So! You Wanna Eat an Elephant!

New Year – New Beginning

The New Year is a natural time to start over or start something new. I’ve begun working on a new goal already: be in bed by 10pm and get up at 5:30am to read the Holy Scriptures for an hour and spend an hour working on my writing, particularly this blog. It’s 7:08am. I’ve already studied the New Testament for an hour, and I’ve been writing for 8 minutes. So, I’m behind schedule a little, but it’s only the first day. It’s a GREAT start!

The writing I’ve already done this morning describes my desires for personal growth during the New Year. In addition to drawing closer to God through prayer and personal study of His word, I’ve committed to focus on improving my relationship with and attitude toward food, particularly sugar. I’ve also decided to consistently exercise at least 30 minutes each day, taking Sunday as a day of rest.

The list of health habits I’d like to change isn’t new. I’ve been struggling with them most of my life: controlling my eating habits, stopping binges before they begin, exercising consistently for the rest of my life, and not using food to excess and for emotional gratification. I want to change them once and for all and NEVER have to worry about them EVER again!

Walking and thinking from my bedroom into the kitchen this morning I had a flash of inspiration:

Focus on one thing at a time, and make it your own. Get it down! Attack it with intensity until you’ve mastered it.

Here’s an example:

Eat the veggies first! I lost 11 pounds last year following a diet plan that recommended eating 16 ounces of vegetables at lunch and 16 or more ounces of vegetables at supper. Four ounces of protein per meal was also recommended. This diet taught me that if I eat the veggies first, I’m not as hungry for more. Eat the veggies and four ounces of protein and be done.

“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”

It’s natural to resist goal setting and not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. We set goals and make resolutions only to have our best intentions crash and burn before the new year has even begun.  The problem is we identify our dreams and call them goals. It’s like saying, “My goal this year is to eat a 15,000 pound African elephant!” Every time we think about our goal we become discouraged. “How am I ever going to do that?”

Think big! There’s nothing wrong with that.

The truth is, if you felt compelled to eat a 15,000 pound African elephant by yourself you could do it. But, it would take years, possibly a lifetime. According to former US Army general Creighton Abrams, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” That’s exactly how we need to think about our goals, bite size pieces, baby steps.

My Resolution for this year is to work toward my life-long health goals mentioned in paragraph three; control my eating habits, stop binges before they begin, exercise consistently for the rest of my life, and not use food to excess and for emotional gratification. Starting today, and for as much of this year as it takes, I’m going to focus on eating my veggies first and becoming more consistent with daily exercise as if my life depended on it. Once I’ve mastered those two things, I’ll move on to something else. Hopefully eating my elephant won’t take a lifetime, but if it does, so be it.

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