Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I noticed this week on the financial blog circuit the recent popularity of the book Switch. I haven't picked up the book yet, but one of the philosophies mentioned really resonated with me.

In one of JD's posts on Get Rich Slowly, he talks about the metaphor of the elephant (do not insert fat joke here):
The rider represents our rational or logical mind. The large, powerful elephant represents our emotional mind. And the path through the jungle represents our environment and surroundings.
The authors say that we most often approach habit change by leveraging only our logical mind, the “rider”. We outline the exact tips, tactics, and strategy we need to systematically execute our plan.
We see early success with this method because, in the beginning, the rider has enough control and strength to force the elephant to go wherever we desire. But the longer the rider tries to overpower the elephant, the more quickly she tires and burns out. Trying to change a habit with only your logical mind quickly leads to exhaustion. You cannot succeed with willpower alone.
He goes on to mention that you need to motivate the ELEPHANT, or the emotional part of your mind and you also need to work with the jungle, or your surroundings.

This is the very best thing about being a Dave Ramsey follower. The reason he sets up his debt snowball in the fashion that he does is so you DON'T lose momentum when trying to get out of debt; to do this, he appeals to the emotional side of your brain. When you're chipping away at debt, if you're paying off your smallest debts one by one, the emotional gratification that comes from your quick pay off will help keep you motivated throughout the process.

How very applicable this is to not only getting out of debt, but to losing weight as well. I LOVE that Weight Watchers sets small, achievable goals. They don't tell you to lose 50, 100, 150 pounds right out of the starting gate. You start with a 5% target, your 10% target, until your WEIGHT LOSS snowballs. (Look, I just connected money and weight loss. How clever--someone should make a blog about that).

For me, I feel like I set myself up for failure by constantly expecting perfection.

If I don't get in 4 (or 5 or whatever arbitrary number I designated for the week) workouts in, then I have failed at life and I just quit and veg out on the couch. You know what? 2 or 3 workouts would have probably been just as good.

If I haven't stuck to my daily calorie needs and I've gone over? Well, screw it all! Velveeta shells and cheese, I'm comin' to get you! (Right, that's a fabulous idea.)

In all honesty, I feel like I've been at this game my entire life and I still can't get it right. For this week, I will try to think as more than just the rider; I will consider the elephant in the jungle as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and one I can definitely relate well to! I need to stop being such an "all or nothing" person and focus more on those small successes. I'm glad you posted this!!

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