How to eat an elephant faster: Nano transformation

The first of a three part Planning for Action series with tips for transformation brought to you by Dr Jordan Alexander
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Are you a New Year’s resolution person? The opportunity of a fresh start to add elephant sized goals to the year ahead: a new job, more travel, getting fit or being a bit more Zen. Well, we are now halfway through the year – crazy I know – So how’s that action plan coming? If you want to supercharge your success, add nano transformation to help eat that elephant, in record time! 

First: Check your goal is S-M-A-R-T

After much reflection, you decided THIS is the year you’ll walk The Camino de Santiago. Fabulous. Just make sure your goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. A small tweak and you land on: By Christmas, I will have walked at least 100km of The Camino.

For over a thousand years, this most well-known and well-loved walk in the world draws pilgrims in their quest for spiritual growth. Making their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the unforgettable and unique journey can last as long as 780 kilometers or shorter, depending on ‘the way’ you choose, and best suits your goals.

Second: Identify the tasks (bites) to reach your goal

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The analogy captures the common sense approach to breaking your goal into smaller tasks – setting steps and milestones to mark the journey. You may take longer walks each week or month to prepare, or start a travel fund so your airfare is paid mid-year. Great, the plan is done – now stick to it and just do it!

Traditional planning typically ends here. It’s often why the ‘just do it’ Post-It note never stays sticky to the end. If you want to lock in success, consider adding just a tiny bit more: Nano transformation. 

"Nano transformation is all about focusing your attention on your mindset – converting your plans to action fast – with results that last.”

Small changes in our thinking, repeated often, create new neural pathways. You’ll need these to counter that protective part of your brain and its pesky nay-saying voice that screams reasons you won’t reach your goal: “Your feet will never last”, “You’re out of shape”, “You’ll get mugged at the hostel”. New pathways accelerate the action steps you take. It’s like having a phone-a-friend with each nano transformation reinforcing practical steps taken toward your goal.

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Mindset + Actions = faster results

Try these nano transformation top tips to supercharge your plan and make THIS year different:

TIP 1: Write an overflowing WHY list 

An essential success step, a WHY list gives context for your goal making it the easiest and fastest way to create mindset building blocks. Write an overflowing list of all the reasons WHY completing The Camino is important to you: It would raise my confidence. The Camino is #1 on my bucket list. My kids would be so proud. The more the better. Keep adding reasons ‘why’ every day for a week and those new neural pathways will be lighting the way to success!

TIP 2: Create new ‘habits’

The saying ‘watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ illustrates how focus on little things, over time, adds up to big success. Professional athletes practice the basics over and over, creating good habits as the foundation for peak performance. What essential ‘habits’ will you need to master for long distance walking? Do you need to add some logistics and travel planning ‘new habits’? Learn basic Spanish? If you focus on the small repeatable habits within your direct control and influence, the big stuff takes care of itself.

TIP 3: Link intention and action

Deepen the mindset shifts you’re creating by linking your goal to your actions using the following statement: 

“I am…     because…”

For example: I am a Camino traveller because I walk every day to build my fitness, I am frugal to save for my travel fund, and I practice Spanish for 10 minutes a day. Want more? Add to your linking exercise to an intention card and read it daily. Throw in a few visualizations of you on The Camino, and get ready to change your world!

Don’t despair that we are halfway through the year. Simply add nano transformation to re-energize your goals and convert your plans to action fast – with results that last. Focus on aligning your mindset and you’ll be celebrating success in time for the next New Year. 

In our next part of the Planning for Action series, you’ll learn the importance of making decisions to stay on track as our tips for transformation continue. 

No elephants were harmed in the making of this blog.