January is the season of resolutions and the time most people dedicate to setting goals for the year ahead, but whether it’s the start of the year or not, dedicating time to mapping out your goals is the most effective way to achieve your expectations. For equestrians, goals could range anywhere from aiming for specific placings at shows, nailing a new movement in the saddle, successfully rehabbing your horse, or finding a more efficient way to care for your horses and clients.
Why Set Goals?
We all have big dreams, but without a clear roadmap, it may be hard to find the best way to reach those dreams. Goal setting is a tool for self-motivation and gives meaning to our actions. By setting goals, we are able to gain perspective and track progress rather than aimlessly meandering toward what we want.
Imagine it this way, you’re trailering your horse from your barn in California to Wellington for the winter season. If you don’t have a GPS system or map and have never made the drive before, you can only vaguely guess the correct direction to begin driving in order to get to Florida. Odds are good you’re going to get lost a few times, maybe head in the completely wrong direction, and end up with a significantly longer drive than you would have if you had mapped out the route ahead of time. This is similar to why top achievers set goals. They are looking to create a map of the most efficient route to get from their current point to the area in which they want to succeed.
While asking yourself what you want to achieve, it’s also important to understand the limits of what you’re willing to take on in the pursuit of that achievement. With enough time and hard work many small goals can accumulate to achieve a large goal, however, that’s only part of the equation. There are a lot of people who dream of riding in the Olympics, but not as many who are willing to take on the demands of training, along with the financial burdens, to get there. Goal setting should be about both the things you want to achieve and the cost (financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally) you’re willing to pay to achieve them.
Making a Plan
When you sit down to map out your goals, it can be helpful to give yourself a few minutes to write out every goal that crosses your mind. Once you’ve compiled that list, reduce it down to a handful of short and long-term options. Psychologists have a concept referred to as “goal competition” that explains that each goal you have obstructs the accomplishment of the other goals that are ongoing at the same time. This is why limiting your goals or stacking smaller goals to achieve a larger one is so important.
Consider these principles when building out your goals:
Make goals specific and comprehensive
Determine the degree of difficulty and if it is realistically within your abilities
Understand the level of commitment required
Establish an understanding of feedback and where positive recognition could help with motivation as things get more challenging
Once you have your core goals established, create a timeline of the steps needed for achievement. Many people find working backward from the accomplishment to smaller actions that can be taken monthly, weekly, or even daily, can help to make a goal more attainable. It’s the systems that you create in the pursuit of your goals that mean the difference between achieving them and getting lost along the way.
So now you have a few goals outlined, you’ve created some timelines to break your objective into small actionable steps that you can do every day or week, and you’re ready to begin. How do you know if you’re meeting key milestones? It’s all in measuring your progress! Measuring progress isn’t about succeeding or failing, it’s a tool to help keep you motivated and allow you to see what in your plan is working, and what isn’t. If you find that you’re falling behind, simply adjust your expectations or your timeline.
Tips for Setting and Reaching Goals
Research has proven that people who go the step further to break down their goals into small, actionable items are more likely to achieve them.
Effective goals should be based on your values, as the more tied to your core beliefs a goal is the more likely you are to achieve it.
Goals should be realistic and often require a reality check at their creation.
Use habit stacking to ensure you are checking off your to-do items daily. This means adding one of your goal items to a habit you already do daily.
Building the habit of showing up is critical at the start of every goal.
Create systems that allow you to pursue your goal.
Using StableSecretary to Achieve More
One of the key takeaways of most goal-setting research is the importance of creating systems that simplify the approach of achievement. StableSecretary aims to be one of those systems for equestrians around the globe by providing a comprehensive tool that influences every aspect of the equine management space.
Our scheduling features provide users with a location to break down goals into manageable tasks and view timelines to ensure they are reaching each milestone as needed.
The horse health records section not only helps users to track goals related to the health and well-being of their horse but also provides a place to keep notes on how actions taken towards your riding goals may be impacting your horse as well. If you’re hoping to build a stronger equine athlete, rehab your horse, or simply keep better tabs on his well-being, StableSecretary has you covered!
For those horse owners and farm managers who are sick of losing Coggins or being late to lessons, StableSecreatary has an abundance of features to meet your needs. With everything from invoicing to shared record-keeping, you can be sure StableSecretary will help you achieve your goal of managing your barn efficiently – anytime, anywhere.
Stable Secretary makes barn management easier. 30 Day Free Trial