There’s good reason we give new year goal setting the side eye. Sometimes setting intentions feels like treading water, or even that the dreams we have are impossibly big and therefore unachievable. We all desire the exhilaration of personal growth, but getting started is daunting, especially when we feel like an intern running a three-ring circus!
But an adage, while old and overused, can be a powerful tool for managing and achieving your goals.
There is only one way to eat an elephant, the saying goes, and that’s one bite at a time.
What it means is that by taking on small, manageable portions over time, we can accomplish things that seem impossible or overwhelming.
Rather than fixating on the five-ton beast in front of you, focus instead on small, consistent actions that lead to success. Build habits that support incremental progress and then watch as those small victories add up to giant achievements.
Tip: Break your goal into daily or weekly tasks that are easy so they’re impossible to ignore. Over time, these consistent efforts add up.
A real challenge in achieving long-term goals is staying motivated. Surround yourself with sources of inspiration that remind you of the “why” behind your goals. Seek out inspirational stories about others who have overcome similar challenges. Admire their triumphs and learn from their struggles.
Tip: Take encouragement from famous figures who overcame setbacks but persisted. Their stories exemplify how to stay on track. For example, learn about Malala Yousafzai, Nick Vujicic, Temple Grandin or even Scentsy Co-founders Heidi and Orville Thompson.
Recognize and celebrate your small victories. It’s crucial to acknowledge your progress, no matter how small. Use it as fuel to propel you forward. Consider treating yourself in some way when you reach milestones to reinforce the positive behaviors that contributed to your success.
Tip: Create a chart or journal to track your incremental progress. When you hit a milestone, note it and reward yourself with a small celebration. Then, get back on track.
Here’s a trunk full of truth: No one really wants to eat an elephant. But tie on a bib, grab the salt and pepper, and cut off a bite of whatever your elephant represents. Apply this strategy to all your endeavors. You’ll find confidence in your ability to accomplish mammoth-sized aspirations by taking consistent, manageable steps.
What is your elephant for 2024? Share in the comments.