There was a bit of a black cloud over my head by the end of last year. It was just one of those years, where nothing really worked out the way I’d planned, much less hoped, and to top it all off a bunch of my closest friends had funk-inducing years, so we were all collectively a bit mopey.
I found myself chatting with a friend who’s also, conveniently, a sports psychologist. She asked me what my goals were for the year, and I told her. The list was short, and pretty nonspecific, both of which she noticed. And then she asked if I’d written them down. I told her that I hadn’t, which I hadn’t really thought about. I used to write my goals down. I used to make them specific, too. Why did I stop?
Because I’d failed to reach virtually every single one.
She reminded me that, scientifically speaking, I was being stupid. (No, not really. She was nicer than that.) Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Maybe it’s because by doing so, it makes them feel concrete, set in stone. Maybe it’s that thinking about what you want to do makes it feel like you can, makes it feel real and tangible and achievable. Or maybe it just makes us also think about how we’re going to achieve them.
So I did it. I wrote ‘em down, by hand, on paper. (Studies show that there’s a greater correlation between writing goals down on paper with success than with typing them. Whatever.)
But that study I read showed that one is even more likely to achieve one’s goals when one shares them with a friend. So here, my friends, are my goals for 2014, ranging from the almost-achieved-already to the totally pie-in-the-sky.
1. Qualify Fender for the DH championships. (And right off the bat, I’ve already maybe-modified this plan. The Developing Horse Championships for 7- to 9-year-olds at Prix St. Georges are a fabulous championship, one that I’d love to ride in, with a horse who is really proficient and not one that is relying on me to help him out. At this point in the year, Fender is cheerfully going about the Prix St. Georges, but he still needs a lot of help from me. I’ll show him when he doesn’t need me to carry him through his weaknesses, and I’m starting to think that that may not be in time for the qualifying season. And this is OK. I am reserving the right to modify that goal to…)
1a. Qualify Fender for the USDF National Championships at Prix St. Georges.
2. Ride Fender to 70 percent or higher at PSG from an FEI starred judge.
3. Put clean changes on Fiero. (He did two today, though admittedly without me asking – I’ll take ‘em)
4. Have Johnny ready for the 5-Year-Old tests before leaving Florida, and for Second Level before the end of the year. (Notice I say “have ready,” not “show” – I just want him to be rideable at that level of work. Getting around an actual test is optional, because a) I’m not convinced I need to show him at either of those levels; I don’t really care about them, and b) NOT showing keeps those show entry fees in my pocket to become lesson fees, a much better use of my time.)
5. Ride Farrah at a show, and then sell her. (Here’s the pie-in-the-sky part. I talked to Jenny about this – should I write down the ones I have no control over? I can’t really control whether I sell her or not. She said yep, write it down. And so I do.)
6. Sell Ella, and go get the next one (or two or three).
7. Sell at least half the Goya shares. (Anyone see a trend here?)
8. Get my youth riders to a competent showing at NAJYRC. (I have a super young rider and two fabulous juniors who will all make swell additions to the Region 1 team.)
9. Get my Pony riders to [U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, N.J.]. (Two more wonderful young women are gearing up for the Pony Championships there.)
10. Do an open water sprint triathlon. (Both of my tris last year were pool swims. This year, I’m hitting the open water. First one’s in June!)
11. Run two more 10Ks. (My first one was too much fun, but I ran conservatively. I want to see what I can do when I turn up the speed.)
12. Run 10 miles. (Forward momentum on this one – I’ve entered a 10-mile race in April. Heaven help me.)
13. Bike 30 miles. (I have the crazy idea of doing an Olympic distance triathlon next year. Emphasis on CRAZY. If I can do all this running and swimming, then the last question is the bike, and so that’s the goal for the year.)
And there they are. Less scary in print, honestly, though that 10-mile-run and that 30-mile-bike do give me the heebie-jeebies still. Let’s see if publishing them out unto the world helps them manifest!