9 unmistakable signs you’re investing wisely in your future self

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as an adult was that it’s essential to befriend your future self.

Growing up, I would procrastinate whenever I could and say that dealing with the consequences was future me’s problem.

Like she was this elusive being I had zero consideration for.

Eventually, I realized that a much wiser strategy is to set future me up for success.

I’ll become her sooner rather than later, so I might as well make sure she has everything she needs to fulfill her potential.

Do you subscribe to the same philosophy?

Here are 9 unmistakable signs you’re investing wisely in your future self.

Delaying gratification leads to long-term success.

1) You keep up with doctor’s appointments

By keeping up with doctor’s appointments, you prioritize your long-term health.

Medical check-ups allow for the early detection and prevention of potential health issues.

They also ensure that any concerns are addressed promptly rather than escalating into more serious conditions.

I know it can be scary to attend check-ups (I fear dentists with every fiber of my being) but you can’t achieve what you want later in life if you don’t have your health.

Especially as your body begins to turn against you. I’m in my mid-thirties, for instance, and my joints already make it a point to remind me I’m no longer in my prime on a regular basis.

At the bare minimum, schedule a comprehensive physical examination to assess your overall health status every year.

Add dental check-ups into the mix and stay up-to-date with recommended vaccinations and immunizations to prevent infectious diseases.

Optimal health means a much stronger future you.

Don’t lose sight of that.

2) You build healthy habits

Building healthy habits is another sign that you’re investing wisely in your future self.

You don’t have to take things to extremes, but it’s a good idea to cover the basics:

  • Engage in regular physical activity (walking counts!)
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated
  • Get around 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Wear sunscreen to avoid the sun’s wrath

Are these things glamorous?

Not so much.

But you’d be surprised by how much of a difference they make in the long run.  

I’ve recently started to go on extended daily walks, and my mood and overall energy levels improved after less than a week.

Not too shabby.

3) You have savings

Having savings equals financial security and flexibility in case the worst happens.

I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck for most of my twenties, and I was perpetually stressed I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.

Once I started to save, the safety net I put together gave me peace of mind and bailed me out multiple times throughout my freelance career.

Additionally, by accumulating savings you minimize your reliance on external sources of financial support.

This means greater control over your financial decisions and lifestyle choices, which is incredibly liberating.

If you already have money set aside, keep going. If not, start small.

Budget, see what unnecessary expenses you can cut, and consider taking on a side hustle to supplement your income.

Your first major goal should be to have an emergency fund that covers your expenses for at least three months.

That way, you can survive emergencies without relying on credit or loans.

From there, it all depends on your long-term financial goals.

You can redirect your attention to debt reduction, retirement planning, or more fun things like saving for a big trip.  

The earlier in life you take your finances seriously, the better off your future self will be.

4) You focus on learning

Learning is a powerful way to invest in yourself.

Developing new skills, reading, learning a new language – all of these habits have a positive impact on your professional and personal development.

Plus, in today’s rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and learn continuously is key to staying relevant.

It’s becoming rare to hold a job for your entire life.

More likely, you’ll change jobs or even careers a few times as you advance in age.

Don’t become set in your ways and keep yourself open to fresh learning opportunities.

If one of your priorities is to take courses or master new abilities, you’re doing something right.  

5) You aim for work-life balance

When I first entered the workforce, I was consumed with the idea of proving myself.

Convinced that I needed to overdeliver in order to impress.

Obsessed with putting in as many hours as possible, often to the detriment of my mental health.

Guess what?

Such a pace isn’t sustainable.

If you want to build an impressive career, you will have to work overtime and go the extra mile.

However, you also need to ensure that your sanity doesn’t take a toll, or you risk burnout.

Spoiler alert: recovering from that is like learning to walk again.  

Push your boundaries, but make room for hobbies, mindfulness, and relaxation, too.

This way, your future self doesn’t have to run on fumes.

6) You set aside time for reflection

If you regularly set aside time to look inward, you’re on the right track.

By reflecting on your experiences and emotions, you gain insight into your values, beliefs, and areas for growth.

This self-awareness helps you set meaningful goals and align your actions with your aspirations.

Your goals change with age, and sometimes you need to tweak your life plan to become a better version of yourself.

Reflection enables you to assess whether your current actions support your long-term vision.

It’s an undeniable must.

7) You challenge negative thoughts

Your mindset plays a crucial role in how you show up in your own life.

Unfortunately, our brains can occasionally turn on us.

They tell us we’re not good enough, not worthy of success, destined to fail at whatever hefty endeavor we’re contemplating.

When that happens, challenging these negative thoughts helps you get back in the game.

Trouble is, it’s more difficult than it may seem at first glance.

With enough practice, though, you learn to quiet the pesky inner voice that puts you down.

If you want your future self to be confident and resilient, start now.

8) You nourish your relationships

Having a strong support system ensures that someone will be there to help you get back on your feet when life throws a curveball your way.

Not only that but humans are social beings. We thrive when our relationships are rewarding.

Yet, life happens. Friendships fade,  relatives let you down, romances fail, people pass away.

That’s why it’s imperative to nourish the relationships you care about every chance you get:

  • Spend quality time with loved ones through shared activities or meaningful conversations
  • Show up when it really matters (big milestones, crises, birthdays, and so on)
  • Honor commitments, respect boundaries, and communicate with integrity
  • Do your best to navigate conflict in a healthy manner
  • Let go of relationships that turn toxic or run their course to make room for better ones

Are the things above already on your to-do list?

Pat yourself on the back.

You’re doing marvelous.

9) You leave room for recklessness

We’ve already established how wise it is to invest in your future self.

But before you go overboard, leave a little room for recklessness.

Call in sick to work and catch up on sleep. Do something dumb. Embrace adventure.

As awesome as I think planning may be, I can’t deny the intoxicating appeal of spontaneity.

Allowing yourself to be a little reckless is an excellent catalyst for self-discovery.

When you step outside your comfort zone, you uncover strengths and desires you might not be aware of.

While thinking about the future sets you up for success, don’t forget to experience the present.  

Whether that means seizing an unexpected opportunity or taking a wild risk, it’s the only way to feel alive.

And if things go wrong?

Your future self will have some amazing stories to tell.

Final thoughts

If you’re not investing in your future yet, it’s never too late to start.

What does your ideal life look like?

And what can you do today to improve the odds of actually living that ideal life one day?

Once you answer these two questions, you have an action plan.

Implement it, and your future self will reap the delicious rewards.

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