Stop what you are doing. Answer this question — what is one thing standing in your way right now?

Identify that elephant in front of you that won’t budge — we all have one.  Let’s talk about it. I’ve dealt with my fair share of elephants. Today, I’m here to share my experience of how to overcome these giants. I want to share an elephant that we may have in common.

My elephant was a 20 pound weight gain due to a slowing metabolism. (#Welcome2Your30s). 

When I was young, I was very active in sports. Ice Hockey. Surfing. Skiing. Give me a ball or a bat and I am in 1000%. Actually, give me anything, and I am in 1000%! LOL.

As a child/teenager, being overweight was never an issue for me because, thanks to being so active, my metabolism was like a rocket and allowed me to eat whatever I wanted. I was one of those guys. 20 pancakes for breakfast? Bring it on! But, let me be clear, if I wasn’t so involved in sports, there is no way I could have kept those pounds off. 

Naturally, I gained the “Freshman 15” (okay maybe 30), but worked off the weight quickly right after college. Fast forward 10 years, and the realities of adulthood started to kick in. Suddenly, I was spending more time at my desk and in the car and less time on the slopes or on a hockey rink. I worked out regularly, but I started to see I was putting on weight in my mid-30s.

It wasn’t just a weight gain that I was noticing; I was getting bored with my workouts and feeling less motivated. And, the most eye-opening, I wasn’t feeling the same, strong energy drive that I had known for my entire life. I didn’t like it. I needed to make a change. This was the moment I decided to commit to a new lifestyle.

I identified an elephant.

I then made plans of how to eat the elephant. I set two arbitrary goals:

  • I wanted to lose 20 pounds and
  • I wanted to do it in 3 months.

I challenged myself to change a lifestyle in 90 days that I had been used to for almost 40 years. 

The first bite was making the decision. The second bite was figuring out how to do it. The third bite was taking action. Some bites were larger than others, like doing a P90X workout at 4am when I didn’t feel like doing it. Other bites were smaller, like not having that second cocktail when I went out with friends.. How many bites were there in all? Tens? Hundreds? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals. These small, realistic goals/bites became cumulative success over time. The hardest part? The first few bites for sure. Determination and belief were my anchors at the beginning. But over time it not only got easier, but it got fun as I was fired up with my progress. And the more I saw, the more I wanted. I wanted to keep eating more bites. 

After 3 months, I hit my goal. I lost the 20 pounds.

I know weight loss is a very hot-button topic for us. I am fortunate to have always had an athletic temperament. I never had any sort of body image issues, or self loathing or doubt. But, that didn’t change the fact that I knew I had to change decades-old habits and patterns of behavior. Like everyone else who sets a goal in the distant future, I had to take this one step at a time. I ate the elephant I created one bite at a time.

Eating those small bites over time motivated me to practice conquering elephants in other areas of my life.

I had started a chain reaction that was leading me to an elevated state of being. One small step — one small bite — at a time. 

Was it challenging? Sure…nothing great was ever accomplished without a challenge.

Maybe this specific elephant was easier for me than for some of you. And I’m sure some of your elephants would be easier for you than me. But it’s not about how hard or easy it is. It’s about setting goals for yourself and working towards them. 

Along the way, eating the elephant became part of my daily routine. The concrete goal of losing 20 pounds was still present, but the more of the elephant I ate, the more motivated I was to continue. Facing your giants is easier than you think – you can overcome them, one decision at a time. 

What is the elephant standing in your way? Write it down. You can overcome it. Break it down into bite-sized goals. Then, take the first bite.

If you get off track? Who cares?! Let it go and get back on track. Have fun along the way- we are creating and changing, it’s not something to dread. Expecting 100% every day is unrealistic, but it is important to give each bite our all and show ourselves grace along the way. Commit to not allowing guilt or self-doubt sabotage you along the way. Believe in yourself. 

Think long term here; we are developing a mindset that permeates all areas of your life.

That elephant that you’re looking at? Go eat it.