Is there anything you want to change in your life? With your horse? There is a huge industry around change and development, both in the equine field and in life in general. So many books, and programmes, so many courses. A surprising amount of (even ancient) philosophy actually deals with the nitty-gritty of how we go about our daily lives, how we prioritise, how we get ourselves to do the things we want ourselves to do. It’s surprisingly difficult. You’d sort of think we’d have it sorted as adults (especially considering the pressure we put on kids to have developed good eating, sleeping, exercise, hygiene and study habits), but of course it turns out that for most of us it’s an ongoing task. There’s every possibility that the resolutions we set on New Year’s Eve may be the same each year, because we didn’t quite manage to incorporate them all into our lives the first time around.
Like many people this is something I’ve been working on for a very long time. I’ve read a lot of books on the subject, and adopted the strategies and approaches I find most useful. I’ve done a fair amount of soul-searching and worked out how I like to tackle things, although I can still be surprised along the way (who would have guessed that adding the word “challenge” would almost certainly guarantee my commitment to an exercise programme?). What works for me has changed over time, and whereas I resisted this in the past, the “streaks” (thanks, Duolingo), or “don’t break the chain” approach (attributed to American comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who wrote something every day), has really been working for me for the last couple of years.
That, and the alliterative allocation of tasks to days. So, Mondays are Money Mondays (spend a bit of time on the personal finances), and Mending Mondays (fix something). Tuesdays are Thirty Day Plan (implement something on the Business’ Thirty Day Action plan). Wednesdays are for the Website.
Every Wednesday, for the last 8 weeks, I have done something to our website. Sometimes, as was the case last week, it is breaking it. Oops. But mostly it has been checking for inconsistencies, verifying that the prices are still current, updating our services and when that was all done, learning about nectar sliders and so on. At some point, I will look at the analytics. Or I could write blog posts.
Some weeks I spend very little time indeed on it, and other times I get more stuck in. But the accumulation of consistent effort has surprised me. I would have been more of an all or nothing person before, but it was working with one horse in particular that really changed my mind. I would do short sessions with her in the school, no more than 20 minutes, 3-4 times a week, in-hand, or on long-lines, and the effect on her soundness and fitness (versus the times when I didn’t work with her), was remarkable. I wouldn’t have thought that such small amounts of time would make such a big difference.
There are things I do every single day, and things I do once a week or several times a week. I use an app (“Streaks”, snapshot above) to keep track. Otherwise, the weeks go by so fast, and I am consistently surprised to find that Taxing Thursdays has rolled around again, or Foot-trim Fridays. It really helps to keep the things I want to do regularly to the forefront of my mind, and paired with the actual (rather than perceived) passing of time. You might be the same. And so I just thought I would share this strategy in case it is of some help to you. Your mileage may vary, as they say, but it might be worth a try.