By now you probably know how much I love a good positive quote – feel free to share one, or lots! So, when I came across this, I just had to make it the topic of this week’s post.
In the article I read, the inner elephant referred to our self-control, our impulsive, irrational, and often emotional side.
Let’s use the example of trying to get in better shape healthwise. The elephant is the part of you that says, ‘that’s okay, you’re tired, the gym/bike/walk/stair-master will still be there tomorrow.’
It’s the part of me that excitedly says, ‘You’ve just sat down to watch a show – Excellent!! What yummy (junk food in large quantities) snacks are we going to eat??’
It’s no wonder we get so easily frustrated with ourselves. Sometimes it comes afterward in the form of irritation or disappointment at a decision we have made (or not made). Maybe it’s the place we feel we should or shouldn’t be in our life. Other times we are just generally fed up with the world and our circumstances.
Things happen in the time they are supposed to – not before and not after. Yet all this logic seems to go out the window when our irrational emotional side takes over.
Sometimes we just give up, throw our hands in the air (yep, like we just don’t care), and hand all self-control over. I did exactly that trying to figure out my smartwatch recently. Looking back now it’s kind of funny, but I was snappy, huffing and puffing and becoming more frustrated by the second – none of which helped incidentally!
So, what did I learn from my elephant?
To know my elephant is to love my elephant
As we become more aware of our reactions and our choices, we allow ourselves to make better ones. Sometimes all it takes is remembering that, I am doing the best I can with the tools I have in the place I am in. Then breathe… and find something to be grateful for.
This applies to almost every area in life – pick a topic, any topic. Your job, you’re relationship, your circle of friends or lack of, your roller coaster business, your health status, the list is endless.
Wishing or wanting things to be different doesn’t make it so. And yelling at your inner elephant only aggravates him (or her) and makes us feel worse!
Acknowledge your elephant and thank him for his advice (or assistance), then either take it, or don’t, but BE OKAY with whatever you decide.
Make a Plan – They work.
Making a change or adapting to a new way of life takes time. Again, insert any circumstance you like. Having a plan is one of the best ways to stay on track and remember to keep focussing on just the next step, not the entire mountain.
Have a backup plan
Okay, let’s assume our best-made plans don’t go the way we had hoped and we surrender to old ‘dumbo’. We give him control and he metaphorically begins destroying our china shop. That’s okay. We can make another plan… and another one… and continually course correct.
Remember Ctrl-Alt-Del? Ah to my dear friend who told me this so many years ago, it never gets old, and I have never forgotten!
Have a plan A and a plan B just in case. And why not have a plan C, D, and E. Sometimes, it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them, right?
Fun fact: That quote was shared with me a million years ago and the person was referring to the oxygen masks in the airplane.
Set realistic goals
These need to be relevant to where we are, not where we pretend we are or where we want to be (shoosh elephant!).
No one rocks up at the gym for the first time and sets the goal to lose 10kg by Friday. The more unrealistic the goal the less chance we have of achieving it… at least until we have created new habits, (or a new way of life) and have a few strategies in place.
Then YES, ABSOLUTELY set a big, huge, amazing, exciting goal and reach for the stars! It’s some weird phenomenon, the higher you reach, the higher you go. So yes, reach for the stars, not the lamp post.
And while we’re on the topic of goals – WRITE THEM DOWN! I know, you don’t like to write, maybe you don’t even believe that works, and you can’t find a pen, even if you wanted to write something down. That’s fine, humor the Universe and do it anyway 😊
There are too many stories of people who got everything they wanted on a list that was written down.
Celebrate the little things. Positive reinforcement encourages more positive behavior.
Treats come in a variety of sizes and packages. They are a great step on the path of self-care, and at the end of the day, it just feels nice!
Have a great week! 😊
Dalya xx 💙