Three simple ways to invest in yourself
Investing in yourself is so important, and there’s no better time to do it than right now. Any time is a good time to start believing that you’re a capable person with a lot to offer, but since it’s the beginning of a new year — and the beginning of a new school semester for many members of our Flipd community — we wanted to impart a little bit of wisdom to set you up for a great year.
Here are 3 simple steps that you can take, and live by, to be the best version of yourself when taking on new challenges.
1. Up your mental toughness
“Grit is that mix of passion, perseverance, and self-discipline that keeps us moving forward in spite of obstacles.” — Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
It isn’t easy to keep smiling when you have three assignments due, two labs to prep for, five novels to read, and a speech to write. When life gets tough and responsibilities pile on, facing things head on with an “I can handle this” attitude will keep you on top of your game. Remember that your attitude plays a major role in determining your success — whether in school, at work, or in your relationships.
How you manage your responsibilities is entirely up to you: you can put in the effort to produce work that your proud of and live up to your commitments, or you can completely avoid all responsibilities and choose to spend time on things that really don’t matter. Either way, those deadlines will come and go. Look at your responsibilities as goals to meet rather than problems to face.
Mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular in helping people develop the mental toughness needed to avoid throwing in the towel. All it takes is a few minutes a day. You can do it sitting, standing, walking, running — any way that suits you, really. The point of mindfulness meditation is to simply acknowledge what’s happening in your life and be present in the way you’re feeling and how it’s affecting your life.
Ev Williams, Co-Founder of Twitter, sets aside twenty minutes a day to check in with his thoughts and “ground himself.” Being completely present in those twenty minutes can help in dealing with day-to-day anxieties, and it can help with managing responsibilities in a productive and positive manner. And if the man who co-founded one of the world’s leading social media platforms can take twenty minutes a day to take a break from technology, so can you.
2. Avoid Burnout
“Resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure.” — Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage
Yes, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but that doesn’t mean that we need to use every single minute of it juggling responsibilities and tasks.
Overwhelming ourselves with responsibilities only leads to exhaustion and burnout. According to the Harvard Business Review, burnout actually costs companies a total of $62 billion every year. When people are tired, they spend more time on tasks and they’re unable to focus — and both of these are paramount for producing work effectively and efficiently.
When you’re exhausted, you can’t live up to your full potential. Your brain needs rest so that it can work at its full capacity. Here are some easy habits you can adopt to avoid burnout, so you can be the productive, go-getter that you truly are:
- When setting your priorities, give yourself enough time to meet your deadlines. Working under pressure when you’re exhausted is a combination for failure. You need enough time and a clear head to see the details that can bump your assignment from good to great.
- If you need a schedule to stay organized, make sure to factor in time for eating, relaxing, exercising, and sleeping. All these things are so important for your mental and physical health, both of which you need when you’re working hard.
- When you do take a break, make sure to step away from the screen. Replacing emails with social media feeds does not give your brain the down time it deserves.
3. Don’t be afraid to aim higher
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” — Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Disney
If you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut, having personal goals is a great way to snap out of it and get motivated. Before setting those goals, take some time to reflect on where your strengths lie.
When you figure out what you’re good at, be proud of what you have to offer and own it! Once you understand your strengths, it’s also important to acknowledge your weaknesses. Having weaknesses doesn’t make you a failure; acknowledging that there’s room for improvement shows that you’re self-aware. It’s also a sign of high emotional intelligence, which is a skill that many employers are now looking for when hiring new employees.
Knowing what you bring to the table before setting your goals will help you figure out a starting point. Holding yourself accountable is key for meeting those goals. If you stumble along the way, don’t worry. Just keep reminding yourself why you started; understand what motivates you. Most importantly, hold yourself to a high standard. Have confidence in the fact that you can do whatever you set your mind to, but you have to be willing to work for it. You get what you give, so give it your all.