How I view goal setting and New Years Resolutions.

What New Years Resolution do you wish your horse would make?

I wish my horses set these goals…especially the ‘poop pillow’ one…

Happy New Year!

Is it possible to write a blog post on New Years day and NOT write about New Years Resolutions? I contemplated another topic (maybe tomorrows blog?) but I kept coming back to resolutions.

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I do. Do I keep the all…forever? No. Do I feel guilty about that? Nope.

Maybe my view will make more sense if I explain that I view life as changing seasons. Not super creative thinking as many people throughout the ages have used this phrase but in practice I do think that it makes a big difference.

A goal that I set in January may need to be adjusted by June. But then again maybe that depends on how you set your goals.

A quick internet search showed me that these are the ‘most popular’ goals this year.

Stay fit and healthy 37%
Lose weight 32%
Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
Spend less, save more 25%
Spend more time with family and friends 19%

Reading the list, they all sound great but in my opinion a bit vague. Vague may make it easier to set but will often make execution more difficult. For example ‘Enjoy life to the fullest’ is a great goal…but what will you do in the next three months to achieve this? Can you measure it? To make it measurable I would break it down into steps; go to coffee with a friend twice a month, go indoor sky diving once before June, and trail ride at least once per week. These are actual steps that I can measure to know how successfully I am moving toward my big goal of ‘Enjoy life to the fullest’.

The first flaw that I see with my own list would be the ‘trail ride once per week’ because right now the weather in my area just won’t allow this. So I have a choice. Set the big goal and then break it into pieces that I can manage for the next few months or set goals that sound good but I can’t execute all the time. Nothing is wrong with either, the key is knowing what really motivates you.

I prefer to set goals that are big and vague like ‘Enjoy life the the fullest’ and then set small goals that I can execute for the next three months to reach the bigger goal. I’m usually juggling several big vague goals at a time like, “Stay fit and healthy” “Enjoy life to the fullest’ ‘Spend less, save more’ and ‘spend more time with family and friends’ but they all CAN’T have priority at the same time. That’s right…I believe I cannot have it all. Right. Now.

Instead I focus on ‘seasons’ in my life. My self prescribed ‘seasons’ happen to line up pretty well with the seasons of the year. January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Inside of each of these I am doing something to move me toward my bigger goals but some areas will receive more and others will receive less. I’ve usually given my horses some down time after the end of fall riding and the show season and I start becoming more focused with my riding goals in January. This happens to fit together perfectly with the goal of ‘Stay fit and healthy’…which was NOT my focus from Thanksgiving to Christmas. That was ‘Spend time with Family and Friends (and eat whatever I want).”

I know this blog has seemed more about life and less about horses than most do…but it all fits together. I find that people often feel guilty if they change their riding habits during the holidays or if they set goals now but don’t keep them all year. I would encourage you to figure out your big goals but also your smaller, more measurable ‘seasonal’ goals. These are the goals that can take you wherever you decide you want to go.

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  1. Shelly on January 2, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Enjoyed this a great deal…thanks!

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