Five Tips for Achieving Your Equestrian Goals in 2019
It’s about to be that time of year again: that time where we suddenly go from consuming approximately a dozen cookies a day and possibly one too many glasses of wine to vowing that we’re only eating kale salads and drinking green juice for the whole next week. And also, we’re giving up the sleeping in and instead starting all of our days at 5 a.m. And we’re not buying Starbucks every day or any more pairs of breeches because 2019 is going to be the year we start really saving lots of money.
Maybe that’s not quite accurate for you, but we can bet that you’ve been there too—looking back over what you did or didn’t accomplish in the past year and swearing that you’re going to do things differently in the year ahead!
If you feel like you’ve been saying, “Now THIS year is really going to be my year,” every year since 2002 and nothing has changed – or even if you feel like 2018 was a really great year, and you’re on exactly the track that you want to be on – we have a few tips that could help you accomplish your goals in the year ahead and make 2019 one of your best years yet!
1. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
It’s said that “if your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough,” and we agree that it’s important to set big goals and to have high aspirations. However, you also want them to be realistic and attainable so that you don’t get discouraged on your way to achieving your goals and dreams!
One great tip for avoiding that sort of defeat on the way to accomplishing your goals is to make them “S.M.A.R.T.” or “specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timeline-able.”
If you’ve been competing in the 0.80m jumpers, odds are that it is not realistic or attainable to make your goal competing on the same horse in the 1.40m in 2019. Instead, your S.M.A.R.T. goal may be something like: “Move up to the 1.10m on Sherlock by the end of the Vermont Summer Festival.” This gives you a very clear objective and a timeframe to aim toward.
2. Develop an action plan by breaking your large goal down to smaller steps.
Suppose your 2019 goal is to qualify your amateur-owner hunter for indoors or maybe it’s to lose 20 pounds in the process of improving your riding fitness and performance. Depending on where you are currently, either of those could seem pretty daunting.
In order to not get overwhelmed and to have a realistic chance at achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish, break down those large goals into smaller steps and map out an action plan to make the big goals happen.
For instance, qualifying for indoors goal could get broken down to a large number of baby steps, starting with a weekly goal such as: “Aim to ride three to four times a week so that I’m in better riding shape and ready for the show ring.” Then you can set goals of which shows you are aiming for and an action plan of how many shows you can realistically attend and how many may be needed to achieve your qualifying points.
For the weight loss and fitness goal, maybe you start somewhere such as: “Do physical activity outside of the saddle three times a week,” – a smaller, attainable step that will ultimately point you in the right direction of your larger, overarching objective.
3. Record your progress.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have ups and downs throughout the year on the road to your goals, no matter what they may be. When you hit a low, it can be encouraging to look back at where you started! Track or journal your activity, such as your workouts or rides, that relates toward your goals. There are a number of goal-tracking journals, worksheets, and applications, specifically designed for this purpose. For equestrian goals and riding and competition journaling, check out View Halloo!
4. Take advantage of available, value resources and those around you.
That brings us to the next point: use your resources and the tools available to you! Planning out your competition year and your horse show goals? Check out Jumpfax. Striving to achieve your barn management organization in 2019? We might have an idea of an extremely helpful tool for you! (Hint: It’s BarnManager! ;)) For more specific ways that BarnManager can help you achieve your equestrian goals, be sure to check out this list we compiled!
No matter what your goal may be, there is likely to be a tool available aimed at helping you achieve it. In that same vein, there are likely going to be people who want to see you succeed! Connect with others who can hold you accountable, have similar goals, or can help mentor you or steer you in the right direction.
5. Celebrate your successes!
As you achieve even the baby steps along the way toward your big goal, take a moment to recognize your progress and celebrate the fact that you’re making headway – even if it feels like you have quite a way to go! Recognizing your accomplishments, no matter how big or small, can go a long way in building your confidence and commitment toward achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish!
Good luck as you go after your goals this year! Let’s make 2019 the best year yet!