Have you ever wondered why other riders around you seem to be reaching their dreams, achieving goals, in the limelight or simply just making progress? Is there something that you don’t know or aren’t doing, despite how much hard work you put in and the effort you make?
I believe there is and it’s as simple as taking a different view on how to get to where you want to be.
We are all the same deep down!
As equestrians we all have our own aspirations, whether that is to simply be able to ride without feeling the consequences, have the confidence go to pleasure rides with friends, being the best rider we can be, to get out and about at shows or compete to the highest level possible. We all have these aspirations.
The mistake we often make is focusing so much on those that make progress and achieve their aspirations and not realising that there are many who had had the same aspirations but didn’t succeed at achieving them.
So if the aspirations are the same for those that succeed and those that fail, it cannot be the aspiration that differentiates them but the way in which they go about achieving them.
Are Aspirations the same as Goals?
When you look at the meaning definitions it isn’t clear cut but breaking the words down can help give you a clear difference:
GOAL: The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
ASPIRATION: A hope or ambition of achieving something.
Similar in that both describe a future state but different in that Goals are objective and measurable such as winning a competition, whereas Aspirations are subjective, unmeasurable and intangible such as an emotion or feeling.
So why should I think about aspirations rather than goals?
A Goal may be to have the confidence to go to A pleasure ride, to go to A show, to win A competition. A specific measurable goal.
Whereas an Aspiration may be to go on many pleasure rides, to regularly attend shows, to win at various competitions. A future state of being.
As a Rider Performance Coach, I speak with so many riders that are so focused on achieving a particular goal (short term) rather than the aspiration (long term) that they do not realise that achieving that one goal will only affect them positively momentarily. After you have achieved your goal, then what? All that hard work that you put in just disappears and you return to how you once were? You start to feel the aches and pains, lose your confidence, stop going to shows or don’t manage to go to the next level?
Imagine your tack room is a mess, you set yourself a goal to tidy it.
If you summon the energy to tidy it, you have a clean tack room – for now. But, if you maintain the same sloppy habits that led to the messy tack room then it will soon be a total mess again. You are left chasing the same outcome because you never changed the system behind it. You treated a symptom without addressing the cause.
Taking a different view
The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone.
If you focus too much on a Goal it can create a “yo-yo” effect, much like dieting. So many riders work hard for months but as soon as they achieve that Goal they stop. There is no longer anything to motivate them. This is why many people find themselves reverting to their old habits after accomplishing reaching their goal
Furthermore, goals create an “either-or” conflict: Either you achieve your goal and are successful, or you fail, and you’re a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness.
True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It’s about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it’s your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.
To reduce aches from riding you must continually work on yourself to condition your body. As soon as you stop, so will your progress.
To improve your confidence you must slowly challenge yourself to do and believe in yourself more. It doesn’t happen overnight.
To win a Championship you must first place high in many outings to be in the position to attend a Championship.
“The difference between success and failure is that those who succeed realise it is not the Goal they must focus on but their Aspiration and to reach it there is a process of learning, refinement and constant implementation of the action, not a single achievement.”
Feel tempted to learn more? How about 5 Easy Steps to Achieving Goals? Click HERE to read my blog and share your opinion with me in the comments!
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