Setting Goals in the Daydream Maze.

“We save it for one last week of the year, and a New Year’s list, soon to be next year’s regrets.”  Jenny Susser PHD.

Jenny Susser is a psychologist specializing in sport psychology and this quote comes from an article she wrote about ‘reflecting’. For me reflecting is the same as daydreaming.  Oh, I know, most of you will say you do not have time for daydreaming.  But I think you do. There are two types of daydreaming: freeform and structured. Freeform is daydreaming where you just let your thoughts float like clouds and see where they take you. You will be amazed at the people, places and things, you can visit with this.

But how can something as random as daydreaming ever be structured?  I like to think of it as daydreaming in a maze. Here is my example of some recent structured daydreaming I did while driving to Florida.  I had noticed while packing up to leave that I had not given any thought to my upcoming competition season in Florida. Usually I would have looked up the lists of shows at the Global Dressage Festival and White Fences Equestrian and chosen what shows I wanted to attend. But this year I had not done this.  Why?  That question is the start of the maze.  I enter the maze and ask myself another question.

 

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Longleat hedge maze fribbleblib/Flickr(Creative Commons)

 

  1. Is it because I had surgery to remove my gall bladder on Nov 15?  Answer: No. It was an easy surgery and the recovery was without problems.  I have come to a wall in the maze. I turn around and head back and start up another pathway.
  2. Is it because I am worried that having been off from serious riding for six weeks I will not be fit enough to ride in competition? I walk along that question’s pathway. I have not been riding as much but I have been able to go to the gym and workout there. I have been able to get on my horse, Biasini, and do some riding.  So yes, it will take me a bit of time to get back to full riding fitness but it will not prevent me from showing for the full winter season.  I have come to a wall again. Turn around and find another pathway.

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    http://www.thegardenmaze.com
  3. I train with a different coach, Lou Denizard, in Florida. Will that put me off my stride?  I have trained with Lou for eight years now. We know each other well and it usually only takes a day or two for us to get back in synch. Also Lou had seen me ride in a lesson with my Canadian coach, Belinda Trussell,when he was visiting Toronto in early November.  He knows where I was before my surgery, how Biasini and I had improved over the summer, what is working well and what needs to improve. Another wall. I retrace my steps and take another pathway.
  4. Am I lazy and lacking motivation?  This is a short pathway before I come to the  wall. I am a hard worker and have a highly motivated approach to my training and riding.   Find a new pathway. I know that with each new pathway I am getting closer to the solution. I am almost there.
  5. Over the summer Biasini and I had stepped things up a notch under Belinda’s direction.  Do I have the tools in my riders toolbox to maintain that in the competition arena?  I walk along this pathway for some time pondering that question.  Finally ….yes… I do and even if I do not have those tools right now. After some work and getting back to top fitness I will have them. Wall. New pathway.
  6. What are my goals for this winter season?  AH HA!  My goals.  This fall I did not take time to optimistically plan my goals! No wonder I never looked at the show schedule!

So without further hesitation I set out my goals.

  1. Short Term. Two to three weeks.  Get back to full riding fitness.
  2. Medium Term Three weeks. Working with Lou to make sure I have all the  rider tools in my toolkit and be ready to use them when needed.
  3. Longer Term.  Compete in the Intermediare 1 level at the end of February or in March.

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Finding my way through the Daydreaming Maze has led me to the answers I needed to be able to set my goals and make plans.  With equestrian sport there are two athletes; the horse( a different species)  and the rider . Sometimes the best laid plans can go awry. All riders know and accept this. But despite that element of possible uncertainty it is always a good idea to have a goal and optimistically plan to realize it.

Do you have a method you use to set goals and plan for them?  I’d be interested to hear how you do it!  Leave me a comment below.

 

 

33 Comments Add yours

  1. I always have LOTS of goals, dreams, and fantasies. I ponder them myself, at any given time. Some on paper, very structured, and some, more a loose idea. What ever works to get you up in the morning, when others don’t, right? 🙂

    However, I’m very careful to not get caught up in too many fantasies or lofty ideas. That’s where people go wrong, since the entire goal is too big, they already, subliminally, know that they won’t get there. And so they never start. To make sure they can’t fail.
    For me, it works best with very concrete, smaller pieces. I keep my expectations in check. And so, I usually end up accomplishing pretty much all I set out to do. And when I don’t, it doesn’t feel like the end of the world either 🙂

    I find I stick to this with most things: riding, competitive running, work, and family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You have a very sensible approach to your goal setting. I agree that setting goals that are too far out of reach is a good excuse for giving them up. I have seen this happen a few times with other riders. Those lofty goals need a long term plan and a team in place to help the horse and rider achieve them. Thanks Elinor for your very good comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 And, remembering to enjoy the journey as much as possible!!!

        Tonight, if I can ever take time to actually sit at the computer, I hope to finish a post, and others, on some smaller challenges I’m having with V. right now. Fleshing it out and putting it out there in the open is usually really helpful for me! While always remembering WHERE we’re going, AND enjoying it while we try 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Dressage is a discipline in which it is easy to become discouraged or frustrated so reminding oneself to have fun and enjoy the moments is important. I look forward to seeing your posts!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. The goal is to keep going. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you and yes that’s right! We have to keep on keeping on!

