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Starting the year as you mean to go on!

New year, new me! Says everyone, every year and never actually achieve it! It is said that only 8% of people actually stick to their new years resolutions, and the same can be said for those setting goals for the year ahead.

Have you ever said that 'this is my year' or 'I'm going to be better this year'?

The question is how!? How are we going to achieve these things?

Well the truth boils down to constancy, the little things that we do well week in, week out, are the habits and routines that allow us to achieve the big things!

So whether you want to go to the nationals, move up a level at home or hack down the road on your own, the most important thing that we can do at this time of year is ask ourselves 'are we implementing small foundation steps, to help us build the house?'', meaning are you doing the little things that add up to the bigger picture?

Here are my top 5 tips for staying consistent to be able to do what you said you were going to:

1) If you are looking to do something out of your comfort zone this year, why not start stretching it by a tiny amount now? You may not want to actually achieve this goal yet, and it may not be realistic to do so yet either, however what can you start doing now to start making that thing seem a little closer? E.g I want to move up to elementary this year - do you know what movements are required? Could you spend this month finding out what they are and reading few tests to see what skills you might need to start developing.

'I want to be able to hack down the lane by myself' - Again start small, start by walking it without your horse to acclimatise yourself to the area, then maybe work up to doing it with a friend walking beside you on foot once a week, after a schooling session.

Do these consistently once a week if you can to make it the norm, but also be flexible in how and when you can do it, - you can't fail if you don't give up!

2) If you are looking to try something new in your horses routine, or add more of it in e.g hacking or polework, work out a weekly training plan, what day's suit you best? Are there any days where you wont be rushing, can these be allocated hacking days, or the days that you get the poles out? Maybe see if there is a friend that might want to add this in to their routine too and you could help each other with the poles. Have a list of the things you want to achieve each week e.g x2 hack, x2 school, x1 jump and cross them off as you go. Remember small changes can make big differences, so start with only changing 1 thing in your current routine.

3) Make sure you make it easily accessible! If you get stressed getting ready for shows, or travelling to lessons, could you have an allocated training/competing box which is full of clean gear ready to go, so you can just load up stress free. If you are starting your polework , choose exercises that are easy to set out, 4 or 5 poles is enough to make a start and do a short session.

4)Plan what you will do in your sessions - have a training journal where you can reflect on your session and plan your next one based on what you achieved today. Not only does this give you a prompt to remember your plan, it also allows you to reflect! Science says we are more likely to stick to something if we feel successful rather that just repeating it over and over.

5)I have said it earlier and I will say it again - start small!! Don't punish yourself for not doing enough, know that you are building the house but in a way that it will stay up! If you give yourself too many things to do you will only feel like you are failing, lets set you up for success - what 2 things could you implement for a month? Ride twice a week every week? Do one pole work session a week? Make sure your canter in every session? Find 2 positives from every session? Leave your dressage saddle by the door so you can't just opt for a hack or jump instead!

These all seem tiny, but these actions can help set you up for success in the long run!

So 2021 may be off to an odd start but what CAN you do this week to help the overall goal?

It might be small but the impact may well be mighty!!

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