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One Bite at a Time

South African Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, “There is only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time.” He was not suggesting that anyone try to eat an elephant. He was creatively saying that for any large task in front of you, break it down into smaller segments. By completing those smaller pieces, over time the larger goal will be accomplished.

Everyone has a big picture thing in front of them that may seem daunting. Mine is to write book number three, which has been on my mind since our last publication in 2017. Yours may be to learn a new language, or to play an instrument, or to complete your master’s degree. Whatever the big hairy audacious goal (aka BHAG) is, there never seems to be enough time. This is where Bishop Tutu’s analogy could help.

Last week I was reading a chapter of our Bible study group’s current book. The chapter focused on this very topic. How to complete a major task (reading the entire Bible) in a set period of time (one year). The author laid out several ways to accomplish the goal. Read for X number of minutes per day, read three chapters per day, etc. We can do the same thing for the BHAG we have in mind as well.

Want to learn a language? Spend 30 minutes a day on the Duolingo APP.

Trying to play guitar for the first time? Practice alongside YouTube videos twice a day.

Want to finish that master’s program? Take one class per semester.

No matter the methodology you employ, a couple of things need to be part of your game plan. Here are three…..

Consistency – You should make sure whatever cadence or schedule you choose, you have to stick to it. Chipping away on a regular basis will get you to the finish line down the road.

Book it – We suggest putting on your calendar whatever time you have dedicated for a task. It should be at the same time and duration for each occurrence. If you are going to perfect your short game, block off 30 minutes at the putting green every day at 5 PM. If you block off the time in your calendar as if it were an important meeting, it will be tough to ignore these “small bites.” Eventually these tasks will become part of your daily routine as much as brushing your teeth.

Say it out loud – Share your goal with those around you that you trust. Make them part of your journey and they, in turn, will help hold you accountable to the task at hand.

Define the goal. Block the time. Be consistent. Bring others along for the ride. One bite at a time.

Now I’m off to start writing that book.

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