One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life is to invest in myself. To spend time and effort building my skills, my knowledge base, my wealth, my health, and so forth.
And it comes down to habits.
If there’s one thing being an ER doc has taught me, it’s that habits matter. In fact, they’re often the determining factor in how our lives go. Much of what I see in the emergency room is preventable. Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, liver disease, alcohol-related trauma, mobility disorders…the list goes on and on.
But it’s not just our health that is influenced by our habits. It’s our careers…indeed, the entire trajectory of our lives. Your finances, your relationships…everything you do is, in large part, determined by the little things you do every day. The seemingly inconsequential activities that are repeated, day after day, year after year. These seem so small and insignificant, but they define who - and what - we become.
If you want to be an author, get in the habit of writing. Every day that you can, even if it’s just a sentence or two. If you want to get in shape, exercise every day that you can…even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. If you do something most days of the week, they’ll become habits…and they’ll build momentum. These activities - arduous and painful at the beginning - will become easier. Automatic.
They’ll become your life.
It is far too easy to blame external factors for what happens in our lives. Sure, there is a component - sometimes large and unavoidable - of chance that affects each of us. We can’t control that. But what we can control, we should try to control. Even if it’s hard. Even if we fail over and over again. Because if you’re failing, at least you’re trying. Failure is a great teacher, and trying is the surest way to succeed.
So invest in yourself, every day. Pay yourself first, if you can. Pay your savings. Pay your debts. Pay your retirement. Put some time into your health. Put some time into your hobbies. Your relationships. Invest in what you want to grow. Because the only things that will grow are the things you invest your time and effort into.
Avoid the temptation to defer your success. Pay your future self before anything else. Whatever you value, spend time and effort on. Every day that you can.
Invest in yourself. It won’t be easy - change never is - but your future self with thank you for it.
You’re worth it.