When Something is Important in Your Life, you will find a way and Commit to it

When last have you "dug in your own back yard?"

Here is my number one ingredient for your success. Don't dig in someone else's back yard. For things in your life to change you must change.

We are often prone to blaming others for our own problems. This goes back to always having that tendency to take the course of least resistance. Keep looking in your own back yard. It is perhaps one of the most powerful bits of advice I can give anyone.

This time of year, many people have either already given up on goals that they set in December, or are getting frustrated enough to drop them any day now.  We get overzealous with a goal, without making a proper plan in order to see it through to the end.

I’ll share a bit of my recent journey with Guinness.  After a frustrating summer of NOT getting out on the trail like I had set a goal to do, things with our training seemed to grind down to a halt.  Now, because I am committed fully to his and my training, I didn’t quit, but I did take some time to step back and take a new look at the bigger picture.  When I did that, I found there were several factors that were blocking my ability to move forward, and they were all created by yours truly!

First, I had set a goal to be trail riding outside, and when that wasn’t happening I let my frustration take over my energy that I could have been applying to options for a solution.

Second, I had plenty of peer pressure pushing me to “just do it” even though I knew in my gut that it could easily end with both my horse and myself getting hurt both physically and emotionally (yes, I get pressured too!).

Third, I had my own self judgment driving my need to get out on the trail, so much so that I was blind to the progress that I was making, which was a shame because my horse was clearly sharing with me his needs that I was ignoring because of my own agenda.

So my blame was focused around my circumstances, my horse, and my abilities…may the pity party begin!  Staying in this kind of energy doesn’t help anyone move forward, and in fact it often moves you backward.  For instance, if you were confidence before, by staying in this energy, I  have often watched previously confident people become unconfident.

So I started to dig in my own back yard, and boy, did I find some amazing treasure!

My first treasure was reaffirming my “why”.  Why had I embarked on purchasing a coming 3 year old to train and journey with?  My “why”, my treasure is that I want to learn a new skill; that is to bring a young horse into training and then finish them over time.  I wanted to ensure that the horse had the right start, and stay light and sensitive without ever having the “try” taken out of them.  When I realized this, it became so clear that our year last year was very fragmented because of several factors; I was learning the Connected Riding philosophy and then applying it with a green horse.  I was also very critical of my abilities and set unrealistic expectations based on the support that I had.  Sound familiar?

Second, with my “why” reaffirmed and clear, it was easy to see how my own self judgment had beaten me to a pulp.  The peer pressure that I was feeling was more self inflicted than delivered by the people that I thought were delivering it.  It wasn’t until my farrier and I were having a conversation one day and he said “take you time with all this; you want a solid foundation which takes time, and then you have the rest of your life and his to finish him”.  So taming my Gremlin was the next step to helping moving my progress forward.

Third, I found the support that I needed in an instructor that understood the Connected Riding principles and that could help me both with my own learning as well as my horsemanship with my horse.  I now had a plan, and an understanding of what my realistic expectations should be (as well as the expectations that I should have from a young horse) from both my greenie horse, as well as my ability to train and be trained.

But it all started by a commitment, one that cannot be questioned no matter how hard it gets.  That commitment is supported by a strong “why”, which without that even a strong commitment can be challenged.

So if you’re finding yourself challenged with a goal or resolution that you have set, or a commitment that you have made, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you made a real commitment, or is it just a weak decision?
  • Is your commitment backed with a solid “why”?
  • Have you set realistic expectations for you and your horse?
  • Is your gremlin properly tamed?
  • Do you have a solid support system that understands how you can be best supported?
  • What is your plan (and yours ability to change your plan based on circumstances)?

If this all sounds like a lot to think about, take it one step at a time, and read on to our next piece, short term goals vs long term goals so that you can be motivated to move forward, instead of paralyzed by perfection!

Til' next time, never give up, and keep digging!