Articles of Interest

Have a Plan

Let me ask you a question: If you were to examine your life right now, would you say you’ve reached a satisfactory level of success in regard to your profession, finances, relationships, and overall quality of life? If you answered yes, I’m very happy for you, truly. If you answered no, don’t worry, you’re in good company. Most people are not satisfied with their current standing.

Then the obvious next question is: Why have you not achieved your aspirations? More likely than not, you have either (1) failed to establish goals and/or (2) haven’t created a concrete plan for your life. Period.

1) If you are not accustomed to setting goals, we have a short article that will help you get started: Setting Goals. If, however, you are familiar with setting goals, you need to establish them sooner (that means now!) rather than later.

2) Why do you need a plan for your life? Well . . . without a plan your chances of achieving your goals are greatly reduced—in other words, you’ll get nowhere. Goals without a plan are nothing more than dreams. Listen, nobody ever says “I want to be overweight,” “I want to be poor,” or “I want to be unsuccessful.” No, people become nonstarters by not having a blueprint to follow.

You want to improve your current situation? Then you need a plan.

So, let’s outline the necessary steps to formulate this plan. First, you have to have a set of clear and realistic goals. Clear meaning coherent and realistic meaning achievable. (Warning: Gauging achievability requires you to perform an honest evaluation of your individual situation and abilities.)

Second, you have to formulate a complete list of instructions—in the precise order—for reaching each goal. (See example at the end of this article.) This step may require you to perform some research; enlist the help of a friend, relative, or expert; or tap into your own well of creativity. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance during this phase; in fact, a second pair of eyes could prove to be incredibly handy.

Lastly, you’ll want to review your life plan on a regular basis, making corrections and updates as required. Maybe your goals have changed. Perhaps you have different priorities now, as compared to when you first created your plan. The point is that life is always changing, and you need to adjust in order to stay focused on your goals.

And now that you have a solid plan established for your life, you must diligently strive to follow said plan, continually reaching toward your goals. One step at a time, one day at a time.

If you have any questions or comments, please send us an e-mail: eric@locomotiontoday.com

 

Here is an example of a simple plan for losing some weight.

 

Goal – Loose twenty pounds

1) Purchase more fruit and vegetables from the grocery store.

2) Fix healthier meals and snacks.

3) Eat appropriate portions.

4) Walk at least thirty minutes every day.

5) Work muscles at the gym three times a week.

 


How to Be a Friend

Acquaintances come and go throughout our lives, but a close friend is someone that should be greatly valued—when you’re fortunate enough to find one. In fact, a close friendship can improve your emotional, mental, and physical health. … But the million dollar question is: Do you really know how to be a true friend in return?

Let’s start by looking at some of the desirable qualities of a friend.

Trustworthiness – A friend needs to be trusted with confidential information, desires, and possibly house keys. Therefore, if you have trouble keeping conversations to yourself, you might need to spend some time in quiet retrospection.

Dependability – Dependability—closely related to trustworthiness—is a desirable trait to possess in all relationships, but close friendships require a high-level of interdependence; therefore, being reliable is one of the cornerstones of a healthy bond.

Respectfulness – A friend should be respectful of another friend’s values, opinions, and boundaries. Their words and actions should always mirror this level of respect regardless of the sharp contrast to their own.

Good Listener – There is an enormous difference between hearing what someone is saying and listening to what someone is saying. If your mind is on checking Facebook instead of actively and empathetically registering what is being said, you need to work on your listening skills.

Understanding – A close friend needs to be able to comprehend limits, be aware of idiosyncrasies, and empathize with another individual’s situation. In a friendship the most important person can’t be the one you see in the mirror.

Okay, so how do we put these qualities into practice?

I’m very glad you asked that important question. And that answer is twofold: through willingly spending quality time together, on a consistent basis, with a worthy individual; and by focusing more on what you can bring to the relationship than what you can take from it. (Yep, it might come as a shock, but it’s not all about you.)

I used the word “worthy” in the preceding paragraph, so I better unpack that. You see, there are some people—for one reason or another—that are not compatible with each other. Moreover, there are some individuals that are just plain toxic, and they will bring nothing to a friendship but mental and emotional pain. These are people you need to keep as acquaintances. Now that might sound a bit harsh, but trust me … you’ll be much happier without the additional stress.

It’s also important that you know yourself. If you’re not sure of who you are, what you want, or the beliefs you hold, how are you going to be capable of understanding someone else? And how would you know if a particular individual would make a good friend? Close friends become close through shared intimacy, but you cannot share yourself if you don’t know who you are.

This brings me to the point where it is about you. If you’ve chosen your friends wisely, they are going to have a desire to get to know and understand you, too. That means you have to be able to share yourself and articulate your needs. It might feel selfish and a tad scary at first, but if you understand yourself and your needs, you have no reason to feel ashamed. Will you place yourself in a vulnerable situation? Yes. That is the price of intimacy. Will you be nervous at first? If you’re not accustomed to asking for what you need in a relationship, yes, you might be a bit apprehensive at first. However, as you establish trust, you will become confident enough to express not only your needs but your dislikes. And then you’ll be on your way to establishing a special, healthy, and rewarding relationship.

In summary, building close friendships require an investment in time with another human being in order to develop a strong bond. You can’t make a five-minute call every other week and expect to build/maintain a robust friendship. Furthermore, the relationship has to be rewarding for both parties in order to generate staying power. So, choose your fiends wisely and put in the work to establish that connection. The rewards will be immeasurable.

And if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us (eric@locomotiontoday.com).