Whether you’re a competitive or pleasure rider, your mindset makes all the difference to how much you enjoy every ride and what you’ll achieve.
How you feel mentally affects the results you’ll have when you’re in the saddle – or even if you get in the saddle at all! Mindset is the magic ingredient for successful, happy riders.
Whether you’re having some time off from riding (thanks to the current global situation) or you’re trying to fit in riding time between your other commitments, you can always improve your mindset.
Developing a success mindset is not as difficult as you might think. You can train your brain by following the following 5 tips:
1) Create A Compelling Vision:
Create a vision of how you want your riding life to look. Make it something so compelling that you’re drawn to it every day.
Review the past 12 months. What held you back? What were you proud of?
As you create your new vision for your next 12 months think about what you want to achieve. What do you need to do in order to achieve that goal? Write it down. And write down each small step you need to take and commit to doing each one.
Now, what does success look like for you? Imagine yourself at the end of the year and you’ve reached your goal. How do you feel? What emotions do you have? Is anyone with you? What do you hear? Bring this vision to life in your mind as clearly as you can.
See yourself sitting in a movie theatre watching it play out on the screen. Make it big, bright, colourful and in surround sound. Revisit this mind movie regularly. By taking this step, you’re getting your unconscious mind engaged with helping you achieve your goal.
2) Reconnect With Your Why
When times get tough, you’re lacking motivation or not feeling confident, remember why you started riding and enjoy doing it.
Without a why, you can lose motivation and cause what you once loved to feel like a chore.
You may find that your why has changed, and that’s okay. Perhaps you used to ride for the competition. But now you simply want to hack out alone or with friends. Your priorities in life might have changed and riding is not as important as it once was.
Knowing that, you can adjust your expectations and goals. And enjoy riding more.
3) Look For The Positive
Our brains have a negativity bias that means we notice and remember the “bad” things much more easily than the good or positive. When you notice only what went wrong or what you could have done better in every ride, you damage your motivation and confidence.
After every ride, write down at least one positive thing. Writing it down helps put it into your memory bank. And it gives you something to refer back to when you’re feeling down about your riding. Reviewing your notes about all the good rides helps you feel better quickly.
Doing this exercise regularly helps override that innate negativity bias and trains your brain to look for the positive.
4) Be Grateful
Worry and comparing yourself to others is another side of the negativity bias. They drain your energy, motivation, and confidence. You’re focusing on things that are out of your control.
Having a daily gratitude practice trains your brain to notice the things in your life that bring you joy. Keep a journal to write in at the same time every day. Include all areas of your life – family, work, health and, of course, your horse.
Being grateful puts your focus on what brings you joy and reframes how you look at your life.
5) Reframe Negative Thoughts
Successful riders learn from every experience – especially bad ones and mistakes. They know that negative thinking is not helpful and can even harm their confidence and progress.
One of the most effective techniques for retraining your brain for a success mindset is called re-framing.
Re-framing is simply changing the meaning of an experience or situation by putting a different frame around it or looking at it from a different perspective.
Often, all you need to do is ask yourself the right kind of question.
• What’s great about this?
• What’s the opportunity in this?
• How might this obstacle be a blessing in disguise?
• What can I learn from this?
• What help do I need to improve on this result?
These types of questions give your brain a problem to solve. And your brain loves solving problems.
Practicing these tips trains your brain to help you be the best rider you can be. Enjoy every ride.