Eat That Elephant – How To Accomplish Goals

How to accomplish goals

That elephant is the mammoth goal you set which seems impossible to accomplish.  It’s daunting. Weighs you down to think about it.

  • It’s the 5 inches I want to lose off my waist.How to accomplish goals
  • It’s the $1,000,000 in new sales you want to do this year.
  • It’s the 4.0 you want this semester
  • It’s the $100,000 in crowd funding you want to attract
  • It’s becoming a movie star
  • or just about any monumental goal you can think of

How to accomplish goals

To eat that elephant do 3 things

  1. Stop looking at it as a whole elephant.  You can’t eat an elephant…no one can.  Instead break the elephant down into small bite size chunks…yum!
  2. Automate those small chunks where possible.
  3. Never, never give up

How to view that elephant as bite sized chunks

Set large goals that challenge you, but not so large they paralyze you.  Break a large goal like, doing $1,000,000 in sales into small manageable easily measurable chunks.  For example: You could say I will meet with 10 new prospective clients each week.  I will do 5 proposals each week.  See measurable and attainable.

The power of automation

The idea here is to think less and act more.  Once you know the correct thing to do automate it.  If you put yourself in a position to think sometimes you’ll convince yourself not to do that thing you’ve already figured out is the right thing to do.

Example: Losing 5 inches on my waist will boil down to mostly small changes in my diet (at least I hope so).  What I already know: for best results eat within 3o minutes of waking (breakthefast), eat nuts,  low fat greek yogurt, and drinking lots of water everyday.  So I automate it.

Each week I buy ten 5 ounce cups of greek yogurt and stick them in the frige.  I keep large packs of walnuts on hand.  First thing I do when I wake up each morning: drink 16 ounces of cold water (yes I measure it), eat one 5 ounce cup of yogurt, and have a handful of walnuts as a snack about 2 hours later.

I’ve automated my first two meals of the day.  I don’t think about it. I just do it. No thinking allowed until lunch.  Look for ways to automate the small task (the chunks) that lead to the greater success (the elephant) you want.

Never giving up

This may sound over rated but the fact is most people simply give up to soon.  They don’t stick with their weight loss habits.  They tire of rejection so they stop making calls.

The most difficult part of anything is the start.  Once you get going don’t guit.  Find the necessary motivation to keep pushing forward.  Every step you take brings you closer to your goal.

Something to make you go…Hmm!

Early in life basket ball hall of famer Ervin Magic Johnson decided he wanted to go to the NBA (definite elephant).  To accomplish this he made a smaller goal to shot 100 free throws every day.  His neighbors tell stories of him as a kid shooting the free throws outside in rain and snow storms (commitment).

More insight and motivation on how to accomplish goals and eat elephants:

See It Through

7 Things Anyone Can Do To Be Successful

How To Achieve Any Goal

Photo Credit: bocavermelha-l.b. via Compfight cc

Moving With Purpose

Purpose

Move like you’ve got a purpose in life!  That’s what Drill Sergents would yell at us recruits durining basic training if they caught us moving slowly (way back in 1987).Purpose

We knew what our purpose was.  To become lean, mean, green, killing machines.  Everything we did, read, and ate was toward fullfilling that purpose.

What’s your purpose in life, for your business, family, etc.  If you don’t know then you can’t move with purpose.  Instead you’re likely tossed about by every wind of doctrine.

By the way, this is not something I’ve got down 100% for myself.  I’m preaching to me here more than to you.

The Problem With Doing What You Want

The problem with doing what you want is is that the responsibility for commitment and execution is all on you.  There’s no one else to point the finger at for your situation.  Adam tried blaming God when he said “The woman you gave me…” see Genesis 3:12.

It’s the same for saying what you want.  The responsibility for your words are yours.  Words are like toothpaste…once they’re out you can’t put them back, so be careful.

Bart Simpson learned this lesson.

Regaining Mental Clarity

regaining mental clarity

When things are not going our way we humans can have a tendency to focus on the urgent not the important.

Here are 8 things I do to help me regain mental clarity and focus on what’s important.

