The start of a new year is the ideal time to step back and look at your goals and plans for the year and to map out what you need to do to achieve them. Whether you’re reading this in January or June however, there is always benefit in taking time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and hope to accomplish.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when doing so and a few things to consider when setting your riding, training, and competition goals for 2020.
1. Reflect on the past year.
Look back on the past 12 months. What worked? What did you accomplish that you are proud of? What didn’t work? What do you feel needs the most improvement? What did you learn? Draw from your answers as you begin to make your plan for the year ahead.
2. Make S.M.A.R.T. goals.
One great way to avoid 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.” Here are some examples of what that looks like:
– Specific – Focus on making your goals precise. For instance, a goal such as “improve my riding” is rather ambiguous and could be made more precise, such as “improve my scores in the equitation ring.”
– Measurable – Goals like approving scores, completing a competition, jumping a new height, or finishing all of your cross-county rides within the optimum time are all examples of measurable goals.
– Attainable and Realistic – These two go hand-in-hand. If you were competing in the 0.80m Jumpers last year, the 1.40m may not be an attainable or realistic goal for you or your horse. Understand you and your horse’s capabilities and avoid setting yourself up to fail.
– Timeline-able – Put a time frame on your goals. With horses things are often bound to change, so give yourself the flexibility to adjust your timeline if needed, but try to keep your eyes on a goal date.
3. Set short-term goals that lead to the long-term goal.
In order to not get overwhelmed and to have a realistic chance at achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish, break down your large goals into smaller steps and map out an action plan to make the big goals happen. Short-term goals can even take as short as a day to complete, such as “confidently jump a 3’6” course at home.”
4. 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.
5. Take advantage of available, value resources and those around you.
Planning out your competition year and your horse show goals? Check out Jumpfax. Striving to achieve your barn management organization in 2020? 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.
6. 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 2020 the best year yet!