Shoot For The Moon

2017 is in full flow and now that the summer is here most of us will be turning our attention to what it is we want, nay need to do in 2017.

The end of 2016 was a very reflective time for me.  I lost my mum in November which was profoundly life changing.  Not just because she is no longer here and I have a big dark hole in my heart, but because she was so ill for so long that the anxiety I felt whilst looking after her has lifted.  I now seem to have so much time.

I got to thinking about my horsey goals and my competition dream which I  tinkered with in 2016 but couldn’t be pursued in earnest.  I got to thinking.

  • Is this still relevant?
  • Do I REALLY want to do this with my newly found and extremely valuable spare time?
  • Is the effort worth the reward?
  • Do I even have the energy?

We all face obstacles in pursuit of our goals, particularly us amateurs whose goals are associated with our hobby.  That is our free time.  The very definition suggest that there is more important stuff to be getting on with, and sure enough this important stuff will always get in the way.  The job, the family, the spouse, the household and for those of you that have them, most definitely the children.

Maybe we believe we are on the right track but realise we’ve chosen the wrong approach and we are not making progress; we’re enthusiastic and hard-working, but our support system collapses when we need them the most or we’re just about to make significant progress when a life changing event over which we have no power occurs.

DreamEnthusiastic, self-disciplined, tenacious as we may be, we all have a breaking point; that moment when the potential rewards simply stop justifying the effort.  At times like this when your world is turned on its head, before you throw in the towel consider this:

  1. Because You’re Worth It

You had a good reason for committing to this plan. Odds are, you still want those things as much as you did before; you just stopped believing you could do it because your attempts have yet to yield the full results.  If you push on and extend your deadline will it be worth it in the end?

  1. Analysis Paralysis

There are masses of great sites with powerful and sometimes conflicting information, it is so easy to overwhelm yourself with more knowledge than you can apply. You read, participate in coaching sessions and join forums.  You spend a disproportionate amount of time planning or you devote minimal energy to multiple plans instead of committing to one solid approach.

Don’t give up because of this, streamline your data, narrow it down and start again from a less overwhelming space.

  1. Judgement Day

It’s useful to consider what would be the worst thing that might happen if you do not achieve your goal.  Often when I want to turn around and walk away it’s because I’m afraid of failing; afraid to disappoint others. In reality, no one ever judges us like we judge ourselves, and we always grow and learn through the process of striving, regardless of what we attain.

If you don’t keep going, you’ll never know how far you could have gone and you’ll miss out on being the person you’d become through the effort itself.

  1. Kick Back Dude

Are you acting on impulse or emotion instead of thinking things through?  Sometimes our emotions give us hints about what we want and what we should do, but other times they’re just responses to stress.  If you act in that moment of intense emotion, be it anger, fear, or frustration, you may regret it once the wave has passed.  Kick back, take note of what you’re feeling. Feel it fully, without judging it or yourself. Then act when you’ve gotten to the other side. Sleep on it perhaps.  At least then you’ll know you made your decision in a moment of peace and clarity.  

  1. Gimme A Break!

Would your life be better if you gave up this goal?  Not very motivational but sometimes giving up is the right thing to do. Perhaps you set a completely unrealistic goal and the pursuit of it is filling you with a constant sense of inadequacy and anxiety. Give yourself a break, make a new goal.

  1. The Sunk Cost Principle

A concept studied in social psychology called “the sunk cost principle” indicates the more we’ve invested in something, the less likely we are to prematurely walk away.  How invested are you? Have you devoted a lot of money and time? How many sacrifices have you made? Are you really willing to chalk it all up as a loss because you’re not feeling confident in your abilities?  Remember, you have learnt a lot on the way, you may have reaped all the benefits you are going to reap.

  1. Be Your Own Best Friend

Would you tell your best friend to throw in the towel because she can’t possibly reach this goal if she were you? Or would you practice your finest motivational speech and help her see what you see in her potential?  You are your own best friend because you more than anyone else in this world, deserve your own belief and motivation.

  1. Somewhere Over The Rainbow

DreamJust how close are you to this goal?  If only you knew what an impact would be for one more training session, one more lesson and just one more late night working on your passion. What if just a little more time would get you over this negativity hump?

Are you going to give up or recalculate your journey to your dream destination?

I’m hoping that reading through these eight thought-provoking paragraphs will help you see that attaining your goal is about adjusting your performances; tweaking the specifics of the goal; giving yourself a break when the curve ball hits and keeping that golden shred of hope alive.

Maybe take a different approach or enlist new help, perhaps scale back your time commitment. If you still have a spark in your soul and hope in your heart, dust yourself down, pick yourself up and just keep going.  Go find your passion.

Me?  I’ve just had the best news on a struggle I have been ‘fighting’ for 17 years.  I’ve decided to put all that extra time I have into my dream and living my life the way mum wanted me to.  Happy, calm and fulfilled.

Best wishes as always,

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

6 Responses

  1. Hi Patricia, very, very sound advice. I am now in my non weight bearing period (again) since my op. on 6th March. Next specialist visit – 27th April. I am not enjoying the down time but Ollie looks as though he is enjoying time out – I can watch him out of my kitchen window. We are of course going into winter so perhaps this is a good time for non riding goals. But, I shall definitely be back in the saddle as soon as possible – I am aiming for August. Enjoy your extra time and your summer riding xxx

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