I hear that word brought up in so many different aspects.
Willpower for a diet,
Willpower for exercise,
Willpower to ride your horse in cold weather,
and so much more.
With the winter weather here, for me, willpower is about the strength to push through to get out there and do something with my horse.
It could be riding,
or it could be groundwork.
BUT it is pushing through to go out and continue making forward progress.
I have to want my end result bad enough,
feel it in my core,
and have a vision for where I am going.
The drive that makes me want to get out there,
even in the cold,
is what keeps me moving forward to get better,
master that maneuver,
build the ride hours,
be ready for the spring circuit,
or that trail event.
It can be hard in the morning when I am getting ready for the day to push through and have the willpower to go out in the cold.
BUT I think about how good it will feel after the ride.
I will have pushed myself,
and just plain feel better about myself for the entire day.
I always tell myself how good I will feel once I pushed myself and went out and rode.
Today take a moment and write out a couple aspects, tasks or things you want to do.
Write down the end result you are working towards. What will it feel like to get there?
What willpower will you need to accomplish and stick with each task?
Willpower to me, is wanting something bad enough that when it gets hard, tough, or cold you can push through to do what you need to do.
How can you build your willpower to ride?
1. Know What It Is You Really Want!
I mean feel it in your heart and your soul!
What will it:
…feel like to reach that place?
… look like in that moment?
What is the reason or the why behind wanting this?
Think of this as the fuel for your willpower.
This is the place you go to when it gets hard, difficult, you need willpower to push through.
You have to really want, see and feel your end result to build your willpower.
2. Make a Realistic Plan!
It is easy to fall into a place where you want to do too much too fast.
If you are overwhelmed or not making the progress you think you should be,
your willpower will decrease.
So take the time to write out a slow and progressive plan to get to your goal.
Make it small steps, slow progress and easily attainable.
That way you feel the success of every step you make forward.
This is the NUMBER ONE reason you lose your willpower!
You try to make a plan that is too fast, too hard or not realistic to obtain.
Take your ego and should be’s out of this!!
Go to reality, what feels good to you and START SMALL!!
For example one of my goals for this winter is to keep my big Friesian soft and supple.
He is a horse with big muscle groups and keeping his muscles soft and supple takes a lot of consistency.
My plan therefore is to ride as many days as I can in the winter.
If I cannot ride then long line and in hand work to keep his bend and body soft.
If I need to do it in the barn then I will work on his 5 meter circles walking on a bend and keeping the softness in his rib cage in his stall.
That is a perfect plan and example of breaking down to make a realistic plan and continue to keeping on track for my goals coming up.
3. Give Yourself Rewards!
So being 100 percent truthful, I am a Starbucks addict.
I live for my coffee and that is being open and honest.
Decide what reward you can give yourself as an incentive to grow your willpower.
I tell myself if I can go out in the cold, spend 2 hours to accomplish my work for that day with the two horses I pick for the day…..
then after that time I will reward myself with a coffee and cookie at Starbucks on my way home.
This may sound like bribing yourself, but it is really changing the mindset and doing a hard task with a reward.
It is positive reinforcement and it will help you to build your willpower in a positive way.
A couple quick tips from me to you:
- Get really good quality warm clothing. It helps a lot if you are warm and comfortable. I personally like Hot Chilly’s long johns as my bottom layer. A really good pair of knee high hiking socks over the long johns and under my jeans. You have to find what you like. I do not like the insulated coveralls to ride in, but I know a lot of people do. So see what works best for you and keeps you the warmest. I also love my Mountain Horse Jacket over my fleece jacket.
- Keep your ears and hands warm and it will go a long way!
- For your horse, a good quarter sheet can help them stay more comfortable. Always work them on the ground first so they are used to the feel before you get on to ride.
- Focus on the positive things you do. Do not dwell on the negatives or it will diminish your willpower quickly!!