I am sure the title of this blog post surprises most of my long time students. After all, I am constantly expounding the virtues of having goals; big ones, little ones, short term, long term! Because I learned long ago that setting and regularly monitoring goals gives us the focus and clarity to make regular progress with horses .. thereby eliminating boredom and keeping our partnerships fresh and interesting!
Since 2008, I spend time each January laying out short, medium and long term goals. White boards and special calendars contain colour coded checklists for all the little steps and pieces for every goal on my list. And this organizational system keeps my mind uncluttered and clearly focused .. and by all accounts it works! As with each passing year I find myself astonished at the depth of my relationships with my horse partners and my wall is overflowing with the photos and momentos telling stories of amazing adventures and accomplishments!!
This year is different. Having dealt with a significant health issue at the tailend of 2017, I entered this year with some mental and physical symptoms still lingering. And while I am back doing about 85% of what I was pre-surgery, my body is going to need continued time to regain its strength and shape .. and mentally and emotionally this has taken a toll. But like every other year in January, I sat down for my much anticipated, annual goal setting session ... but I was surprised to discover that I felt more panic and worry than calm, clear focus. Suddenly the goal dates on the calendar seemed impossible and intimidating and as we moved into February I found myself avoiding my horses altogether.
So the goals are gone - thrown to the wind without a second thought! But fear not my fine friends - I am not destined to suffer through a year without progress, focus or clarity. My stunning goal charts in all their coordinated colour coded madness .. have been replaced with a simple daily roadmap of small daily focuses to be repeated over and over:
2018 Daily Priorities
1. Eat what makes me feel well; meal plan - shop & cook with care
2. Daily exercise - do what I enjoy and that brings me happiness
3. Rest; rest often and most importantly when I need it
4. Give the gift of time for those close & those far away
5. Read - actual books.
6. Play with my horses; to have fun and to learn something (either them or me!)
7. Book my sacred horse time on the calendar and keep the appointment!
8. Be free to explore, muck around, create with no timeline
I do have other simple things on my list pertaining to business, money and mundane stuff like household chores! But that's it. The goals are gone. What is left are a few events still written on the calendar, but now they are suggestions .. ideas ... possibilities.
And if I feel like going, I will. And if I don't, I won't.
And now I feel like I can breathe. Emotionally, a weight has been lifted off along with the pressure I had been putting on myself. And tonight, for the first time in a long time, I went to the barn and just played. I hugged and kissed my ponies and sat and just admired their uniqueness and their natural beauty. I played with things that came to mind and felt my creativity bubble to the surface.
And it was fun.
2018. No goals.