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The Ultimate Checklist To Help You Invest In Yourself

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These days there are checklists for everything—our daily tasks, the grocery store, our appointments, and for all the places we need to go on vacation. However, the most important checklist you can make is one that puts you front and center. Placing yourself at the top of your to-do list, and keeping yourself there, is crucial to your success. After all, the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in the one thing that really matters — you.

With that in mind, Levo and TRESemmé are joining forces this month to help women put themselves first. Women are often conditioned to prioritize spending time on others or to believe that self-care is trivial. TRESemmé wants to encourage women to realize that the most important investment they can make for their future is prioritizing their needs right now. So, with the next generation of women entering the workforce, Levo and TRESemmé are here to give new graduates the building blocks for investing in themselves at an extremely crucial time.

Step 1: Find Yourself a Guide

There are countless studies and personal anecdotes from some of the most successful women in the world that show how beneficial having a mentor is to one's career. Prima ballerina Misty Copeland says she wouldn't be anywhere without her mentors. Designer Tory Burch often talks about how her three mentors have guided her through her career. Levo's Founder and CEO Caroline Ghosn started this company specifically to combat the lack of mentors for young women starting out in their careers and to help them connect with inspirational leaders.

Mentors can help you climb the corporate ladder, put together a business proposal, deal with office politics and negotiation. They will be your support system and your guide in this wild career journey you're about to embark on.

Step 2: Find Your Personal Style, Whatever That May Be

There is an unspoken secret all women know. You can have the most impressive resume in the world, an extensive education and an incredible vocabulary, but if you don’t feel good in your own skin, nothing else matters. When you're looking your best according to you, you feel empowered to be your best. That looks different for everyone, and the key is to figure out what helps you feel put together and then focus on that.

For some people, the secret ingredient might be an accessory that projects what they want the world to see, for others it might just be a trusty bottle of hairspray. It’s worth it to figure out what makes you feel empowered and follow through on making it a priority.

Step 3: Find Your People

A great network is the fastest route to building a foundation for your career. A recent study found that 70 percent of jobs are now found through networking. Of course, walking into a room full of people you don't know can be super intimidating, but it can lead to great friendships and equally fruitful business partnerships. You may find your future co-founder or the person who knows the person who knows your next boss. These days, networking doesn't even require face-to-face interactions. Between social media and career platforms like LinkedIn and Levo, making connections is easier than it's ever been. And the best news? Women are driving the online networking industry, with 72 percent dominating social media compared to 66% of men. 

Before you do anything though, prepare your networking strategy. Invest in the time, whether that means perfecting your Twitter elevator pitch, studying the career of a person you admire and want to connect with, or just practicing making casual conversation with a friend. If you are always on your network game you may find yourself making connections in unlikely places, like on an airplane or in line for the bathroom at a restaurant. Hey, you never know who you'll meet and how they'll change your life. Be open!

Step 4: Find Your Post-Grad Curriculum

Just because you're not in a classroom anymore, that doesn't mean you should stop learning. Making time for continued development will help you and your career in so many ways. Maybe you want to learn to code, or maybe you've always wanted to paint. In addition to developing new skills, post-grad classes broaden your network and allow you to explore new aspects of yourself.

Also just reading as much as possible and keeping yourself in the know on current events is very much part of your education as well. Sign up for a book club and newsletters like TheSkimm and Levo's The Brief to keep yourself up to date. If there is something not working in your career, read a book about it. Sheryl Sandberg, Katie Couric, Sophia Amoruso and Levo's Chief Leadership Officer Tiffany Dufu⁠ have all written books to help you invest in your career.

Step 5: Find Time For Yourself 

In those first few years of your career, you may often find yourself stuck at an office desk from morning until night. And when you do have breaks you are probably still glued to your phone checking all of your social media updates and then posting, Tweeting and Snapping the day away. This screen time overload can quickly lead to burnout.

Making time for your physical and mental health gets harder and harder, but cannot be ignored because both are of the utmost importance. For mental health, investing in an action plan to preserve your mindset in the wake of stress and other challenges is an absolute. Learning how to say "no" as well as making sure you have a strong support system is essential. Even simply building in breaks to your workday and some "me time" every week can do wonders.

Meditation can also be a huge asset for your mental health. A study out of Consciousness and Cognition found that brief meditation training improved thinking and another study found that meditation improved sleep quality. That is why so many successful people, including Arianna Huffington, Kristen Bell and Ellen DeGeneres, carve out time to meditate every day. Even the smallest actions matter when it comes to feeling great because it all starts within.

For your physical health, we probably don't have to go over the numerous benefits of working out. Trendy classes are super fun, but if you can't swing that financially you can still also get a great workout (and stress release!) for much less money. Try joining a local gym, running club or just taking a jog or even vigorous walk outside. Or consider a personal trainer app like Aaptiv or Workout Trainer by Skimble to make sure you are getting enough movement throughout your day.

Step 6: Find Your Voice

The great Mae West once said, “I speak two languages: Body and English.” She was onto something. Public speaking is a huge asset in literally any field and a daily job requirement for some. Just having an intelligent conversation with a manager reminds him or her that you are irreplaceable. It's all about projecting confidence and poise—both in your voice and in the way you carry yourself. If you want to deep-dive into having a magnetic presence, you can experience Levo and TRESemmé’s online course with world-renown Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy here.

Step 7: Find Your Independence 

You are finally making your own money. Just covering your rent and putting something extra in your savings account is all you need to do, right? Not even close. Being responsible for your finances and understanding how to handle them is crucial to your future. But there are so many ways to educate yourself around this topic and countless resources (WalletHub, NerdWallet, Merrill Edge). One of those great resources was started by former Wall Street queen Sallie Krawcheck. She launched Ellevest to help women close the "gender investing gap."

We know that putting yourself first isn’t always easy. However, if you begin to think about it now, you’ll set yourself up for even more success in the future. You’re not afraid to own the place, so don’t be afraid to prioritize yourself either.

Visit our landing page to learn more and stay tuned for more content to guide you through this exciting chapter in your life, because women who invest in themselves go further.

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