      Like

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    The maze is very useful metaphor for dealing with life’s difficulties and set backs. I think I have met with quite a few walls in the last few years, myself. I wish you every luck in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Emma. I agree that we all run into walls and have to find a new path and new answers.

      Like

  4. I love this! For the first time ever I set, planned and achieved all goals last year. It’s amazing isn’t it? Goal Setting.
    As the old saying goes “Your focus determines your reality” so if you don’t focus, then how do you expect to get anything you truly want.

    I plan my goals a year at a time. I have planned out what I would like to achieve by the end of 2018. Then I start a track, like ok I want to be competing “this” level by end of 2018, so by June 2018 I should be here or here.

    I set training goals too. Always achieving more at home then in the show ring, to reduce stress on my horse but also to ensure I am riding accurately. Accurately riding a test can get you anywhere between 3 and 5 % on your score so being accurate can be everything.

    Pretty much I set the goal.
    Elementary by Dec 2018. Then I set the Path. Competing Novice by Dec 2017 (goal achieved). Compete Prelim and Novice all the way through the year and be training Elementary by August 2018. The path to do this is by setting out my shows, which I do on the last week in 2017 and I have therefore got a competition schedule through to March already, with the championships in July that I wish to attend already noted and planned out.

    Goal setting is fun and I love achieving things. I love that if you set it out, don’t expect too much, be happy and do your best, stop making excuses and train and you can get anything in this world that you want.

    Bring on 2018!! can’t wait to see how it all goes for you

    Mel x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Sounds good Mel! All the best to you on this quest. I look forward to reading all the progressions through the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My New year starts with this motivating post ma’am. I have to say only a big thanks to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m so happy it is motivating for you. Thank you for this kind and encouraging comment! Happy New Year!

      Like

      1. Thank you for your wishes ma’am. Very Happy New year to you and Biasini ma’am

        Liked by 1 person

  6. doar nicole says:

    I somehow set mini goals along the way, trying to keep things into perspective as much as I can too, and be flexible, go with the flow, but also somehow finding anchors to feel the backbone of my plan in rough lines, at least, aligning and re-aligning as I go along, hm… feels mazy at times too, yes. Still, one way or another from that interplay between my intuition and reason, or conscious scheduling, things do seem to find their way ahead. Thank you for the detailed article, mental note just made: schedule a re-read. 🙂 Happy days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for commenting. I think we all find a way to chart a course in life. Thanks for giving me an idea of how you work through it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rommel says:

    Sounds like a good way to keep your mind straight. I should do that as I dont always make plans. But the strategy I found useful is when I write everything down.
    Anywho, Im dropping by to wish a happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you and a happy new year to you too!

      Like

  8. Happy New Year Anne! 🙂 Hope you have now safely arrived in Florida. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes we are in Florida! Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Katrin says:

    Great way to plan! I do a lot of the internal q and a as well. For me goal setting usually goes: something feels or sounds interesting, I then enter my research phase asking questions, reading, learning more, figuring out if this is really something I want or a reaction to my being a bit bored or trying to avoid something else, once I commit to wanting to do this, I pull together the research to make a plan of action, often times this means I write it out in some way as I find writing really helps me process my plan of action. Then I put the plan into action and get to work! I’m very internally driven and motivated which for me translates to resisting when other people tell me I must do something simply because they feel I must or should. Until I can make it an internal thing I see reason or desire to do, it’s not going to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks for this detailed comment! I think your process is a good one and i agree that having someone say “you have to” or ” you must” always sets me back into some resistance. And writing it down is excellent as, for me, that is how it really becomes clear.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Margaretha says:

    This time of the year, I am looking for and exploring new pathways too, and I like the way you use questions to clarify your direction. I will use your technique today to set my own goals for 2018, thank you for this inspiring post, Anne, and all the best to you and Basini this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you so much. I hope you will find it helpful.

      Like

  11. Jeff Rab says:

    I love that your maze ends up in a goal directed list, which takes you out of wandering around in the maze to a set list of tangible goals! My maze seems to grow bigger, have higher walls, and more twists and turns to nowhere! Next day dreaming session I,m using your method!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      the real issue is the maze needs grounds keepers to trim the hedges. Just kidding! Thanks for your comment and I hope the maze will be helpful and not anxiety producing!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am unable to. It depends on how Len feels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I hear you. But look at what you do: the gym, balancing on a bosu ball and boxing and blogging. You are carrying on. So Happiest of New Years to you Susie.

      Like

      1. Thank you so much, and coming back to you

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Kathleen says:

    Another great post. I so enjoy your musings. Have a wonderful time in Florida.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks so much! Happy New Year!

      Like

  14. Kelly MacKay says:

    I so want to go do that maze/ awesome post. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Go for it! thanks for commenting!

      Like

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