GUEST POST BY KRISTIN YORK
As rodeo season draws to an end, and most of the barrel racing finals have wrapped up, I like to take the time to look back at the goals I had set at the beginning of the year. Being relatively new to the barrel racing scene, I think is it beneficial to approach improving my riding just like you would tackle any new skill you want to learn. So with that in mind, I took advantage of the cold, snowy evenings of last winter to read up on goal setting, mental toughness and how to be a better competitor. With all of my new knowledge I went ahead and set some fairly lofty goals, along with a detailed action plan of how to achieve them.
And now with the leaves changing and the chill of fall rushing in I would like to share some of what I have learned…
1. Don’t wait until the end of the year to review your goals! They do you no good in a nice, coiled notebook, so put them out where you can see them everyday. I think this would have helped on those days where I felt awfully busy, tired or frustrated, to provide a reminder of what I am working towards.
2. Create or review your action plan with someone who is an expert in your field. While my husband is an accomplished athlete and a generally smart guy ( or so I think) he is not a winning barrel racer, and therefore can not provide me with specific steps or ideas I might be missing.
3. Don’t be afraid to modify your plan, as certain factors are out of your control. Say, for instance, your horse gets injured and you don’t have as much time to condition or work on certain exercises as you had originally scheduled. Revisit your plan and evaluated the best course of action. I think it is very important to feel confident, so maybe you need to hold of entering that event you had planned, until you feel more fully prepared.
4. Never quit. The act of losing does not exist if you continue pursuing your goal.
So now it is time to set new goals and create an action plan to achieve them. I have a new horse to season this fall and winter, and am finding it challenging to decide on specific, measurable goals – as winter barrel racing can provide its own set of issues if Mother Nature decides to be nasty. But, what I have learned from my initial attempt at goal setting is to make sure I keep those goals where I can see them and revisit my plan if we happen to have an unusually cold or snowy winter.