Three Ways to Eat an Elephant

mindset and goals personal development Mar 22, 2023
How To Eat An Elephant

Once upon a time, a boy and his dad were spending quality time together when the boy suddenly blurted out, "dad, I am so hungry I could eat an elephant!" In response to this hyperbole, the father asked, "son, how in the world would you do that?" "One bite at a time, dad, one bite at a time," the son remarked. Aside from the boy's exaggeration, this anecdote is a good illustration of achieving the impossible. So here are three ways to eat an elephant - achieving your impossible goals.

Set Goals

By now, you may have realized that having goals in life is necessary for success. Of course, without a target, there is nothing to pursue. But, as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, those who aim at nothing hit it every time. So, when setting goals, decide on your outcome goals - what you want to achieve in the long term. Secondly, decide on your process goals - the specific actions you must take to achieve the desired outcome. Finally, though your outcome goal should be realistic, it should also be big enough to scare and stretch you; this is the big elephant here.

So once you have set your outcome goal, say for the next 2-3 years, decide on those smaller goals that, when achieved, will take you closer to achieving your stretch goal. So if you want to build a wall in the next three months, focus on laying one brick at a time. If you desire to pay off your debt, start by consistently paying a portion each month for the next 12 months or whatever timeline you have to work with. 

Identify Challenges  

Having decided on your goal, identify the possible challenges you may encounter in achieving the goal. Will it be procrastination? Will it be sleeping in too late? Will it be the temptation not to pay that portion towards your debt? Whatever it is, identify it and then put systems in place to navigate and negotiate these challenges.

This approach may mean getting an accountability partner, a coach, or a mentor, who can keep you on track. It may also mean having your financial institution automatically deduct the monthly payment for your debt reduction plan.

Get to Work

Now that you have clarity on your outcome and process goals, it's time to take action. No plan will work until you work. Remember not to focus on the entire elephant as you get to work. Though you may want to take momentary glances at where you want to be to stay focused, remember that the best way to Eat An Elephant is by taking one bite at a time.

So what's your elephant? By when do you plan to eat it? What action will you take today to get you closer to achieving your audacious goal? Make it a habit of doing at least one thing each day as a way of eating your elephant. Good luck!