Jan 04, 2020

Daniel Stewart's Tip of the Month: Resolution Reminders

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

If you’re like most people there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to make a New Year's resolution this year . . . and if you’re like most people there’s also a pretty good chance you’re going to have a really hard time hanging onto it past the beginning of February!

We all have good intentions in life, but sometimes life gets in the way of our good intentions. One reason many people struggle keeping New Year’s resolutions (or achieving any other goal for that matter) is that life can sometimes be very distracting. Staying mindful of our goals is, therefore, one of the most important factors in determining whether or not we’ll achieve them, and that’s where resolution-reminders come in.

Resolution-reminders, also called mental triggers, work by giving you timely reminders of the things you’re hoping to remember. After all, if you can remember them, there’s a much better chance you’ll keep doing them. One of the best ways to do this is to link your goals to things that occur often in your life. For example, taping the note, “Health not hot dogs” on your refrigerator (and another on the hot dogs inside) is a great way of reminding yourself that you're making an effort to eat healthier this year. In this way, the note does two important things: first it's a reminder, and second, it's a motivator.

Resolution reminders also come in the three other common forms. Below are examples of these different triggers, each one of them designed to help a rider overcome show jitters:

  1. Sounds: Remind yourself to smile every time you hear the ding of the bell before entering the dressage arena, or the sound of your jumping class being called over the show-ground speakers.
  2. Locations: Remind yourself to repeat a motivating motto (i.e. Relax, Ride, Repeat) every time you enter the cross-country start box, or pass the letter “C” in a dressage test.
  3. Movements: Remind yourself to take a deep, relaxing breath every time you put on your boots or snap your helmet strap.

Interestingly, resolution-reminders are a part of a larger mental coaching technique called classical conditioning, automatically conditioning yourself to do things like smile every time you hear the bell, repeat a motivating mantra every time you enter the start box, and take a deep breath every time you put on your boots. The idea behind this kind of mental conditioning is that, with a little time and practice, you’ll no longer need to try and remember to do these positive things, your brain will actually just link the sounds, locations, and movements to those actions automatically… meaning you’ll no longer need to remember to do them at all, because they’ll happen without you even thinking about it!

In the end - and in the beginning of 2020 - always remember that your goals won’t work unless you do. You just need to remember what means the most to you!

I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year and hope you’ve enjoyed my 2019 monthly tips. I also hope to see you in one of my 2020 riding clinics or training camps around the country. For more information visit https://pressureproofacademy.com.

Jan 28, 2023 Membership

Now On Course: Woodrow Goes Wild to Mild

Did you know that there are over 53,000 wild mustangs in holding facilities across the United States? My mustang journey began in February 2018 after losing my heart horse whom I had just shy of 20 years. I wanted another horse of color, and my friend sent me the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) internet adoption link. I was amazed at all of the horses available on the internet auction, but I quickly fell in love with Woodrow. I learned that he was a popular band stallion in Wyoming and had been followed by photographers for close to three years.

Jan 27, 2023 ATC

Introducing the New Modified Rider Division at the 2023 AEC

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.

Jan 26, 2023 Young Event Horse

Get a Taste of Eventing with the New Event Horse Program

Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.

Jan 25, 2023 Profile

Dondante Steps Into The Spotlight with 2022 Standlee USEA Horse of the Year Title

Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.

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