What Gift Are You Giving Yourself This Year?

What Gift Are You Giving Yourself This Year?

The holidays are coming. You know it. I know it. I see Christmas lights going up faster that lightning strikes, and people have started asking me, “Bought your kids any gifts yet?”

I have. But before I planned what I’d buy for my family, I thought of what I’d buy for myself.

This goes against popular thinking. Buy for yourself? No way. Other people are supposed to buy you gifts!

Except when they’re not.

Take Care of Number One First

Years ago during a talk with my brother, he pointed a firm finger at me and said, “Take care of Number One first.”

I was young. I had no idea what he meant. But as I grew older, I learned… the hard way.

I took care of others first. I clocked long work hours. I gave too much and got very little in return. I trained people to take advantage of me – and they did. I was overly generous with my time, my money and my friendship, and got burned for it. I cut back on my sleep. I neglected my nutrition.

I ignored my general health and happiness for the benefit of other people.

Never a good idea.

Eventually I realized I was exhausting myself, getting walked all over and being taken for granted. And slowly I learned how to start taking care of myself by pushing back.

I finally understood that if I didn’t take care of myself first, no one else would.

Give to Yourself Before Others

I decided one day that I needed to give to myself first – and I made that a literal gift. I wrote a wish list, and I started making steps to give them to myself.

I choose gifts I knew would improve my quality of life. Gifts that eliminated an annoyance of mine, that made me more productive or relaxed, or that helped me increase my financial freedom.

They were business-related gifts. Gifts that increased my potential, that helped me accomplish goal after goal. Gifts that let me attain all my dreams, and desires.

Think about it: Would you be able to earn more money if you improved your skill set? Would you be able to widen your service offerings with some training? Would a better website boost your sales? Would more focused web copy turn more visitors into clients?

Of course. And when you gift yourself with these and other business-related investments, they pay off.

Your customer base increases, your products sell faster, your services become in demand and your bank account starts growing.

The Real Magic: Taking Action

Here’s the real magic that happens when you decide to gift yourself: You take action. You start making steps towards reaching your goals. You work harder on your business to bring in new customers and sales. You clean up your act, get on it, and get going.

And the gift? Not only does it increase your business potential for years to come, but it becomes the reward you give yourself for your hard work.

Double-win, I’d say.

So sit down right now and make a list. Think good and hard about the gifts you’d like this year. Then make yourself a promise that you’ll take steps to get them. And don’t just promise – actually commit to taking action.

Don’t Make Money Excuses

Some gifts you want (or need!) may cost a lot and you can’t get them right away. That’s okay. In fact, it’s even better if you have to work towards saving up for your gifts slowly, because you’ll work harder to earn them, with more intention and with stronger motivation.

Work harder on your business. Set sales goals each week. And set money aside from those sales each week too. Stash 10% of your earnings away. Cut spending and expenses. Give less to others. Go frugal. You can even get a little stingy for a few months.

It’s not selfish, believe me. Buying gifts for yourself means you’re taking care of Number One.

And when you do, you’ll soon realize you’re in a much better position to take care of everyone else around you.

Want to reap benefits for life? Give yourself a membership to the Damn Fine Words writing course. Opening January 5 to new members, it’s perfect for business owners who want to learn effective writing techniques, tricks and tips that help them get results. Now… and forever. So head over now and get on the list!

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Sage advice James. In my next life, this is going to be my number one rule. Thinking of your needs first is a tricky lesson to teach and learn. I know so many self-absorbed and selfish people, and… so many mothers who are self-less and exhausted. Focusing on business goals makes it seem more objective, but in non-business goals and personal life issues, it is damn tough.

  2. Well, I was probably well into my 30s before I figured it out myself. And changing that giving mindset can be tough! But boy, am I ever thankful I stuck with it and changed my habits.

    By the way – when you start with business goals, it gives you practice… then you can apply it to non-business/personal. Easy peasy!

  3. Only someone that’s been down this road could write these words … and it is sage advice as Mary above says. Work hard, take care of others first, and let people take advantage of you. Before you know it, you’re playing the victim and feeling sorry for yourself. Surely someone will notice and rescue you – NOT. Thanks for this post, James, as it is a good reminder.

  4. What we can’t seem to get into our heads is we can’t give our best to anyone if we’re falling apart.

    The idea of “selfishness” is so unacceptable we often can’t see when being “selfish” is the healthiest thing we can do.

    Not that I have that t-shirt or anything.

  5. This all flies in the face of what we’ve were told that ‘good Christians do’ (you can fill other ‘religions’ in there too)… help others; don’t be self serving, etc. And on the other side of the equation lies: “To better the world start with yourself”. And, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”.

    This all makes sense when you really ‘Wake Up’. Great things happen almost effortlessly and so many people get blessed in the process.

    And it’s a lot less stressful!

  6. Thanks, James. It’s amazing how when you start dreaming and get more focused on what your purpose in life is, things just start falling in place. I think my life has followed a similar pattern to yours. I’ve given so freely of myself over my entire life-span, too many people take me for granted. Funny how that works.

    Growing YOU first means there is more of you to give. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this concept stated in such a crystallized manner. Now I know what my father meant when he asked me as a teenager, “Out of all your mother’s children, which one do you love the best?” I never answered his question correctly. He had to tell me the answer, but it took years for me to fully understand what he was trying to get me to realize. He probably saw me squandering myself for others who did not recognize my worth. It’s in my genes, so I need to be reminded often.

    Thanks for this.


  1. […] was inspired by this post on one of my favorite writing blogs – Men with Pens to come up gifts that I, as a work-at-home […]

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