Hey guys. It’s Chelsea from
The Financial Diet. And this week’s video is
brought to you by Chime. And today, I wanted to talk
about something that is often a ton of bullshit but can
actually be real and helpful if you do it the right way,
and that is self-improvement. We’ve had some videos on
the channel before where we’ve talked about the dangerous
or useless “self-improvement” jargon, where things like the
secret which basically tell you that you can will yourself
into anything you want, which is also just like
physically impossible. But self-improvement
as a concept should not be thrown
out with the bathwater of all of that bad advice. At the end of the
day, this channel is about self-improvement, just
in a much more practical way. And sometimes, self-improvement
costs no money at all. There are plenty of habits that
you can change and ways that you can behave differently
without spending $1.00. But sometimes, you do have
to pony up a little bit, and we want to talk about
when it’s really worth it to invest in self-improvement. So from your body to
your mind to your work, we want to talk about the five
self-improvement purchases that are actually worth it. Number one is personal training. Now I want to put a
few caveats on this because I have a feeling that
the people who are really into fitness are going to
firebomb the comments and say, how dare you. You can totally
work out for free from the comfort of your
own home, and that’s true. But a lot of people
don’t and won’t. I’m someone, who
like many of you probably, over the years tried
and failed to start an exercise regime on my own. I would sign up for sometimes
expensive gym memberships and take like six months
to cancel that purchase. And statistically, that
bears out with the average. According to a study around
why Americans aren’t going to the gym, 21% said they skip
going because they don’t know what to do once they get there. And 3% said that they
don’t go because they feel afraid to ask questions. For those of you who might
feel natural about starting a workout regimen or who
have just never stopped since they were a little kid,
the idea of getting started can feel effortless. But for so many people,
it’s those first few weeks in any kind of gym scenario
that really overwhelm them. And as I said, I was
one of those people. But now, for about
the past five months, I’ve been doing Pilates
almost every day and actually look
forward to going. And while now I use
an unlimited pass to go to as many studio
classes as I like, I initially started out with
three one-on-one sessions with a trainer. I was able to ask all the
questions I wanted to ask. I didn’t feel nervous
or embarrassed about doing the wrong thing. And I was able to learn
the correct form that allowed me to follow classes. And this could be the
same whether you’re looking to do yoga
or weightlifting or basically anything
where you need at least a little bit of
foundational information to get started. Just walking into a gym and
randomly picking things up, as many people do,
is a good way to, A, potentially injure
yourself, B, not get really great results,
and C, quit early on because you’re not seeing
what you want to see. For most people, we
don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to exercise. So having a personal
trainer also allows you to do exactly
what you need and not waste time on things
that aren’t really helping you meet your goals. But perhaps most importantly,
that personal trainer for that beginning
stage where you’re trying to get over the
hump of actually enjoying going to the gym
provides accountability. It’s so much easier to
just blow something off if no one’s going to care
or notice if you don’t go. And if you’re someone who has
been longing to get into a more physically active
lifestyle but really feels like they don’t have the
accountability to get started, a personal trainer can
honestly just serve as someone who will get your
shit together and literally text or call you if
you don’t show up. And while it can be expensive,
anywhere from $30 to $100 an hour depending on where you
live and what you’re doing, you don’t have to
do indefinitely. Even something like five
sessions invested in once can help give you
the foundation that will make you actually
want to keep going at a much less expensive rate. The point is when it
comes to physical fitness, don’t just spend blindly on
things like a gym membership. Everything you’re doing
should be targeted. And even the fanciest
gym membership means nothing if you’re
not actually showing up. Number two is brain pickings. Now I’m someone who works
in a creative industry that a lot of people don’t
know how to get into. And this was even true
when I was just a staff writer at another company. And the truth is when I was
first getting into writing, I didn’t know how
to do it either. And so many times,
people would and still do email me with these sort of cold
asks for advice or mentorship or just asking me a
bunch of questions that they can’t find on Google. And I don’t have a
problem with that because I know how it felt
to be in that position. But it’s also important
that you remember that this person you’re
asking for help from has precious little
time to give you. And it’s your job to incentivize
them to spend it on you. So no matter what
industry you’re in or what you’re looking
to do a really good idea is to have a small
budget set away every month or every other month
for industry brain pickings where you literally ask
someone in your industry, could I take you out to lunch? Could I take you out for drinks? Give them something that
makes it more of an incentive. It’s a small gesture. But what it shows is
that you’re really valuing these people’s time. They may end up saying,
don’t worry about it. We can just have a phone call. But the point is
you’re offering already wanting to do something for
them as they’re giving to you. When my husband was looking
to switch industries, he probably took a solid two
dozen people out for beers to pick their
brains, talk to them about the work they
were doing, and ask how he can get more involved
in what he wanted to do. He didn’t find a job by
applying to a posting online. He found the job over a
period of about six months by making personal
connections and following up with those people. As one great article on the
topic put it, “Get on the phone and make three calls
to potential clients or connections. Offer them value
with whatever you do. The success of your business
is a direct reflection of the people you’ve
surrounded yourself with.” On many occasions, I’ve been
out for drinks after work with women in my industry
who either I was looking for help from or vice versa. And those small connections
have meant more to me in my career development
than basically any resume I’ve ever put together. Set aside that budget
for brain picking and use it to do
the things that you want to do outside of the
track of your day-to-day job. Number three is
higher quality food. Now it doesn’t take
a rocket scientist to understand that what
we put into our bodies is extremely important,
not just to how we feel, but how we operate on
a day-to-day basis. One 2012 study published by
Population Health Management found that eating
an unhealthy diet puts you at a 66% increased
risk of productivity loss. It’s not just bad for
your body to eat bad food. It’s bad for your brain. But it’s also no secret
