creating new years resolutions

The Year I Ate an Elephant

At the start of each New Year, of course it’s important to create focused goals. It’s vital to have dreams, to have hopes and wishes. But this year, instead of creating a new list, setting ourselves up to fail and adding to our pile of regrets, I propose a new way to go about it.

How to Eat an Elephant.

Have you heard the advice that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time? It’s a funny little saying that engenders a clear idea: big things are best-accomplished one step at a time. Although society seems to demand massive reform and grand success, for the most part that approach only delivers a finished product, which shows us the destination with no hint of the journey. We forget that people started their companies in garages. We forget they had some seemingly small idea, an idea that likely lead them along a bumpy path, through many steps of trial and error. We never saw their small victories or their recoveries from massive failures. One foot in front of the other, one bite at a time, we never saw them eat the elephant.

It’s really the little things we do every day that make us who we are and over time, form us into who we want to be. Personally, I find consistency excruciatingly difficult. But I’ve come to believe that a big goal is best achieved with a small step every day. This is how grand things are accomplished.

Recognize your motivators.

When choosing your resolutions you must ignore popularity. An extremely important key to making real and lasting change in your life is to make sure that the desire you have for change is coming from a sincere place inside you. Countless resolutions are made every year in an attempt to appease those around us or simply to believe we fit in. It’s the rationale behind why someone never actually quits smoking – it’s something they’ve been told is bad for them. It’s the reason why so many of us never really lose the weight we wanted to – because the resolution comes from an external pressure – from our closet or from celebrity magazines, and not from an internal desire.

When resolving to actually change your life it’s fundamentally important to cut the BS. You simply MUST be honest – understand your true desires. You have to sort through the life you might be living as a result of other people’s expectations. It’s not an easy step but there is an amazing amount of power in this separation because once you figure out what you really want (and what you don’t) you can use all that energy that was previously being wasted on pleasing everyone else and focus it on your new, authentic, task at hand.

Just begin.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Lao Tzo.

This brilliant quote pretty well sums up my current philosophy about transformation. When I first started working professionally as a content writer I remember being asked all the time how I did it. I also remember the confusion on people’s faces when I said, “I just started writing.” It’s kinda crazy that it’s really that simple. But I assure you, it is. If you want to be a runner – run. If you want to publish a novel – write. If you want to develop your new idea – sit down and start developing. So often it seems that we are all looking for the preliminary steps to take, to somehow prepare us for actual action. We would rather read about change, take a seminar about it, talk about it with friends. We would prefer to remain indefinitely resolving how we plan to do things, preparing for the life we want to eventually live rather than turning thought into action and making things happen. We need to knock that off.

In order to become our best selves and offer our best gifts to the world we simply MUST begin. We have to stop suffering from putting things off till tomorrow. If you want to change any aspect of who you are or how your life is working the only time you will ever be able to start is right now.

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