Investing in you

A runner jogs along the Steamer Basin in Dunedin as the sun rises. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A runner jogs along the Steamer Basin in Dunedin as the sun rises. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
I have a question for you: do you consider yourself to be your most important asset? asks life coach Jan Aitken. 

Many would scratch their heads at that question, and fair enough, we don’t usually think of ourselves in terms of being an asset. However, I challenge you to start thinking of yourself in that way.

The next question is: "How well do you invest in your asset?".

Investing in yourself is based on the concept of practising self-care. Investing in yourself isn’t "selfish" or "vain". As Parker J. Palmer states: "Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have." That gift or "asset" is you.

Investing in yourself is crucial. It provides a healthy source of energy to keep your "fuel tank" topped up and helps maintain body, mind and soul in good nick.

I am a big believer in the power of "self-investment". It can come in many forms and may be completely different for you than it is for someone else — there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. You might make an investment by putting some "daily habits" into your routine — small things just for you — or perhaps you’ll learn a new skill or hobby, or develop yourself professionally, change an aspect of your lifestyle. You might read a book, take a course or attend a workshop. The ways to invest and the rewards are numerous and varied.

To get started, I’d suggest having three or four categories to work with. Keep a record of how you are going to invest in yourself (it’ll help keep you on track and can check off your progress and see how far you’ve come as time goes on).

For example, you might think about including the following categories. —


Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Is it time to start ticking off your bucket list?


Is there an aspect of your life that you’d like to improve?


Is there a new skill that would give your work more variety or a course that would help you advance?


Is there someone you’d like to spend more time with? A group of friends you want to catch up with more often?

You get the idea? It doesn’t have to be a complicated or mammoth undertaking. Keep it simple to start with. You can always add more as you progress.

Remember, lots of small steps can create big changes.

It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves particularly when life is a bit hectic, uncertain or stressful and 2020 falls into those categories. These are the times when it becomes even more important to look after ourselves.

So, your second challenge is to make a list of four or five ways that you will invest in yourself, starting this week.

For example: "For the rest of the year, I will invest in myself by ...

... starting each morning with a 15-minute brisk walk."

... cutting out screen time two hours before I go to bed."

... spending an hour a week reading a book or an article related to professional development."

... having a ‘date night’ every week with my partner.”

However you decide to invest in yourself — through coaching, training, education, books, nourishing food, more rest, new habits, healthier routines, or anything else you might choose to do — remember this: "Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life; it will improve the lives of all those around you." — Robin S. Sharma

Jan Aitken is a Dunedin-based life coach.

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