Goal Setting - The difference between smashing them and not!
How many of you have set goals only to fall at the first hurdle? Whilst the process of setting the goals themselves seems simple, there are often so many factors involved in reaching them that achieving those goals isn’t always so easy.
As last year turns to this, it is natural to reflect on the past 365 days and to resolve to improve things for the next! How many of us have made (and already broken) our 2018 resolutions? Statistics actually show that nearly all of resolutions made at New Year have fallen by the wayside by the 15th January - just 14 days into the year!
This blog post will look at the most common pitfalls in resolution making and will (hopefully) offer you some simple tips and tricks on how to actually achieve your 2018 goals…
· Have you ever made a resolution with the words “stop” or “start” in it? E.g. “I will stop replacing hacking with schooling.” or “I will start riding in the rain.”
Why do you need to start/stop this behaviour? How did it start/stop in the first place? What can you change to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
Making your goals attainable is very important and being clear about WHY you are setting the goal in the first place will help you to do just that!
· Have you ever set a new year goal that involved the phrase “I am going to be better at (riding)”?
This phrase has no real context – Better than what? What do you need to improve? How are you going to do that?
By having no measurable factors how will you know when you have achieved your goal? “My goal is to be able to do a single flying change over a pole in the school” would be a good example of an easily measured goal – you can obviously see (and feel) when you have achieved it.
· Do you set yourself LOTS of resolutions each year and manage to stick to none of them?
One thing I have learnt, in both the equestrian and business worlds, is that if you focus on changing one thing at a time you are much more likely to achieve what you set out to than if you look to change everything all at once. Spreading yourself too thinly can ultimately lead to you dropping those multiple goals one by one until there aren’t any goals left at all!
· How many of your goals have had no time limit?
“My goal is to jump my horse.” Right now? Tomorrow? Next year?
With no mention of a timeframe this goal has the potential to never happen. If it is something that you do not do regularly or that you haven’t done for a long time it is likely that it is something that will take a bit of inner-strength to achieve. Without a deadline, it is far too easy to keep putting your goal off until tomorrow, or the next day or even the next.
Be specific and realistic about when you want to have achieved it “My goal is to jump my horse before the 31st January.”
By adding a realistic deadline, you can plan accordingly (include pole work in your schooling, use cavaletti, have jump lessons etc.) to enable you to build up to your ultimate goal, giving you even more chance of smashing it…
· How many of us have set goals that are so far out of our comfort zone we’d need a herd of galloping horses to get us there?
Setting a goal that you have little or no interest in achieving is as silly as it sounds. “I am going to concentrate on improving my dressage, (even though I was born to gallop for hours out hacking)” is not really ever going to end well unless you are ultra-laser focussed and are prepared to change your entire mind set to enable you to achieve it.
Declaring that you will do something that bears no relevance to the things you love and value is ultimately not sensible. If you have no real intention of falling in love with dressage and trotting in circles from now until the end of time (not that there is anything wrong with that at all if it is your thing) then my biggest suggestion would be to re-align your goal with something you love. Try a hunter trial for the first time or join a team chasing team, you are much more likely to leap into achieving your goals if they set your soul on fire!
· Have you ever declared you would do something just because you thought it was expected of you?
Setting goals to impress other people is not sensible and can sometimes actually be quite dangerous when it comes to horses.
Aiming to do something simply because your horse used to do it or has the capability to do it is only going to help you conform to other people’s perceptions of what is right. Do you actually care enough about what others think? Are you at the same level and as capable as your horse’s last rider? Do you have the confidence to face that huge show jump? Are you Carl Hester? Could you fly the Cottesmore Leap?
YOUR goals HAVE to be achievable for you. No one else matters.
If you only take one thing from this post make it this:
Stick to these three basic principles and your resolutions will last long into 2018 (way past the average 15th January…)
1 – Make your goal positive, achievable, realistic, measurable & YOURS (no one else’s).
2 – Stick to one change at a time. Once you’ve nailed one thing you can move on to the next. Lots of little goals are far more effective and motivating than one big long-term goal.
3 – Set a realistic time frame for achieving your goal and get out there and smash them!
Now if you want get a bit of support and guidance with the process of goal setting you can get the Goal Setting Support pack online. This includes a 1 hour webinar all about how to set the right goals and how to make a realistic plan to get to them. As well as a downloadable pack to record it all and a tracker to keep you on your path to success. Just click below to get yours now