Goal Setting With Jeni Ball

The New Year has just got underway and a lot of riders are looking to the competition schedule and planning the year ahead.

But what happens if your goal seems unachievable and you are having doubts about how you are going to get there?

I get asked about goal setting a lot and it is an important part of my courses, so I want to share some tips with you so that you can achieve your goals and dreams.

• Write your goal down on a piece of paper and put a place (if you know) and a time limit on, for when you want to have achieved it by.
• Make sure your goal is positive. It needs to be something you WANT to do. A lot of people tell me things they don’t want i.e. I don’t want a pole down, I don’t want a refusal, I don’t want my horse to spook when I hack. So make sure when you write it down it starts with ‘I want to’.
• Make sure your goal is self achievable. This means that you don’t have to rely on one person to be there all the time to help you achieve the goal. We all need our ‘team’ around us, but if someone drives your lorry for you, for example, they may not want to go out to more training or events and this could put a spanner in the works. Make sure you have alternative plans in place should this happen.
• Ask yourself why you want this goal and make sure it’s worthwhile. Make sure you are doing it because YOU want it, not because you think you should or someone else thinks you should. This should be a burning desire for you and something that you love.
• Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of this goal and of the journey you will take to get there. When you list the disadvantages, it gives you chance to think of things that might not go to plan and enables you to put plans in place so that you don’t get discouraged along the way.
• What evidence will you have when you achieve your goal? This needs to be more than a feeling. So if you want to be more confident, then how will you know? Will you move up a class, jump higher fences, hack out alone etc.
• The final thing for today is to make your plan backwards. Start with your goal and then plan backwards in months and then weeks as you get nearer to the present day. Put everything in your plan, farrier, training, hiring venues, holidays, work, competitions and entry dates, money, tack, fitness work etc

Another tip is to write your goal down on a sticky note and put it somewhere where you will see it at least once a day. When you look at this sticky note, visualise yourself achieving the goal, really live that moment, use all your senses. This is what will keep you going when the plan goes off track and things get difficult.

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