How to Eat an Elephant
Do you know how to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time!
Just like anything else… a piece of cheesecake, a bowl of cereal, or a chicken salad. You eat them all the same – one bite at a time.
I think of it as the mental version of an optical illusion – where you see a big ole elephant and it seems absolutely unreasonable to eat an elephant. But when you break it down into an action plan (one bite at a time) you realize it’s totally manageable.
Note: I LOVE elephants, so you won’t find me eating one any time soon, but stick with me for example purposes.
The Healthy Elephant
When we think about getting back in shape, it’s the equivalent of seeing the ginormous elephant and thinking it’s completely unreasonable to go from where you are now to being in shape again.
You’ve been told you have to spend HOURS at the gym everyday. Which means a pricey membership that you’re afraid you won’t end up using anyways. Plus figuring out daycare or an alternative for childcare while you’re driving to/from the gym and while you’re there.
Oh, and you feel pressured to get the latest and greatest workout clothes and shoes because even though it’s been a while since you’ve been to the gym, you don’t want it to look like it’s been a while since you’ve been to the gym.
Then there’s figuring out the actual workout that you’re going to do – do you just go and walk on the treadmill for an hour? If so, is this whole gym thing even worth it? I mean, you could walk around the neighborhood, right? Then again, you haven’t even been doing that, so maybe the gym will force you to do it.
Maybe you’ll actually try to lift some weights… So, do you hire a trainer at the gym? (ugh, more money) or do you buy a cheaper program online and take the chance that you might not even know what it’s talking about, and how will you even know if it’s a good program, right?
This whole getting in shape elephant has turned into a mammoth just thinking about it and you haven’t even set foot in the actual gym yet!?!?
Why is it so damn hard to just get in shape? It didn’t used to be, so WTF is happening here?!!?!
One Bite At A Time
As explained above, when you look at getting back in shape in the traditional sense, it has gotten so out of control and confusing that it’d be weird if you weren’t overwhelmed by it all.
And if you’re like most people, when you get overwhelmed, you shut down and just don’t do anything.
So let’s try a different approach – the one bite at a time one.
Meaning, when you break it down you realize it’s totally manageable.
The first thing to recognize is all you have to do is get moving. It doesn’t matter where, when, or how… just move.
I recommend starting with 5 minutes (yes, it’s literally that simple). If you can’t find 5 minutes, what makes you think you can magically find 90 minutes for the gym (commute and time at the gym)?
And don’t even think about the gym or clothes or program – start with a 5 minute walk.
Instead of spending so much mental energy and TIME worrying about what you’ll do or wear or whatever, just get moving. Those 5 minutes will pass anyways, and you could be moving (which is how you go bite by bite) or you could still be trying to make a decision.
Once you’ve done one five minute walk, the next day do another. And the next day do another, and so on and so on until you’ve gotten into the routine of walking every day.
Maybe that takes a week, maybe it takes a month… however long it takes for it to become routine is fine! You’re doing it – you’re taking those bites out of the proverbial elephant.
Before you know it, those five minute walks will be easy peasy and you’ll be confident that you can do another minute, then another, then another, essentially taking bigger ‘bites’. Then you might even try jogging for one of those minutes, and you might build up jogging minutes, taking even bigger ‘bites’.
Until one day you’ve looked up and you’ve created an entire lifestyle where you consistently go for a ~30minute jog every day and you’ve eaten the freaking elephant!
You get back in shape the same way you eat an elephant – one ‘bite’ at a time. Take the pressure off and start with one bite. Start today!
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