Why Am I Eating An Elephant?

You’ve probably heard the question – how do you eat an elephant?

[In case you haven’t, the answer is – one bite at a time].

There’s undoubtedly wisdom in that advice … but it’s not the whole story.

Often, it helps to understand why we’re eating the elephant in the first place.

Taking a task that’s easier to define than elephant-eating:
How to cover 30km in 30 days?

Options could include:
Smash out all 30km on Day 1 – get it over with.
15km in a day … rest, then do the other 15km a week or so later.
5km every few days.
1km every day, no matter what.
Wake up each day and see how you feel, the
n do a bit [or not].

There are other factors involved too. What’s my baseline of fitness? Do I walk or run? Jump on a bike? [Is it cheating to use a car?!] Is it a flat route, or up a mountain? Am I doing this alone, or with a team? And so on.

As usual, the answer to the question is – “it depends.”

So we need another filter. We need to ask ‘why’. Why am I covering this 30km in 30 days/eating this elephant/doing this project?

If the priority is simply finishing the 30km, most of us would go for big chunks, probably do them on days 28, 29 and 30, and then take a week to recover. [Nothing particularly wrong with that, by the way].

But if the goal is an overall improvement to our health, then the discipline of 1km for 30 days would be a better choice. After a week or so, we could gradually increase the distance. And after 30 days, we might have established a sustainable habit … we might keep going … and who knows where that might take us?

Some projects just need to get done, and others benefit from a long-term approach. It helps to know the difference.

And if we can’t think of a good answer to ‘why am I doing this?’ … maybe that tells us something …

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