Have You Used Up All Your Excuses?

If you feel like you’ve used up all your excuses NOT to ride, don’t feel alone, you’re not.  Well seasoned horse women, professionals, pleasure seekers, are ALL in a similar boat, most for different reasons.  But the end result is the same; you’re not doing with your horse what you fully want to be doing.

Do you remember that wonderful feeling that you had the last time you had that perfect day with your horse?  The weather was great, your horse for forward but not too forward, you felt excited and at ease, and after your ride was done, you felt like you were full of life, like you were at the top of the world.

THAT, my friend, is what you may be seeking again and it’s there for you, you may just have to do some additional work to get there.

For many of us, it may have been a traumatic event that sparked the spiral downward.  It could be a life change or transition where you now have children, or you’re just getting older and realize that you don’t bounce as well as you used to so now you take life with a little more caution.  For many of us, it’s the all too common “What If” fears that are so easy to manifest in your mind, and seem so challenging to replace with the more positive and productive thoughts you used to have.  No matter what the cause, the result is that you’re layering one excuse on another, and you may not even realize you’re doing it.

One of the interesting things about excuses is that you are letting the past predict the future.  Let’s go back to “What If” thinking.  What if that semi veers into my lane?  What if I loose my job and can’t support myself?  What if a tornado takes my house away?  What do you do when those thoughts cross your mind?  For many of us, it’s more of a fleeting What If, and we don’t give them much real estate, but for other things that What If sticks with us, and in the horse world it can manifest and result in a loss of our precious dream of being with our horses.  For those stronger What If thoughts, that’s where the excuses come in as a “safe guard” to buy us time to truly make a decision to either commit to making a change, or to abandon the activity all together.

Think about what you do when faced with a What If fear in your life that doesn’t take a strong hold, what do you do to move forward, or more simply put, move on with your day and allow it to go out of your mind?  You can use the same process to lessen or eliminate a stronger What If fear, it just may take a bit more doing.  But first, no more excuses.

Going back to how the past may be predicting your future.  You may have had an incident that formed the excuse, and the incident was real, no denying that.  That incident has now shaped your life in the past, and it’s up to you to decide whether you want to stay in the past or move forward to a future that’s not influenced by that past incident.  If you believe that the same thing that happened to you in the past will happen again in the future, it takes away any sense of personal responsibility, accountability or power.  Excuses also give you the permission to ignore your own values, beliefs, and commitments, thereby setting aside any sense of personal integrity.

Excuses excuse you from fulfilling your potential.  Don’t dream, don’t try to take charge, don’t try to do anything.  You might get hurt, you might be disappointed.  Getting back on the horse after an incident is not always the smartest thing to do and sometimes it’s not even possible.  But if your passion outweighs your resistance to change, then it IS time to get back on your horse, but do it in a way that honors your needs, and truly teaches you a new way to gain confidence not only with your horse but also in other areas of your life.  Because isn’t it always the way, that we get the life lessons from our horses not necessarily when and how we want them, but always when we need them.  And they extend out far greater than the pasture, arena or show ring.

If you’ve read this far, then maybe you’re really ready to change, to let go of the excuses that are limiting you.  The first thing to shift is the biggest, and that is to make a rock solid COMMITMENT to make a change.  This means no matter how long it takes, no matter how many resources it takes, you commit to change.  Next, understanding WHY you want to make this change.  What’s in it for you?  How does it fuel your passion?  Once you have a clear WHY, use your vision and desire to think about WHAT.  WHAT is it that you truly want to change?  Be very clear about this, because what you want to change might be very different from what your goals were in the past.  And please, don’t think of these as goals; your WHAT may be the process that you use to make the change.  For instance, if you’ve been more impulsive in nature in the past, it may behoove you to take a bit more time to reflect and think about how you move forward with this journey so experience this change very differently than in the past.  You’ll need strategy that is congruent with how you are wired, then you can move to HOW.  How are you going to make the change you’re looking to make, how do you really rid yourself of thinking that doesn’t serve you, of the excuses that are holding you back.  Your HOW will include your plan, so this process will be different than what you’ve done in the past.

Most of us start with HOW, and that’s where we end, because when things get tough (and they will), we abandon our quest because it’s much easier to make an excuse.    We won’t have the proper vision, desire, or strategy to be able to complete our quest. 

So drop the excuses, have your persistence and implementation in alignment, and you’ll hit your target!