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The word “investing” is usually associated with stocks, bonds and real estate.  But there’s another type of investment you need to consider, yourself.  You’re in control of your life, health and happiness.  So, invest in things that will enhance your future wellbeing.

Make exercise part of your daily routine

Only 23% of American adults get enough exercise.  According to the CDC, adults need at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity and 2 days of muscle-strength training per week.  Exercising regularly can make you happier, help you lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic disease.  You don’t even have to hit the gym to reap the benefits.  Hiking, playing basketball, even rock climbing are fun ways to workout if you’re active or adventurous. But just walking or dancing will work, too.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep

It’s recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per day.  When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to forget things, get sick, gain weight and have a lower sex drive.  You also increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  To get a good night’s rest, consider removing electronics from the bedroom, sticking to the same bedtime, and keeping the room cool, dark and quiet.  Doctors say setting the thermostat between 60 to 67 degrees F is the best temperature for sleep.

Pay yourself first

Fifty-one percent of Americans have less than three months of expenses saved.  Emergencies can happen at any time and being financially prepared can alleviate a lot of stress.  Automating your saving makes it easier to achieve your financial goals.  You can either have your employer direct deposit a portion of your pay into a savings account or set up recurring transfers from your checking to savings account.  Even if you can only afford to save a little, it’s still better than nothing.

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

Setting goals helps you focus on the things you want to accomplish in life.  When establishing a new goal, use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym as a guide.  S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.  You need to be clear about what you want to achieve, make sure it’s realistic, track your progress and set a time limit for getting it done.  For instance, instead of saying your goal is to exercise more, you can say, “I will walk 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week”.

Save for retirement

One of the best things you can do for your future is to start saving for retirement now.  If your employer offers a 401k plan, it’s a good idea to enroll ASAP.  Most employers offer to match your contributions up to a certain percentage.  Commonly, they’ll match 50 cents on the dollar up to 6 percent of your salary.  Make sure you contribute enough to receive your full match because it’s free money.  Saving money in a 401k also has tax benefits.  Since your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, you’ll have less taxable income and a lower tax bill.  Your money will grow tax-free until you start taking withdrawals at retirement.  For 2022, the contribution limit for 401k plans is $20,500.

Never stop learning

Learning a new skill can open the door to new career opportunities, boost your confidence, and help you meet new people with similar interests.  If there’s a skill you’ve been yearning to learn, make time to explore your interest.  You can take a class, attend a workshop, watch YouTube videos or read books to expand your knowledge.

Develop a more positive attitude

Too often we let a minor mishap ruin our entire day.  The law of attraction says that like attracts like.  So, if you focus on the negative, more negative things will come your way.  Take this as your cue to develop a more positive attitude.  You can attract good things in your life by being grateful, using positive affirmations, visualizing your goals and finding the good in bad situations.