Do you find yourself setting riding goals and then not following through on them? You start. But, then you get sidetracked. You get frustrated with yourself and your horse as you don’t progress the way that you think you should. Before you give up, here are 4 steps to help you stay the course.
Choose the Right Direction
Your goal must match your beliefs or you just won’t be motivated enough to work towards it. For example, if you set a goal to win a dressage class but you really don’t enjoy showing then you are not very likely to put much effort into achieving the goal. Maybe what you really want is just to improve your riding skills or master canter transitions with your horse. If your goal doesn’t align with your true desires then you will be travelling in the wrong direction and you’ll have a hard time following through.
You can only reach your goals by taking consistent action. This means making your goal a priority and setting aside the time needed for the activities related to achieving your goal. Recognize that you will probably have to sacrifice some other activities in order to do this. Schedule the time and don’t let anything else take priority.
If you work on your goal related activities for as little as 1 hour a day, five days a week, in 1 year you will have devoted 260 hours to it. That’s the equivalent of a 6 week college course!
If you allow other activities to take priority, then either you aren’t really committed to your goal because it’s the wrong goal (taking you in the wrong direction) or you don’t feel you are a priority in your own life. Whatever the reason, you will feel defeated, discouraged and frustrated. If you aren’t committing the time towards taking the actions necessary to achieve your goal, ask yourself “why not”.
Consistent action also includes balancing the other parts of your life – taking care of yourself, getting plenty of rest, spending time with family and friends. Avoid doing all or nothing. Moderation is the key to consistency. Make time for both work and play.
Stuff happens so be flexible. You may need to adjust your goals as you go because situations change. Don’t be afraid to change your goal to adapt to new information or life situations. Consider what happens when you are driving your car. You have to constantly make a series of changes. You drift slightly one way – you correct. You drift slightly the other way – you correct. You get too close to the car in front of you – you correct. You probably don’t even consciously realize you are making these changes. But, if you weren’t making them to adjust to new situations moment to moment, you would end up in the ditch or in a crash. Don’t be afraid to make changes. Think of change as the steering mechanism on the journey toward your ultimate destination.
It takes patience to stay the course and reach your destination. This can be a tough one to master. But, without it you will give up in frustration. In our fast paced lives, we are used to instant gratification and not having to wait for anything.
Everything happens in its own time. Let go of expecting everything to fall into place for you right away. Growth takes time. And achieving goals requires growth. If it doesn’t, it isn’t a worthy goal.
To stay on course, remember these 4 steps and constantly remind yourself that you are on a journey. The journey is much more important than the final destination. Enjoy it.