The other day I found a question on Quora about spending 500 dollars on self-improvement.
There are a ton of options to spend money to improve yourself.
But what is the best way?
Go to a seminar?
Buy an online course?
Buy a book?
You can get a ton of books for 500 dollars.
The problem with all of these ideas is the implementation.
You go to a seminar!
You are excited!
Now, at last, you will become the best in the world.
Then the excitement fades away. Maybe it takes a week, maybe more, but it’s gone. So is your 500 dollars.
You sign up for an online course!
You are pumped!
For sure, now you will know everything!
You will achieve the ninja magic level in whatever you are leaning on that online course.
Most people will not complete the course and their level of mastery will fall short of the level they dream about.
Self-Improvement Books? Maybe?
Books are a maybe because it takes you about 6 months to read 500 dollars’ worth of books. Let’s say it’s 25 books. You will spend about 200 to 300 hours reading those books. As with online courses, most people give up way before they make it halfway through.
Of course, these don’t have to be self-improvement books, you can study anything to improve yourself.
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. ~ Jim Rohn
Why you fail to achieve our goals?
As you can see, most of the challenges we take on fizzle out long before we complete them.
Then again, we may even avoid challenges because we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure.
As with anything worthwhile doing, any type of self-improvement plan takes time. Every step on the way is so small that you don’t notice you are getting better. You will lose our motivation and stop doing the thing you want to do.
And then nothing happens.
If you stop learning new things, you won’t notice anything different. Maybe you feel that your life is even a bit easier as you don’t have to exert yourself.
You don’t see an image of what you could have become if you had kept it up for three years. You only see that the day after you went for a run or didn’t are not that much different.
So, what to do about not finishing what you have started?
For most of us, the fear of losing face with others is something that will help us power through.
There are several ways to become accountable.
You can post your challenge on Facebook and let everybody know what’s your goal. Or you could find a friend who will hold you accountable. Maybe you have a mentor or coach who will help you with accountability.
The second option is to give yourself incentives.
Give yourself a big prize for completing the whole challenge. Give yourself smaller prizes for reaching milestones in your way to your goal. Celebrate your victories, big and small.
But incentives can work the other way too.
This is where the 500 dollar self-improvement strategy comes in.
The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same. ~ Steve Maraboli
The best way to spend 500 dollars on self-improvement is:
Give your 500 dollars to a friend.
Tell your friend to give you back the money only if you complete your self-improvement goals. Make sure you have a friend who has a habit of giving back 500 dollars.
Start a 100-day challenge of something you want to accomplish.
Tell your friend what the goal is and what steps you will take to get there. Your friend should encourage you to reach the milestones on your way. They should point out if you are falling behind.
Now you have two in one. Incentive to complete your challenge. An accountability partner who follows your progress and boosts your morale when you don’t feel like doing what you need to do.
After you reach your goal, you get back your 500 dollars. You could let the friend keep a 100 for the trouble.
And then you can do it again. You still have 400.
How much money should you put on the line?
I used 500 dollars as an example. The number for you may be larger or smaller depending on your circumstances.
It should hurt when you lose it, but not bankrupt you.
If you put too little money on the line, then it’s of no consequence for you and will not motivate you enough.
I would say that a number between 25 and 100 percent of your monthly income might be a good range.
Another option is to let your friends know that if you complete the challenge successfully, you will have a party with them to celebrate. But if you fail, the money will go for some charity.
In this case, choose a sum you are willing to lose. The original question was “how to spend 500 dollars on self-improvement,” after all.
Now you will have a group of cheerleaders.
An investment in self-development pays the highest dividends. ~
How long should the challenge last?
There’s the 21 day myth.
It’s says that it takes 21 days to build a habit.
The research results are a bit less optimistic. One of the most widely cited studies found that it takes about 66 days for a habit to stick.
If you want to get most bang for your 500 bucks, I suggest you go for 100-day challenge. 30 days is clearly not enough and 66 is just an average.
To make sure you get the full benefit of the challenge, go for 100 days. In most cases, you are looking to create a habit that lasts you for a lifetime.
The more automaticity you can build into your brain during the challenge, the more likely you are to continue with the habit after the challenge.
Rules and skipping for self-improvement
Sometimes life happens.
Whatever you commit to there may become a day when you can’t follow through.
Decide in advance how you will handle skipping.
I suggest that you will have a certain number of days you can use when you really must skip the activity you agreed on. For example, if you start a 100-day exercise challenge, then maybe you can have 4 or 5 skip days.
But these are not to be taken lightly. Make sure that you only skip a day when you absolutely have to.
The key to results is daily self improvement.
Agree on the rules and the date. You agree to pay something for using the skip day. If you give your friend 500 dollars, then the price of the skip day could be 50 dollars.
If you skip more that agreed upon number of days, then you lose the whole amount.
One idea you can use is that never skip more than one day in a row. Skipping a day is not a problem. Skipping two days significantly increases the odd you quit your challenge.
You are not a robot. Sometimes you can’t do it.
I suggest that you try until you are successful. Restart as many times as you want. Forgive yourself for not completing the challenge the previous time and start again.
As many times as it takes.
Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up. ~ Thomas J. Watson
Setting everything up for success
Make sure you have everything planned out. If you need any tools or equipment, make sure you have it before the challenge starts.
Here’s a plan that will help you get started:
Select a habit you want to internalize. Daily reading, writing, exercising. Maybe you want to learn to code, or paint. The challenge can be something you have to do for school or work. Finish that project, get one new client every week, write the thesis.
Define what you have to do to get there. First, write down what “done” looks like. Then split it up into daily chunks. To ensure the success of your challenge, the daily tasks have to be the right size. Small enough so you will be able to do them every day without skipping.
You can start with a minimum number. For example, start with writing 100 words on the first day and add 4 words every day to get to 500 words at the end of the challenge. You can use the same approach for fitness, running, and any other task you can measure.
The crucial point is to have daily goals. You will do something every day.
Incentives for reaching milestones along the way. For example, if you opt for a 100 day challenge celebrate your accomplishments on certain days. A week, 10, 25 days, a month, 50 and of course 100 days.
Accountability means that you let your friend who has the 500 dollars know how you are doing. Think about the feeling when you have to tell them, “I didn’t do it today, because the dog ate my yoga pants.” It’s also important that you create the rules about what failing means.
And of course, find a friend who is more interested in you completing the challenge than keeping the 500 dollars.
Good habits are worth being fanatical about. ~ John Irving
When to start with self-improvement?
Yesterday is a great time to start!
But I guess you missed it.
So, the next best time is now!
If you need self-improvement ideas, then here you can find 30 challenges in 30 self-improvement articles.
Call a friend and let them know that you will give them 500 dollars.
Cover image: Money Pexels