Establishing and Executing your New Year’s Goals

The year 2019 is finally here! Now is the time to reflect back on 2018 and look toward 2019. Goal setting is an important factor in mental health and productivity. It will help you see the progression in big goals which sometimes can feel like swimming in the middle of an ocean. According to the research done at the University of Scranton, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. In this article, we will help you be part of that 8% and go against the odds!

Flipping coin

A common mistake of goal setting is making a goal too big in too short of a time frame. For example, you had your sights set on advancing from jumping 2’ 6” to Grand Prix by the end of the year. Or, you just started riding lessons and your goal is to be a trainer at your own facility in a year.  That is not to say it will not happen, but it is important to follow these key tips to maximize your goal setting success.

Know Yourself:

You know yourself the best and what you want to accomplish. When you think of your goals, try to resist being influenced by outside pressure. This can be pressure from family members, trainers, riding associates etc. Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish what your trainer wants and what you want. To clear up the muddy waters, think of the two decisions on separate sides of a coin. You can do this exercise mentally or physically. Take a coin, and assign a goal to each side. Flip the coin, and whichever side you are hoping it lands on is most likely aligned with what you personally want.

Break your goals down:

To have the most success with accomplishing your goals, break a big goal down into specific parts. If your goal is to ride 5 times a week, compared to your 3 times a week, think of what you must do differently to accomplish that. It does not make sense to keep the same schedule and try to add in riding at the end. Plan to get up earlier to fit riding in, or bring your riding gear with you in the car to minimize going back home and getting sucked into household tasks. These small goals would be getting up earlier and packing your gear in the car ahead of time.

Be specific:

At a dinner one night, I was sitting with a past gold medalist at the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics and he was sharing his experience with goal setting. When he was on the USA Eventing  Team, their coach asked each rider what their goal was. Almost everyone said, “to go to the Olympics”. Once they were finished, their coach told them they would not bring home the gold medal. He told them it was not good enough to “go to the Olympics” he said he needed to hear them say, “when we go to the Olympics, we will take home the gold”. It is important to set a measurable goal. Instead of “I want to do well at the next competition”, define the term, doing well.


Hold yourself accountable:

Once you have an outline of goals for the year, short term and long term, share them with family, friends, and your trainer. They can hold you accountable and encourage you to reach your goals when the going gets tough.

Be confident in yourself:

The goals you set for riding should be to further yourself as a person. It may be going to more clinics, taking more lessons, or riding a different horse. These may be daunting and out of your comfort zone. By holding yourself accountable you have a greater chance of pushing past your comfort zone.


Celebrate the small goals, and keep sight of your big goals! Keep moving ahead and set yourself up for a successful 2019!


What are your goals for 2019?

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