. Whenever I tried to do simple life tasks (like going to the gym, eating right and organising my time) it felt like I was trying to move mountains!
After work, I was too exhausted to do anything more than make food and lay in bed watching another episode of my favourite show. I kept telling myself I deserved a break, but I never enjoyed it. I felt guilty for wasting my time but I didn’t stop (and when I did find myself with time to do the things I wanted, I just kept procrastinating – gahh!).
And I wish it stopped there, but then I beat myself up for procrastinating! I felt like I was behind everyone else and letting everyone down, so I procrastinated even more.
No matter how many hours I spent reading motivation articles on Pinterest or how many times I filled out a new planner, I just couldn’t make myself change – even though I knew I was the one stopping myself from progressing. And I had all the advice right in front of me!
And because this whole situation was frustrating AF (and I knew I was better than that, even though I didn’t have the evidence to prove it) I dedicated myself to figuring out how to stop sabotaging my own success.
After trying hundreds of different things, it finally clicked! And this year I’ve been able to quit my full-time job for blogging, I’m more productive and focused than I’ve ever been in my life and I’ve finally stopped feeling like I’m behind! Plus it’s actually easy to workout everyday and eat healthy (which I never thought would be possible).
And since everything I’ve learned has COMPLETELY changed my life, I decided to put the very best of it together in a step-by-step course!
My online course for procrastinators
Get Out Of Your Own Way is a self-paced online video course that gives you the tools and mindset shifts you need to stop procrastinating, follow through with all your plans and have the courage to finally pursue your dreams – even if your life is totally overwhelming and you have no idea what you want to do!
I’ll just let you know that this course won’t be for you if you’re looking for quick-fix procrastination tips (let’s be real – you’ve seen all those already and they haven’t worked) or you’re afraid to dig deep and uncover the real reasons you’ve been holding yourself back.
But if you’re ready to make a change and need someone to guide you through the very first step – it could be just the thing you need!