HEALTH; Do something every day that is slightly uncomfortable for your body, or at the very least, out of your normal routine.
True change only comes about when we push ourselves a little further than we would like to, a little further than what is comfortable. This is true for nearly every area of our lives, but in terms of health, wellness and fitness it is especially true.
If we want our bodies to serve us today and long into the future, to have a body that allows us to live the life we choose, we have to bend it, stretch it, push it a little beyond where it wants to be. That is where the growth lies, just beyond the intoxicating ‘comfort zone’!
Now I will be the first to admit that I love the comfort zone. I can hang out there all day, every day, and I have. However now that I’m stepping out of it, and cliché this may be, I’m feeling way more comfortable in my mind and my body. For me the comfort zone is the lazy scared zone, the real comfort lies in taking action to make things better.
When it comes to your body, changing a habit or routine can be enough to get you out of your status quo. What I mean is you don’t have to make your muscles cry to make things better. When we talk about movement, it might just be that you add a couple of moves at your desk each hour, or you brush your teeth with the other hand, or you change which leg you put in your trousers first. Maybe you start sitting on the floor to watch TV and whenever you bend forward you do it from your hips. Whatever you choose, do something each day that challenges the body in a different way, however small.
MINDSET: are negative thoughts ruling your day, and your riding?
This is a big one. I am in no way a mind specialist, but I have been learning a bit about the power of thought. Our thoughts are so incredibly powerful it’s essential we spend some time here to focus in on if we are sabotaging our bodies, health, relationships and our performance on the horse. Emotions and thoughts are normal, but it is what we choose to play on repeat in our minds that makes a massive difference to how we move through the day, and the beauty is? We have the power to choose what we think.
Poor thinking and great thinking are both habits, and we know that we can change habits with attention and commitment.
My mind can be a scary place (!) and if I allow those negative thoughts to go unchecked, I can sit in a state of inaction, confusion and anxiety. Those crappy thoughts we all have? they are fear. Fear is hard to ignore because it drives fast and loud, it turns up first to the party in a really smart car and it dominates the conversation. The trick is to turn the conversation around. Change the loop, be kind to yourself, give yourself permission, talk to yourself like you would council a friend. This is in no way an in depth look at how the mind works, but I do believe we all need to be kinder to ourselves! Try to be aware of where your thoughts go, and when you find yourself trailing off to a place you wouldn’t walk alone at night, change the story.
LEARN: to stop learning is to stop growing and progressing.
Learning is the path to growth, progress and a seat on the happy train. We have evolved to be curious, to learn new things. This is how we survive and we thrive on it. Where can you learn more? Can you attend a seminar, read a new book, ask one of your professionals more questions? Maybe you want to learn a new skill or learn how your body works better so you can correct the areas that need help. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but this year, make a commitment to keep learning.
TEAM: are you surrounded by the right people?
I have spoken about this before, and it is in here because it is important! Your team are crucial to your journey, and even if you think of yourself as truly amateur, you will still have a team around you. The best team is one who has the best interests of you and your horse at the core. They don’t have to have all the answers (nobody does), but they must be willing to learn, investigate, discuss and cooperate. Are there changes you feel you need to make this year? If so, do your homework, talk to people and be discerning about who you want around you.
CLEAR VISION; have you really identified what it is you want to achieve, where you want to be and how you are going to get there?
This is going to be different for everyone, so don’t be swayed by the owner of the horse next to you. Your goal is yours! The key is to have a very clear picture of exactly what it is you want to achieve. Now, I know horses rarely join in with our plans and you will likely have to do some adapting along the way, but having a starting point at least gives you something to work towards. Even if you land a bit short, progress will have been made.
Here’s to your best year yet!