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One Bite At a Time

By Dr. Joe Manza DC, CACCP - Webster's Friendly Neighborhood Chiropractor



When I first opened my own practice, I put on a series of discussions for my patients entitled: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer to this pun is exactly as the title states: One bite at a time. But what does eating an elephant have to do with anything? Obviously, you’re not going to literally eat an elephant; the key is to take smaller measured steps (bites) to achieve any larger goal (the elephant).

Let’s take, for example, setting a New Year’s resolution, which is usually setting an elephant-sized goal. Recent studies show the success rate of New Year’s resolutions after one month is 64 percent (1) and 80 percent (2) after two months. If you follow the links, you’ll read about reasons why the elephant tramples all over your plans. While this is great information, it’s missing a key component to why we either dine on the elephant or get flattened in its stampede.

The key to any goal you set, say gaining/losing weight, is to plan your work and then work your plan. Setting a goal is great, but it’s not nearly enough to get you to where you desire to be. In 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), wrote: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

The easy part is cooking the elephant (setting the goal). But what’s next once it’s cooked? You can’t fit the whole thing - tusks and all - into your mouth, no matter how big it is. You’ll need your utensils to cut it up into bite-sized pieces and then you can start chowing down. It’s this part that most people miss, and then resolutions fail.

You need to ask yourself questions along the way that will always lead you towards achieving your goal; these are the smaller bites. These questions also allow you to course-correct along the way if need be. Your plan and your questions to devour every one of your goals should be SMART.

Specific – Be precise when defining your goal. Do you want to lose/gain weight? Or do you want to lose/gain exactly 20 pounds.

Measurable – Anything you measure grows. Track your numbers (whatever they are) as you work towards your goal… weigh yourself daily, meal plan for the whole day or week.

Achievable – Ask yourself if this goal is realistic. Do you have the support system? Time? Money? What resources do you need to succeed?

Relevant – Why is this goal important? Do your goals align with who you are? Do the individual steps you are taking along the way align with the end game of the goal?

Timeframe – When (time/date) will you have finished this feat and succeeded in achieving your goal? This is critical for success; otherwise your goal is a wish.

BONUS: Reward yourself along the way with small things, as this will help keep you on track and motivated.

Now sharpen your knife, get to work, and create the health and life you’ve been wishing for.


1: https://discoverhappyhabits.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

2: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail


Dr. Joe Manza DC, CACCP runs a chiropractic office located in the Village of Webster.

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