Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

It’s just about time to ring in the New Year which is always an exciting time. We look forward to new challenges, new interests, new relationships and new careers. We try to shed the negatives that affected our lives during the past twelve months and toss them out with all the old wrapping paper. We make promises to ourselves and others – promises traditionally called New Year’s Resolutions. What we are doing, more often than not, are setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. Once the big goal is not reached within the first few weeks, we call ourselves failures and continue on as we have for many years.

 

Make a new promise to yourself this year. Promise you will not make a huge resolution but rather one or two small goals. In order to decide what your course of action will be, give yourself permission to get away from friends, family and holiday activities for just one hour. During that hour think of what you really want to accomplish in the next twelve months. Really think about it. What little changes do you want to make that will make you feel better about yourself? Take a short note pad and write these ideas. Think about each one and finally decide on the two that are the most important.

 

Now, instead of saying “I’m going to cut all refined sugar from my diet for the rest of my life” change the goal to “I am not going to eat sweets for the next three days.” Three days versus a lifetime seems like a goal that is attainable. You have not set yourself up for failure from the start. Once you have reached your three-day goal, begin a new goal for five days. If you can repeat this process for three weeks, you have the beginning of a new good habit. It generally takes about three weeks of doing something new and different for it to become programmed into our subconscious. Once you have avoided sweets and deserts for three weeks, you will not even think about them.

 

The same thing applies if you believe you are not getting the eight hours of sleep you need for optimum health. Do not set yourself up for failure telling yourself you will go to bed an hour earlier each night. More than likely the first nights you would just lie in bed and worry why you aren’t falling asleep. So make your initial goal for ten minutes. And set your goal for one week. This week I will go to bed 10 minutes early. After a week, your body will be used to the extra ten minutes. You divide the one sixty minute goal into six ten-minute goals. Ten minutes is a lot easier to achieve in one night.

 

You will be so much happier with yourself and your fortitude if you set small, meaningful goals and then reset the goals as you attain them. Do not break off more than you can chew.