The Elephant and the rope

“As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

‘Well,’ he said, ‘when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.’

My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.”

Most people fail before they’ve even started. Previous negative experiences with dieting makes them believe that any attempt in the future is going to have the same outcome. And this tends to be the case, but not because they aren’t capable, far from it, but because they use the same methods and have the same mentality that have had in the past.

The secret? You have to set yourself up to win from the start. When people go on a health kick they tend to go full throttle and end up burning themselves out sooner rather than later.

So, how do we set ourselves up to win? By setting yourself small, realistic and achievable goals.

Instead of saying you will go to the gym five days a week (a lot for even a dedicated gym goer) set the goal to go twice a week minimum and then anything above and beyond that is a bonus.

When trying to eat healthier, aim to have at least one meal a day that is packed with vegetables and then again any extra meals with vegetables is a bonus.

Setting goals as above will lead to feelings of achievement and satisfaction when you go beyond what you set out to and less feelings of guilt and becoming unmotivated by not achieving an unrealistic goal.

And what happens when you achieve or surpass goals? You gain confidence, your self-worth and self-belief improves, which will all lead to setting bigger goals and smashing through them too.

How many of us are being held back by our own old, outdated beliefs? Set yourself up to win and break free from the rope.


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