Friday, June 22, 2012

The Art of Self-Discipline

I've talked before about the difficulties of training yourself and your horse in dressage. Any discipline can be difficult to learn on your own, but one that fully revolves around training concepts seems especially so.

Recently, I've been struggling with self-discipline, in all areas of my life. It's been hard to make myself exercise (something that has never really been difficult before), to stop eating sugar, to stick to a schedule and to just sit down and FOCUS. If there's one thing I've always prided myself on, it has been my ability to make myself do anything. As you can understand, this change has been difficult to accept.

In the last few months, I've been trying to change for the better. I am a believer in the idea that self-discipline is like a muscle, you must use it to make it stronger. And, in the same way as using a muscle, sometimes getting back into the routine of using self-discipline can make you sore. It can be hard. It will really, really suck for awhile. But then, you adapt. You get stronger, and it's easier to make yourself man-up and do those hard things. It's easier to say "Self, you better focus harder. If you finish this up, we can go play later:"

In the last few weeks, I've been working through some mental soreness. I've been pushing myself for more. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day to run while it's cool. Striving to set goals and be more productive at work. Getting out to ride my horse AT LEAST 4 days a week. And, sticking to a schedule.

It's been really hard.

Last Thursday, I ate two bags of strawberry liquorice and drank a bottle of wine. That was not a pretty day, but every single day after has been getting easier. And, that's a good thing.

Okay, Lady. What does this have to do with horses, you ask? A whole hell of a lot.

Everything with horses is hard. We hit road blocks. Our horses revolt and refuse to listen or work. They hurt themselves, or us. We fall and don't want to get back up.

Not having self-discipline makes the horse world harder. You need it to achieve your goals, to push your horse, and to stay in good enough shape to do what you need to do.

I'm not the only person with a full time job, a couple of dogs, a house, a garden, a horse, goals, and a long commute. I want to say to those people, it's okay. I'm totally there with you. This sucks. There is not enough time in the day, and not enough hours in the night to get this all done. We are all tired, and our friends think we're crazy. I know.

So, I challenge you all. What's hard for you? Do you find it impossible to get up on time? Is it too easy to get settled on the couch to get up and make a decently healthy dinner? Is exercising just something you can't seem to make yourself do?

We can do it. It's going to suck for awhile, but you'll be stronger. If there's one thing all horse people can stand to have more of, it's self-discipline. It makes your world go 'round. :)

This face makes it all easier to deal with!

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