  1. Get quiet and take time to renew my spirit:  In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey tells a story that demonstrates the need for rest, refreshment, renewal and re-awakening in our regaining mental claritylives: You come upon a man in the woods feverishly sawing down a tree. “You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?” “Over five hours,” he replies, “and I’m beat. This is hard.” “Maybe you could take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw. Then the work would go faster.” “No time,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing.”
  2. Get alone: I truly love being around people, especially the fun loving type, but I find that being alone gives me the power to regulate and adjust my life.  My favorite thing to do is to head out to Valley Green take a walk along a trail and find a nice big rock to lay on and reflect.
  3. Read my plan:  It’s easy to get off track.  But I find that when I write my plan down I can go back to it and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
  4. Remember my blessings:  When every thing seems to be going wrong sometimes I start to fret.  I’ve worked hard to develop a discipline of focusing on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong.
  5. Take a hot shower:  One of my favorite things to do to pamper myself is to turn on the hot water, close the bathroom door and allow the bathroom to fill with steam.  I get in the shower strike a few yoga poses, and then sit and breathe deep for a half hour or so.  I’ve emptied my 50 gallon hot water tank on a number of occasions doing this. I find that this helps me to unwind and clear my thinking.  The idea for this very post came during such a session.
  6. Meditate:  I picked up the habit of meditating last year after reading Russell Simmons book Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All.  Meditating has been scientifically proven to improve over all health.  I find that even after a short 20 minute session I can regain mental clarity.
  7. Take a walk: Both Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were advocates of walking walking to clear their heads.  Today medical professionals know that walking improves focus and clarity by delivering oxygen to the brain which keeps thoughts clear and focused and increases creativity. I get many of the ideas for my blog post while on a walk.  When something comes to mind I take out my iPhone and either record what I’m thinking or jot it down in the notes section.
  8. Take a nap: Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were nappers.  In fact Einstein dreamed the Theory Of Relativity and then set out to prove it.  This alone speaks volumes to the benefits that sleeping has on our mental capacity.  Scientist now know that while you are sleeping your brain works to put together the puzzles you couldn’t solve during waking hours.  I find that I’m the most creative when I first awake in the morning.  Most of the writing I do for the blog is done between the hours of 6 and 9 am.  I’ve recently committed to daily napping since discovering I suffer from sleep deprivation

How To Take A Nap

How to take a nap

For as long as I can remember I’ve gone to bed between 10 or 11 and gotten up before 5 am.  In fact if I sleep beyond 6 am (even on weekends) I feel my whole day is shot.  I know it sounds weird but remember I’m a former Army guy and it was drilled into me that “We do more before 6 am than most people do all day.”  If you’re older than 40 you remember those commercials.

That being said I’ve been out of the Army for 20 years now.  But I still don’t sleep.  I’ve spent my entire adult life functioning on 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night.  The effects?  Anytime I sit down for just a few minutes I’m usually passed out.  Everyone who knows me has a picture of me sleeping at a party or something.  I regularly work until I’m I can’t think clearly any longer.  I often feel like zombie.

How to take a nap

 

Last week I came across a book in my local library that helped me to realize that most of my adult life I’m been sleep deprived.  The book, written by Sara Mednick, Ph.D. is called Take a Nap! Change Your Life.

Now I had heard over and over that we all should sleep at least 8 hours per night.  However, I never knew why until I read Mednick’s book.  I saw myself on almost every page of the book.  Here are a few of the things I learned.

What is a nap

You are probably thinking you know what a nap is.  Technically you do but clinically you don’t.  To really understand what a nap is, clinically, I strongly suggest you read the book.  Dr. Mednick does a wonderful job explaining the various stages of sleep and their related benefits.  This understanding proves to be key in recognizing how a nap is different than nighttime sleep and developing a napping strategy.

Why you should take a nap

We should take naps for the simple reason that we are biologically programmed to.  This biological craving for napping has to do with what scientist call ‘Sleep Pressure’.  That is from the time you wake up in the morning your body slowly builds the urge to go back to sleep.  Napping simply relieves the pressure.

Some people claim they can’t nap, however the book discribes studies in which partipants were monitored  and allowed to sleep whenever they wanted to. In all cases participants fell asleep at various intervals after a full nights sleep.  Proving that left to do what comes naturally to us we nap.

But society has given naps and nappers a bad rap and people often have to be convinced to nap.  Here are several benefits of napping that Dr. Mednick points out.

  1. Increases your alertness.  This may be the most important benefit of napping for most folks.  It does not matter what you do for a living an increase in alertness is typically welcomed.  NASA has studied alertness after napping and reports that alertness increases by as much as 100 percent after a brief nap, even in well-rested subjects.
  2. Helps you make better decisions.  We humans make decision every day all day.  Some decisions are of the light weight type but others clearly involve life and death. Consider the job of police officers who during armed robbery or hostage situations have to only split seconds to mentally sperate civilians from criminals.
  3. Lose weight. Studies have show that sleepy people reach for high-fat, sugar-rich foods more than people who are rested.  Napping not only helps you resist those potato chips, but you’ll be producing more growth hormone that reduces body fat.
  4. Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.  Studies conclusively show that fatigue contributes to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia and other cardiovascular disorders even in otherwise physically fit subjects.
  5. Improve your sex life.  Sleep deprivation dampens sex drive and sexual function.  Napping can reverse those effects.

How to take a nap

The best time to take a nap

Deciding on the best time to take a nap for yourself really requires some understanding of how sleep actually works.  That’s why I’m strongly recommending you read the book.  But in general a minimum 20 minute nap at any point of your day is beneficial.  Just be sure to take it at least two hours after you first awake in the morning for it to actually be considered a nap.

The Perfect nap

Dr. Mednicks book describes various common life senario’s with recommendations for naps.  But if you stack up all possible naps, she says there is a clear blue-ribbon winner.  A 90 minute nap between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.