Invest in yourself.
It sounds so simple, so obvious. It sounds like the slogan on the cover of a beautifully ordained notebook that you’d buy at Chapters and think, “I’m going to do (the thing)!”
Yet when you get home, that book, finds its place on a shelf somewhere and starts to collect dust. Never having a pen stroke run across it, a spine cracked or a thought jotted down.
Similarly to the idea of investing in yourself: We have a dream. A desire. Something that we want to change and improve on… and yet… we never take the actions needed to actually realize it.
Why We Don’t Leap
So why can’t we take the leap? Why can’t we start that weight loss program? Sign up for that 3-day seminar? Book that retreat that we so desperately need?
The main reason I hear over and over again: Money.
“It’s too expensive.”
“I can’t spend that kind of money on myself when I have to pay for x, y and z.”
“It’s not in our budget.”
But yet for some reason, we’re more than willing to spend $1000 on eating out and ordering in a month, $500 a weekend going shopping at department stores coming home with new ‘things’ to fill up the house or $300 a month on fancy coffees and lattes.
So ‘cost’, clearly is not the reason why we don’t invest in ourselves. Because when you want to order in, buy yourself a fancy coffee every morning or feel like switching up the towels in all the bathrooms in your home… the money somehow is always there.
Yet when it comes to our dreams, goals and desires… we never seem to have enough money for them?
So why is it that we have no problem throwing away our money on material things, instead of spending it on the things that will TRULY make us happy? I believe it’s because when we invest in something, we need to see a return. We need something guaranteed so that we have proof that our investment wasn’t wasted.
Which is why the ordering in, shopping sprees and coffees don’t seem to bother us as much – because we get an immediate return. Whereas the problem that arises when we’re asked to invest in ourselves is that WE are the determining factor for whether or not those results happen… and in many cases, years of not following through on things, and not adhering to programs has taught us that it’s in fact US that’s not going to be able to follow through on getting the return on our investment – not the weight loss program that we’ve been wanting to try.
The Real Thing That’s Holding You Back
The reason, most people believe, is because we ‘lack self-worth’ which I think plays a part. More than that however, I think it’s because we lack personal integrity. Now before you get upset and hit the tab on your browser to shut down this post, hear me out.
To me, integrity means keeping our promises to ourselves. Meaning – that we do what we say we’re going to do, keep our word, are trustworthy, dependable. The irony is, is that for many of us, we may have integrity when it comes to other people, but when it comes to ourselves, we lack it.
We wouldn’t dream of letting down a friend in need, but feel no qualms about not following through on commitments and promises to ourselves. The worst part is, is that initially, we likely don’t feel like we’re actually doing anything wrong. but overtime, not keeping our word and following through on our personal commitments causes us to lose faith in ourselves. Worse than that, we end up living a life that we don’t enjoy, aren’t happy in and is unsatisfying because we never go after what we truly want.
So it’s easy to see why when we lack personal integrity, we don’t feel confident investing in ourselves because we unconsciously don’t have faith in ourselves to deliver on that investment.
How Can You Restore Your Personal Integrity?
So how can we restore our personal integrity if it’s been broken? Here are my three strategies that I incorporate in my own life and with my clients that have helped them rebuild their lost confidence and faith in themselves and go on to achieve their goals and dreams.
Set Realistic Goals
The best way to start – is to start small. Look for little areas in your life that you want to change and improve upon and that are realistic and easy to do. Figure out what small things you can change and then make a plan on how you’re going to change them. Checking off small things on your life’s to-do list will make you feel accomplished and give you the confidence to move on to bigger areas of your life.
For example, if you don’t already, commit to making your bed every morning. A made bed, though seemingly small will create a sense of organization and calm in your bedroom and improve your mornings as you prepare for the day. Another great idea is to commit to eating breakfast in the morning, if you don’t already. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or even contain all the food groups, but starting your morning with something in your stomach will help to fuel your body, rev up your metabolism and clear any brain fog that you may experience. Even if you don’t have enough time to make a slice of toast and put some peanut butter on it, you can grab an apple and some almonds and still maintain your breakfast commitment to yourself.
Consequences: The New Black When It Comes To Delivering On Your Commitments
One of the main reasons why we break promises to ourselves is because there are no consequences (at least immediate) when we do it. Reversely, this is also why for many of us, we’re so good at keeping promises to others – because there is a consequence attached to it. We don’t want to let them down, disappoint them, or have them loose faith in us.
So one of the best ways to ensure that you’re going to keep your promise to yourself and stay accountable, is to start to implement consequences for your commitments. When you attach consequences to your goals, it creates an awareness around your promise so that you deliver on your commitments – and most importantly, restore your personal integrity.
Designing consequences for your goals is easy: You simply outline in specific detail the thing that your committing to do (with times, days, etc. so as to avoid any ‘grey’ areas and loopholes that you could use to get out of them) and then find a consequence for that goal should you not adhere to your commitment. Your consequence should be something that scares you to the point that it will make you do the thing you don’t want to do – even when you REALLY don’t want to do it. For example, giving up a favourite piece of jewellery, canceling an event or trip you were looking forward to, etc.
That way, in the moment, when you’re considering not ‘doing the thing’ you know that you have something bigger than ‘the thing’ on the line that’s at risk, that will coax you into doing it.
The second part to implementing consequences for your commitments is to pick an accountability partner that will ensure you deliver on your commitments as well as your consequences (should you not fulfill them). This person should be someone that you trust and can share your goals (and failures with) without judgement. They should also be someone that will be willing to hold you to your word and not let you off the hook so that you actually have to follow through on your consequences, should you need to.
Having this back-up support in place will ensure that you fulfill your commitments and that you don’t just let yourself off the hook because you have no one holding you accountable.
You Have Two Choices
As someone who struggled with the idea of investing in myself for years, I hope that this has helped not only shed some light on what may be holding you back, but will help you move through those obstacles, to achieve your dreams. Because I can tell you from my own experience, going after your dreams, no matter how big and scary they may be, and risking your time, money and resources to do it, is a lot more fulfilling than never taking a chance and being ‘stuck’ where you are.
You have to choices…ask yourself… in a year from now… if you took the leap and did ‘the thing’… what would your life look like? What would you gain? How would you feel?
Then ask yourself, in a year from now if you chose to do nothing, and stayed on the same path… what would your life look like then?
Are you willing to spend another year of your life unhappy and unfulfilled?
The choice is yours.
With love and nut butter,