Bost CARES for You Through a Pandemic
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Individuals who do well in life commonly utilize four essential skills to help their lives move forward in a healthy direction. People who achieve healthy personal goals tend to incorporate the same tools to help them move toward their aspirations. Unfortunately, some of these tools are not valued or embraced in our culture, which consistently utilizes them more difficult. Yes, believe it or not, we need to acknowledge that some of the majority of Western culture’s beliefs and values are not helpful to us in living our lives well. Four Important (but often Countercultural) Steps to Incorporate into Your Life There are many valuable and necessary skills needed to live a healthy, satisfying life. Still, some processes are genuinely foundational to support these characteristics’ development. Incorporating these processes will provide the structure for you to move toward the person you desire to become in the coming year(s):

  1. Taking the time to reflect and learn from the past (both your own and others’ previous experiences) vs. always looking forward, planning for the future. I, personally, am not very reflective by nature, and I tend to consistently look forward to “what’s next” rather than to stop, think, and learn from the experiences I’ve just gone through (both positive and negative ones). But learning from our life and the experiences of others is critical to gain an accurate bearing of “where we are,” which is necessary before we plan “where we want to go.” Over time, genuine successful people achieve the goals essential to them make reflection a regular part of their lives.
  2. Focusing on long and steady effort over time vs. fast, flashy success. This is not just a Boomer talking. All types of research (on successful companies and organizations, leaders, athletes, musicians, inventors) clearly and repeatedly show that achieving one’s goals is far more likely to occur if you take a long, steady approach over time (including overcoming obstacles and “failures”) rather than expecting a quick success. There are outliers (examples of those who don’t fit the usual pattern), but their occurrence is rare. Unfortunately, our culture and popular media tend to glamourize these unusual pathways, at the same time ignoring the tens of thousands of individuals who have tried the “get rich quick” approach and failed disastrously. Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” fable is not just a cute children’s story – it reflects a core truth embedded in life.
  3. Building habits (the most powerful tool for a long-lasting change) vs. quick-fix, dramatic interventions. The American culture is notorious for looking for a “quick fix” to lifestyle challenges – a pill that will help us lose 50 pounds of fat while maintaining our same eating habits, or a “wonder” machine that accomplishes a full-body strength-building exercise regimen in 5 minutes (or less!). But again, life experience, wisdom from the ages, and reams of research — all suggest the same successful, life-changing process: taking steps to build positive habits into our lives proactively. Habits, in essence, are one of the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal to help us shape our lives to reflect what we desire. Exercising three times a week, reading a personal growth book every month, getting together regularly with friends – all are healthy habits that help us grow.
  4. Investing in healthy relationships vs. focusing primarily on task-completion. Healthy relationships yield considerable benefits in our lives. Our society, especially in the work-place, is obsessed with getting things done (though in some areas, the focus is more on “looking like” you have achieved something rather than accomplishing the goal). At the daily life, moment-by-moment level, this ultimately focuses on tasks (which are an integral part of life). But we have largely ignored a core aspect of our humanness – we are social beings. We are born into families. We live in communities. Even our work lives intersect and are interdependent with others (customers, vendors, suppliers, those who make decisions in government). Additionally, we have innate needs to relate to others: to be cared for, to share life, to give and serve others. If we only focus on task completion throughout our lives, living in the present will feel shallow, and in the future will lead to a sense of meaninglessness. And in the meantime, when we encounter difficulties along the pathways of life, we have no one to help us or offer assistance. Investing time and energy into relationships (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances) is critical to living a healthy life. We need one another.

Do yourself a favor. Take a moment to visualize what you would like your life to be like a year from now. Think less about external circumstances and more about who you want to be as a person. Then put a time in your schedule this coming week to review the four core principles I have shared and make some decisions that will help move you down the path of healthy living in the coming months.

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