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Elephants don’t bite, Mosquitoes do

It is too bad that good intentions do not get anything done. If they did, most of us in the coaching business would be out of business.

One of the things you begin to notice about people who want change, whether to get more of something or less of something, is that they are very well intentioned. Everyone has his or her reasons or “whys” and that can facilitate some powerful motivation.

Someone said that if you have a strong enough “why”, the “what’s” and “how’s” will take care of themselves. I agree for the most part. There is nothing quite as powerful as a person or group, with a clear picture of exactly what they want and with a strong belief in “why” they want it.

There is a whole set of strategies to create that kind of perspective and energy but that is another subject.

Another thing you notice when you start working with yourself and your clients on creating a new future is that for the most part we underestimate the time and effort it takes to change ourselves.

That is sure true for me.

And that can be discouraging if you let it.

We often start with great intentions, lots of energy and willpower and then find that our motivation is fading well before our desired destination.

The fading process can be a complicated process…if we could figure it out and bottle the solution; we would not have to work again.

So what happens to bring on this shift of momentum?

There is a saying used by my trainer, Mack Newton, that might be useful when reflecting on this question. It is, “Elephants don’t bite, mosquitoes do.”

What this refers to is the presumption that certain things do not count or at least do not count very much and what you have to worry about is the big things in life.

For instance, let us say you start an exercise regimen to be at the gym working out every day for the next thirty days. You have great reasons and start with a bang. You are at the Gym as planned for the first 10 days without fail.

Then something happens. Circumstances change, maybe you are tired and sore, or you just need a day off. You may begin to reason, “My working out for 10 days was more working out than I’ve done in the last 20 years and more than anyone I know my age does anyway” and so you take off for the day.

You even feel good about your decision.

That is a mosquito bite.

An even better example is going on a diet and swearing off sweets. You hit it hard for a time and then something subtle begins to happen. You begin to reason that one bite will not hurt anything. That is usually accompanied with an “I deserve it.”

You have only one bite. A small one.

That is a mosquito bite.

(The insidious part about mosquito bites is they are usually so small we hardly notice them and the next thing we know we have dropped the gym and have eaten the whole cake.)

Mosquito bites do not hurt much at their onset but as we all know, mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous creatures on earth. They carry with them certain viruses and germs that can kill.

The subtle reasoning we use to justify our digression from our goal is very mosquito like…a virus if you will, that can fester into a full-blown shutdown (an Elephant).

Bottom line…everything counts, every thought, word, deed, decision and intention.