I need to get up earlier.

I really do need to get up earlier but there’s a problem.

My Elephant won’t let me.

And before you ask, no I don’t actually have an elephant but bear with me.

Picture if you will a person riding an elephant down the road in one of those glossy safari travel mags, a bit like this.elephant rider

Now do you think the small person with the even smaller stick is actually forcing the elephant to walk down that path?

No of course not he might make slight changes to the elephants general direction but lets face it if a 2 ton elephant doesn’t want to go the way you want it to go it’s not going to.

And hitting it with your little stick?  Ha good luck with that!

So here’s the thing.

The rider, the elephant and the path are all parts of you.

Rider = your logical rational side and will power

Elephant = your emotional and feeling side

Path = your environment

So my logical side says:

 “I really need to get up and read that chapter of my coursework before the rest of the house gets up and distracts me”

But emotional side says:

“Screw that it’s warm and comfy in here”

Bed

Result: Perhaps for the first few days I manage to drag myself out of bed and get some reading done, but after a couple of days my will power is used up and I end up slapping the alarm clock and staying in bed till it’s 5 minutes before I have to leave the house and I run around like a loon trying to get ready.

See emotions are a lot stronger than logic when it comes to motivation and getting things done.

Logic and reason are fine but will power is finite and eventually you’ll use it up trying to force yourself to do things you don’t really want to.

So how can you get round this?

There are a couple of ways.

Find the emotion behind why you need to do something. When you fly on holiday do you have any trouble at all getting up at 4 am and driving to the airport?

No of course not.

Why?

Because you want to get the holiday started.

I know for me the airport is the first part of it as soon as I leave the house I’m in “Holiday mode”

So is there a way I can make getting up and reading more inline with my emotions and easy so my elephant is happy to get up.

Possibly,

Perhaps by concentrating on how I’ll feel when I pass my exam or how I will feel to help someone else achieve the figure they want.

These good positive thoughts and feelings help to move the elephant towards where i want it.

Or I can shape the path to make it easier to get up by putting my clothes on the radiatior so they’re warm as soon as I put them on

Or

Put an alarm clock in zach's room....

You see how quick you get up when the thought of a 3 year old running around at 5am demanding to watch tree-fu tom kicks in!

I’m out of bed and in his room without my feet touching the floor most mornings.

So remember.

elephant

To make lasting changes try to tap into the emotion behind them, think about the real reason you want to make that change.

Or find a way to shape your environment to make the changes simpler.

Trying to hit the elephant with a stick will only work for a little bit then your arms will get tired and you’ll give up.

Small easy changes that align with the real reason behind making them will stick much better.

Stay Sharp

Malcolm