What’s Your Elephant’s Resolution?

In her post about Perks for the Pachyderm, Judy laid out five tips for keeping our Elephant happy. And there’s no way to keep a New Year’s Resolution–or bring about any change–without getting the Elephant on board. So how will you keep your Elephant happy in 2011? Tell us.

We want to know how will you adjust, loosen up, or feed your passionate, emotional, sometimes illogical half of your brain, while the logical “Getting Things Done” half, the Rider,  works to realize your grand plans. How will your Rider get your Elephant to cooperate?

Wonder what we’re talking about? Take a look at our “Rider and Elephant” blog posts. You might start here, with Veronica’s original book report on Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath.

View our answers and add your own…it’s fun and inspiring!

Discussion · 10 Comments

There are 10 responses to "What’s Your Elephant’s Resolution?".
  1. Veronica Brown says:

    January 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    My resolutions are like everybody else’s: lose weight and make more money. But my approach is revolutionary for me.

    I’m not going to plan it all out ahead of time–not the way I usually do.

    And I’m not going to make myself all anxious about not having it all done already.

    Goals are great, but I used to go overboard; I would plan my activities to such detail, and hold myself to such a high standard of follow-through that I couldn’t win, let alone sleep.

    No more. This year, I’m prioritizing my activities and focusing on one thing at a time. And I’m not stressing about “Is it done yet? Is it done yet?” My new mantra is “Things take the time they take.”

    My Elephant is loving the extra sleep.

    • Mike Roman says:

      January 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      I had a brunch meeting with a prospective salesman earlier this week. He is the same one I spoke with 3 years ago when I was trying to determine if I was ready to bring people aboard. He asked me why I it took 2+ years for the second interview. I told him for 60+ years I have been preparing for this ‘second meeting’. My response was that in December I decided I was moving from the planning stage to the execution stage for my business. So, I guess like you Veronica, I moving forward with a plan. I can fix the issues after they arise and not before.

  2. Judy Muller says:

    January 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Bravo…..More sleep!!

  3. Judy Muller says:

    January 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. Despite my best intentions, those changes I resolved to make would not materialize. Then I would be feel so guilty, it felt worse than when I first made the resolution! What a vicious circle! That darned elephant can be a spoiler, right? Truth is, my elephant has my best interest at heart. She knows me better than anyone. Happy Happy Happy New Year!

  4. Peter Muller says:

    January 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    My Elephant is usually a happy and contented self that knows what he wants and how to reach it. I’m a very well organized “list guy” that plans each day and gets the majority of my “to-do’s” done. But sometimes, I become very critical of myself when I’m not able to do everything that I set out to do. This is when my elephant side of my brain either gets very agitated or just shuts down in frustration. What helps my rider take control and sooth the elephant is Shamatha meditation. This is a practice that I learned at Shambhala Atlanta. Shamatha means “peaceful abiding” and when I take the time to practice this, my thoughts become calm, clear and strong. No matter what challenges I face, I know that I’ll be able to stay on track. The rider is in control and the elephant is abiding peacefully.

  5. Rob Burgner says:

    January 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never made resolutions in the past, but snowpocalypse has given me a little downtime and I’ve put together a fairly extensive range of resolutions from personal (learning Mandarin) to business (expanding overseas)to health (practicing chi gong daily as an addition to the rest of my workouts schedule.) My plan to keep the elephant happy is to visualise & experience in my noggin during meditation the results of spending a few minutes each day on my list of goals. My elephant is down with all the goals – just needs a little daily preview of the payoff and the discipline that a good rider can provide. What a team!

  6. Kerry McKenna says:

    January 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    To me, “Resolving” is the Rider. She’s a blowhard. So I do a more vision-story type of ritual at beginning of winter, which resonates with me. I refocus what’s important to me, my core beliefs and loves, and I draw out the celebration of those beliefs and qualities on paper, collage or writing. Then I say, “Yay me for putting energy into the reminder.”
    My core values are the Elephant. So I guess what I’m saying is that I remind myself I’m riding an elephant….

    • Veronica Brown says:

      January 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Kerry, I *love* you saying that your “core values are the Elephant”! I don’t think this is true for a lot of people–in fact I think it’s difficult to make sure that our core values do come from the Elephant–and that’s so important! How many of us have performed “values clarification” exercises, and have written down core values that *sounded* right: My family is my top priority, I’m committed to my career as a business performance technology analyst (or whatever it is), I pledge to serve others, yada yada yada. These are terrific priorities for living, but if they don’t really come from the Elephant, they won’t happen well. Core values aren’t decided, they are discovered. Wow!

  7. Veronica Brown says:

    January 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Fascinating that meditation is a prominent technique for getting the Elephant on board. I have resisted it (for some reason…?) but have been urged to practice a little recently. In one of my favorite “True Fruit Pickin’s” books, The Happiness Hypothesis, meditation is one of three Elephant-changing techniques known to work–the other two being cognitive therapy and Prozac. Meditation has the longest track-record.

  8. Claudia says:

    January 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Somehow January always seemed like the natural place to start fresh. This year, I am letting go of that notion. It is frustrating for me to start my year off with new goals…fall behind in them and then feel like I didn’t achieve what I set out to do. This creates stress and stress is bad for my well-being. Getting behind is now my sign that I am trying to do too much. I have promised myself to slow down. I am making my elephant a priority because I have no reserve for the tasks in front of me without taking good care of it. For now, my energy is spent on the thing right in front of me, and I resist the urge to go beyond the moment.

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