So lately I’ve been mentioning goals. That I have them, that at times they seem completely insurmountable, and that they are the driving force of everything I try to pursue. But since spring I noticed that I haven’t exactly been setting myself up for a huge amount of success with them.
The amount of pressure I’ve been exerting on myself has been detrimental to any sort of success that came my way. So I forced myself to take a step back and evaluate exactly how I’ve been approaching my situation. I found that that instead of hyper focusing on everything I should only focus on the things I can control.
The number one thing I can control is how hard I work. And then I’m left with only one question to ask myself before I go to bed, did I get better?
So everyday like an incessant drum rhythm my mind chants at me: Work hard, work hard, work hard, and the mantra continues throughout the day. Reminding me that if I can do this one thing, commit myself to this one value, that I will get were I want to go and that I won’t wonder if there was something else I could have done.
Measuring the “getting better” part is where it can get a bit tangled. There are days that I think that I haven’t made any progress and when that happens I put our training sessions under a microscope. I find that one or even two moments of the hour that were even a degree better than normal and hold onto them knowing that some sort of progress was made.
Work hard. Get better.
It can’t get much simpler than that.
This change in my approach has made me more aware of my training process, and pushed me to consider things in a more positive light.
This much was obvious while Achates and I were working on his canter today. It wasn’t fun work, his canter has an odd downward cyclonic motion to it and at most times not exactly balanced, but instead of concentrating on that I shifted my focus to the couple of great strides we did get. Were they better than before? Yes, and that in my book is a complete success. Especially when I think of how he used to plummet into the gait like an Olympic diver before.
His trot today was fantastic. There were moments when he reverted back to his “fake” frame but he was more than willing to make the change when I asked him through a half-halt or moved him laterally. When he came through it was pure pleasure to ride and I couldn’t have been happier.
I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my riding as much if I hadn’t taken a second to reevaluate the way I was processing my training. So as the chanting of, work hard, work hard, work hard, continues in my head I’ll keep listening, keep going, and keep working until that elusive “better” place is achieved.