Setting Goals & Sticking to Them
The New Year is always a catalyst for change, determination and renewed vigour. But as we all know, usually by February we've slipped back into our old ways bemoaning how little willpower we have whilst stuffing the last of the Terry's Chocolate Orange into our gobs. STOP. It doesn't have to be this way! Follow these really simple tips to setting your goals, committing to them and most importantly, achieving them! 2018 is your year. Go get 'em!
"A goal should excite you a little, and scare you a lot!"
It's cold, it's miserable outside and you're probably still suffering from the excesses of Christmas. But goal setting is an opportunity to set the past behind you and look forwards to the future and all the possibilities it brings. Grab a coffee, pen and paper and set to work. It might seem old school, but actually the act of writing things down is a proven method to successful goal setting. Not only are you committing your thoughts to paper, but you also have a reference to look back on to check your progress. Brainstorm all the things you'd like to achieve in the next 12 months in all areas of your life; professional, home, health, family and of course, equine! Be bold and don't be tempted to water your goals down to make them easier. This is your opportunity to break down barriers and step outside of your comfort zone.
"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there"
You have your goals, now make a plan. Writing down your goals is only half of the story, you have to make a plan of how you're going to get there. Break this down into bitesize steps. For example, if your long term goal is to beat your personal best dressage test score, a stepping stone to that would be to improve an area you know you're lacking in based on your previous sheets i.e. straightness. Then, decide how you're going to tackle that i.e. more regular lessons. Not only does this simplify things so they seem easier to tackle, but it gives you a clear structure to work with day to day rather than ambling along and wasting 6 months before you even realise it!
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts"
Be prepared for set backs. Lots of them. Self development is hard, but don't let failure stop you from trying. Make sure you have a good support team around you and be mindful. Often what feels like the worst situation in the world is really just a minor blip. Having a good support team you trust is essential to get you through the hard times.
"There are seven days in a week, someday is not one of them"
Keep your goals visible, refer to them often and even better keep a log of your progress. This will help keep you accountable and focused. The most important part to setting goals is actually working on them! Don't feel pressured to keep up with anyone else, your journey is personal to you. When you feel yourself losing momentum, take a moment to visualise your long term goal. Take note of how it makes you feel, really live in that moment. Visualising is a great technique to train your brain and body, and to keep you and your goals in alignment.
“Sticking to goals boils down to organisation, determination and motivation. Ride in all weather (I’ve competed in three hurricanes!), and get up early or go to bed late. Have a routine and plan your time!” — Nic Turner (pictured) Diamonds in the Rough Dressage
Image credit: Sophie Lefevre Photography