Saturday, December 29, 2012

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

The answer . . . One Bite At A Time.

This morning I received my email feed from Marelisa Fabrega's "Daring to Live Fully" blog. I virtually always gain some great insights and inspiration from her blog posts. Today's topic is "Launch A 365-Day Project In 2013." I recommend this post to you and you can click on the link to read it.

We have a brand new year beginning in a little more than two days. 2012 becomes history and we have a clean slate. Let's forget the, pretty much, useless idea of making New Years resolutions. We all know we're not going to keep them because we never do. Let's take a different tact. Let's use the analogy of the new year, the next 365 days, being an elephant, the largest land animal in the world.

Now, suppose the project is to eat the elephant. How would you go about eating the largest land animal on Earth? Obviously, I gave you the answer above, one bite at a time. While the project may seem enormous, it becomes manageable when we break it down to a series of bites. Now, let's apply that to our 365 day year.

Here is the next question? What one thing, let's call it a project, would you like to accomplish during the next 365 days beginning January 1, 2013? Challenge #1 is selecting one project and only one project that will uplift, enlighten and fulfill some personal desire or goal in your life. The reason I said this is Challenge #1 is because there is not one of us who doesn't have a long list of things we want to do. We also seek instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now. So, we make multiple resolutions, take on multiple projects, establish multiple unrealistic goals and typically find ourselves in various forms of internal conflict. Not only do we have to manage these multiple internal conflicts, but we will also find ourselves dealing with multiple external conflicts with our family members, employers or employees, clients, friends, community activities and so on.

So, how long will it take before you will start dropping the resolutions or projects? Typically, you'll drop out of the commitments you made to yourself within a few weeks. Then you feel disappointed in yourself and, often, will never accomplish many or even any of the resolutions.

Now, let's select a single project that you can breakdown into 365 bites. In order to get this concept working for you, start with something that is of real personal interest, will be enjoyable to pursue and leave you fulfilled when completed 365 years from January 1st. It's also important that you select a project that won't be overly complex or taxing. The objective is to be successful, not to push yourself over the edge. With one project successfully completed at the end of 2013, you can select a new project for 2014, perhaps, a little more taxing, if you found that the 2013 project was easier than you anticipated. Marelisa offers a number of suggestions for projects in her blog post mentioned and linked to earlier.

Finding and Eating Your Elephant

Now, here's what you want to do. First, make a list of projects you'd like to accomplish. Second, select the project that is most important to you and you want to accomplish enough that once you've committed to it, you'll stick with it. Third, figure out what you must do each day (the bites it will take to eat your elephant). Fourth, begin on January 1, 2013 and follow up everyday.

So, here are a few suggestions to get you thinking.

*Create a blog and post to it everyday
*Take a photo everyday to document 2013
*Write a book - one page each day
*Do something creative each day
*Read X number of books (like 52 books by reading everyday)
*Learn to play a musical instrument or learn to sing
*Do a good deed for someone everyday
*Learn a new word or learn something new everyday
*Do something everyday to improve your health or fitness
*Read a new story to your child or children each night
*Do something to simplify your life each day
*Do something to downsize your life each day

These are just a few simple ideas of literally thousands. Read Marelisa's other suggestions and then put your thinking cap on and list the ideas most important to you.

So, forget the New Years resolutions. Find your elephant and start eating it one bite at a time. One year from now you're going to be a better person, you'll have achieved your goal and you'll be ready to move on to a new elephant. Best wishes for a happy, healthy, abundant and living free 2013.


Anonymous said...

Copied your list.

Rather than sticking with just one bite of one thing, I will take a small bite of my elephant and another out of one other matter each day, meaning each day a little something of one thing and a little something of something else. One project get finished a number of other projects progress.

One project will be for me, all the other projects will benefit others as well.

I might even start a day early!

Have a happy and prosperous New Year and thanks for the idea!


Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Your idea works for me, Mack!

I just create ideas based on what has worked for me and others. Creativity is a great way to take a simple idea and personalize it.

Best to you for a happy, healthy, abundant, free 2013,