that in America it’s often more expensive to
eat healthy food than it is to eat unhealthy food. There are also places
called food deserts where the local population
has to go really far in order to get things like fresh
fruits or vegetables. But the upfront expense of
paying more for better food is often mitigated by
the long-term expense that you’re paying by
eating crappier stuff. Eating an unhealthy diet costs
your body enormously over time. And study after study has shown
that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated
overwhelmingly with longevity and also reduced illness. But the path to eating
better is not just buying things that say “organic”
because organic is actually a word that’s really
poorly regulated and means way different
things for different products. And also, organic
doesn’t automatically translate to better. Things like in-season are often
way more important for stuff like produce than
the organic label. But one very easy way to shift
your diet to a healthier one without totally
inflating the cost is to focus on eating less
meat throughout the week and making sure that
when you do buy meat, you invest in
higher quality meat and not just for the
benefits to your body, but also for its
ethical benefits. A good way to get
started if you’re looking to invest in bettering
your diet is to do a week where you just journal every
single thing that you eat and about roughly what it costs. There are definitely
going to be areas when fixing your diet
that you’ll actually spend less money. But there may be
areas where you start to spend a bit more to get
higher quality products. But overwhelmingly,
the research shows that eating those healthy
foods is better for you and less expensive
in the long term. Number four is anything
that helps you sleep well. So I am someone who
has had sleep issues basically my whole life. Even when I was a
little tiny kid, I can remember staying up till
2:00 or 3:00 in the morning because my body just
wouldn’t get tired. I’m someone who experiences
a delayed sleep phase, which means that my body
naturally wants to sleep from around 1:00 in
the morning to around 10:00 in the morning. But, of course, I work
a regular 9:00 to 5:00 job, so that’s basically
impossible for me. And as a result,
I’ve learned to adapt the way I live my
life to make sure that the sleep I am getting
is of the highest quality. Because sleep isn’t just
about your physical body, nor is it just about
how rested you feel, the basis of self-improvement,
most of the time, is having the energy– mentally and physically–
to actually follow through on the stuff that you want
to do and the habits you want to change. If you’re not sleeping
well, your entire life is really affected
as a result. A study from the American
Psychology Association revealed incredibly increased
levels of stress, anger, and anxiety in people who
are not getting enough sleep and even showed that people who
receive less than five hours a night of sleep are at a
greatly increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Reduced sleep also makes
you way less productive, way more susceptible to
things like common colds, and much less likely
to motivate yourself to do things like exercise. Almost everything you
might want to accomplish on the self-improvement front
depends on that quality sleep as a baseline. And the process of investing
in better sleep is twofold. First, you want to actually
analyze your sleep. And you can do that with
things like a Fitbit or you can do it
with stuff like apps that you put on your phone–
some of which are even free. These apps won’t just
tell you how long you slept but will measure
the quality of your sleep and show you more about
what’s interrupting it. From there, you can work
backwards and deduce the things that you need help with. For me, one of the biggest
difficulties in my sleep cycle is that my husband
needs to sleep with the blackout
curtains totally closed in order to get quality sleep. But I wake up much better
if I wake up with the sun. So the compromise
is that we invested in a sun-imitating lamp that
wakes me up slowly and more naturally. I’ve also invested in
things like melatonin or even prescription
sleep aids during times of stress or anxiety
when I was having a harder time than usual
following my minimum sleep patterns. Even things like a higher
quality mattress and pillows that are more adapted to
how you physically sleep can be a huge help. The point is almost every dollar
you spend that goes directly into better sleep
will pay dividends throughout your entire life. And number five is
ongoing education. Something that may feel
obvious when you hear it, but you may not
have thought of is how directly reading has to do
with our overall mental health. According to one study,
reading for just six minutes can reduce stress
levels by up to 68%. And reading is not just
about reducing stress. It’s also about diversifying
what you’re capable of doing. And there are many
small ways to invest in this ongoing education. Obviously, there are places
to start like a library card, which costs nothing
and give you access not just to tons of books
but also to movies, to music, and even in-person classes
throughout the year. But there are also things
like online learning platforms where, for a small
investment, you can do deep dives on
subjects that are either related to your day-to-day
work or on a totally new path. Places like community
colleges are wonderful to keep going
in a particular skill that you’ve been looking
to learn more of. And many industries
will actually pay for their employees to
do certain continued learning in the field. Whatever it is that you
want to learn more about, the act of learning itself is
also just incredibly beneficial to your brain. You can think of your
brain like you think of any muscle in your body. The more you work it,
the stronger it will be and the easier it will be
to continue working it. Continued learning,
even in a subject that is totally removed
from your day-to-day work, has a profound effect on
how agile and productive your brain is capable of being. It’s not just a saying when
people talk about learning being the key to staying young. So you can safely tell yourself
that taking that class, even if it doesn’t lead to $1.00
return on investment in terms of using and
monetizing that skill, will still have profound
benefits in whatever your day-to-day work is. Ultimately, self-improvement
is about doing things based on what you actually
need and not arbitrary metrics. Every dollar should
be accounted for. And one of the best ways
to account for every dollar is with an awesome
digital bank like Chime. Using a digital bank like Chime
from the comfort of your phone allows you to avoid
nasty hidden fees, pay your friends on
the go through the app, and save more money
without having to think about it with their
automated rollover savings. Banking doesn’t
have to suck, and it doesn’t have to charge you
money just for the privilege of storing your own. You can start banking smarter
today by switching to Chime, ditching the fees,
and rethinking how your phone can
totally change the way you do money for the better. Get started with Chime at
the link in our description. So as always, guys,
thank you for watching. And don’t forget to hit
the Subscribe button and to come back every
Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye.