Setting goals for 2021
First things first, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I hope everyone has had a lovely, if not a bit weird Christmas!
It's that time again, as cringey as it may be, where we all look towards the new year and start setting goals for the months to come.
But I think half the trouble with setting a new years resolution, is that we hardly give ourselves half a change of achieving it?
We set these drastic goals with ridiculously high expectations, then wonder why we cant stick to it?!
Apparently, 80% of people, have declared their new years resolution a failure by the middle of February....
I am definitely one of the 8/10 people that sets this sort of trap for myself, and being bitterly disappointed when things don't go according to plan.
And I doubt this year will be any different!
But to give myself a bit of a chance this year, I've decided to set a few smaller goals along the way, with one big goal as the ultimate achievement should everything else goes to plan!!
Thus, avoiding the disappointment of failure!!
Like my thinking?!
I'd say the main thing I learnt from the absolute shit show that was 2020, is to be flexible!!
Things don't always go to plan and there is no point in stressing about something you have no control over. Instead you have to adapt your plans, and give yourself something different to aim for.
I don't know about you,
but I'm a nightmare if I have nothing going on and nothing to work towards?
I need structure.
This is why I love the concept of SMART goals.
What are SMART goals?!
The theory behind SMART goals is to make sure that your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
This way, your more likely to stay motivated and give yourself half a chance of achieving them!
So instead of saying - 'I want to get fitter'
You could say - 'I want to get fitter and run a half marathon by July this year.'
This is a very SPECIFIC goal because you are saying how your planning on getting fitter, it is MEASURABLE because you can enter a half marathon and complete it. It is ACHIEVABLE because it is in a realistic time frame (and your horsey so your kind of fit anyway!) It is RELEVANT because you wanted to get fit. and it is TIME BASED because you have set a deadline for achieving it.
Then from there, you can work backwards from this goal and set smaller goals to help you achieve this, eg. your going to start by jogging a mile, twice a week in January, then build it up to 2 miles in Feb, and so on.
But be prepared to alter your plans if needed, if you twist your ankle and cant run one day, you can change the day, or miss the week to allow yourself to properly heal before dropping down a distance for a week to build your strength back up.
So with this in mind...
My SMART goal for 2021
In an ideal world, my goal for 2021 is to jump Isla in a 5 year olds class (or equivalent) by the end of the year.
OK so look,
I'm not one for taking my own advice!
This is a bit of a big ask assuming we have done only one 80cm show so far...
Not to mention, who knows when shows will start again...
Why not push yourself?!
I know what this entails, I have done plenty of age classes in the past so I know what I will need to work on and how Isla will need to be going, both rideability wise and confidence wise.
And I am prepared to alter this goal if I need to.
How can I make this a SMART goal?
SPECIFIC - The class I would like to aim for is the NEXGEN young horse class. It is smaller then most 5year old classes so would be a bit more achievable in the time frame. However you do have to qualify for this by jumping 2 Newcomers clears. So I could break this down to jumping 1.10m classes by summer and if I get the clears to qualify then great, if I don't I don't. (OK that does seem mad actually.... but never mind!!) If this isn't achievable I will aim for jumping Newcomers by the end of the year! See how flexible I am?!?! (Definitely not just realising that having this all in writing is probably a huge mistake!)
MEASURABLE - Well I'll either jump the class or I won't! So that's that.
ACHIEVABLE - I mean..... it's doable.... if everything goes to plan. However, one thing I refuse to do is rush my horse, so that will be at the forefront of my mind the whole time. I am very lucky that, to date, Isla has been very bold and quick to learn with jumping, but the last thing I would want to do is over-face her, and me for that matter (I'm so rusty it hurts!) But as mentioned, this goal isn't set in stone for me, I will have plenty of smaller goals along the way that I will achieve so I won't be too upset if we don't do this.
RELEVANT - Ultimately, all I want to be able to do is to produce my horse for show jumping to the best of my ability, so this is a relevant goal for what I want to do in the long run.
TIME-BASED - Yep.... very much so! The NEXGEN finals are in September, otherwise I have until the end of the year to jump Newcomers.
Working backwards to set smaller goals
In an ideal world, to give myself half a change of getting the clears, I would need to be jumping Newcomers by June-July. Therefore I would like to start jumping British Novice by March IF shows are back on by then...
In the meantime, I can work towards this at home and hopefully do some course-hires in the near future IF COVID allows.
Looking at my March goal of jumping round a British Novice, the things I will need to work on are -
1) My confidence! (I'm a wimp these days!)
2) Related distances (her stride is huge so we find these very short!)
3) The canter (Isla is weaker on the right rein.)
Breaking these down further...
1) My Confidence - Practice, practice practice! Also start having lessons again more regularly to help me get my eye in again,
2) Related distances - Canter poles exercises and gridwork. I need to try and do one pole-work session and one jumping session a week to try and work on the distances, this will also come with her becoming more balanced in the canter, which leads to
3) The canter - I'm going to try and have more flatwork lessons too to build up Isla's strength and improve canter lead changes. I'm also going to try and work on my own strength and fitness so that I am not hindering her in any way. I have an old injury that has caused me to be unlevel. Which is probably why she is finding the left rein easier, so I am going to keep up with my regular sports massage (When its allowed again) and maybe look into seeing a chiropractor too, and start working out again.
Now that I know what I want to achieve in the next couple of months, I'm going to plan an exercise routine to ensure that I am getting enough training in and still give Isla rest days and plenty of hacking to keep her happy.
OK look, I'm useless at taking my own advice, so the first few sentences of this blog are completely irrelevant by this point!
But I always want this blog to be completely 'unfiltered' and true to who I am, and this is me! If that means making a rod for my own back by documenting my goals in these ramblings and living to regret it later, so be it!
If nothing else...
Other then now having to hold myself VERY accountable...
This has massively helped my mindset.
I've been feeling a bit deflated recently (2020 and all that!) so writing this down has given me something to work towards again and has given me a bit of motivation.
So maybe if your feeling a bit deflated too give this a go?!
I hope that in some way, reading how I've gone about setting my own equestrian goals for 2021 and how I've broken it down to set smaller, SMART goals for throughout the year has given you some ideas of your own.
Let me know what your goals for 2021 are?
They definitely don't need to be as big and unrealistic as mine!
Whether you have something in your flatwork that you want to improve on, or if you want to aim to do something fun like go on a beach ride or sponsored ride, or if you just want to work on yourself, there is no such thing as a stupid goal.
Plus its yours.
So it really doesn't matter how big or small your goals are, never shy away from setting them, especially in times like this when it's the little things that keep us going!