Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Comfort Zones

Bert & Swag, unicorns in my heart.
Earlier this week I was teaching a dressage lesson. We were talking about the expectations of our horses and in this case, the quality of the gaits and movements. I was telling my student not to necessarily be happy with what her horse was giving her, but to keep the conversation with her horse going and pushing for more. Up the level of expectation.

It is easy to stick to our comfort zones. We often ride around with a trot or canter that's what we might call "good" or "pleasant", but the reality of it is, we are often capable of much more. Pushing ourselves past those comfort zones can vary from day to day, and be different for each horse and rider. For some, it's just getting on, for another it might be schooling a harder movement. If we don't push ourselves out of those zones, we may never know what we can accomplish.

At the beginning of last year I was unhappy with my weight. It has always been a struggle. While I work 10+hr days at the barn and generally watch what I eat, I have the metabolism of a pony. I had my sights set on the CCI* with Swag and decided to really hunker down and give it my all to shed the excess weight. By the time spring rolled around, I had managed to drop down significantly and was feeling thinner than I ever had. When Swag was injured, I no longer had the same motivation, but I refocused my goals and turned my attention towards being stronger and fitter. Keeping the weight off is a daily struggle (my metabolism hates me), but I'm pushed myself out of my comfort zone and have started working with a personal trainer, Doug.

I had a session with the trainer at the gym last week. He had a whole plan written out for me, we went through each exercise, and made a schedule outlining what I'm supposed to work on. A couple days later I looked at the trainers notes and couldn't remember what half of the exercises were. For me, trying to do these new and foreign movements were hard. They were physically challenging and I felt like I wasn't doing them right, which immediately made me want to give up. But instead of caving in, I pulled out my computer and googled them. Youtube is a wonderful thing! There were still a couple of things I was unsure about, so today when I was at the gym I asked Doug to show me again. I told Doug that when I was unsure if I was doing something right I was hesitant to do it. And I realized that's how many of my students feel.

Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones isn't a bad thing. It's a necessary step in learning. So as I tackle these new workouts, I'm also pushing the boundaries in what I'm trying to achieve as a rider and trainer. I'm working harder than I ever have with big goals in sight. I'm pushing for more and am upping the level of expectation. I'm healthier, fitter, and more determined to make my dreams come true and even though the path to get there may not be completely clear, I won't know what I'm capable of until I try.

Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one’s time, for dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plan the seeds of our future. ~ Unknown

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