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Motivation - what makes the Difference?
With the Endurance season upon us our horses fitness will now be paramount. However, after a long dark and wet winter and changeable weather its likely our horses, as well as us, aren’t as fit as we would like.

Speaking from experience I know it’s sometimes difficult to be motivated when its horizontal rain, cold winds and dark mornings. Especially up here on Dartmoor! The good news is the clocks have finally sprung forward and even though the weather is still unpredictable, spring is definitely in the air.

In order to find ways of improving our own motivation its first helpful to understand how we are motivated.
There are two possible ways:
People are either motivated ‘towards’ pleasure
Or they motivated ‘away’ from pain
It may help to think of motivation as a sort of train track. On the far left there is the Pain Station and then the railway runs right across to the right and ends up at the ‘Pleasure Station’.
PAIN
PLEASURE
By Dee Wilkinson
If we are motivated ‘away’ from pain, we will start to chug along the track towards the pleasure, but as soon as we get far enough away from the ‘pain’ or uncomfortable  feeling, we will then stop being motivated, and after a while things (the train) will start to slide back down the track towards the Pain station again. When it slides back into the station and things get too uncomfortable again, we are likely to take action and start to chug back up the track, and the cycle repeats itself.

However, if we are motivated by ‘pleasure’ we will keep our engine stoked up and keep chugging along towards the end goal, the ‘Pleasure’ station. It will be so great when we get there, that we can’t wait and excited by the prospect. We might even reward ourselves along the way. Everything we do will be about keeping the engine steaming along, so that we can get to experience the pleasure at the end.
If motivated by PAIN:

If you are somebody that is motivated ‘away’ from pain, this is likely to mean that you will only be pushed into action when things get to ‘painful’ or uncomfortable. For instance, you may not be bothered to tidy up the yard, until you get to the point that you can’t find the grooming kit. Or you only get motivated to clean your tack, when the reins are rock hard and you realise you can no longer undo any of the buckles on your bridle.
If motivated by PLEASURE:

On the other hand, if you are motivated towards pleasure, you are probably somebody that loves setting goals. Having an immaculate yard may give you pleasure. You might keep enthused by visualising the fruits of your labour.  You will look forward to the feeling of achieving what you have set out to do.  The pleasure you will get from the end result, will be enough to keep you motivated and on track. Just knowing how it will feel and what you will hear and how you see yourself finishing your Endurance ride, will be motivating enough to get on your horse in all weathers.


You might keep enthused by visualising the fruits of your labour.  You will look forward to the feeling of achieving what you have set out to do.  The pleasure you will get from the end result, will be enough to keep you motivated and on track. Just knowing how it will feel and what you will hear and how you see yourself finishing your Endurance ride, will be motivating enough to get on your horse in all weathers.
So how can knowing this help you?

My suggestion would be, if you know you are somebody that is motivated by pain, start to think about what you don’t want. Do you want a horse that isn’t fit, and would be heaving itself across the finish line. Or a horse that will be disqualified through vetting, or maybe cause itself an injury through lack of fitness. This could incur vet fees. Do you want to feel your body aching and sore for days as you haven’t got yourself fit enough for the task in hand. What would it feel like to get the lowest grading you can get? What would people be saying about you if you had to pull out?
And on the flipside if you know you are somebody motivated by pleasure, keep thinking about what you do want. What will it feel like to cross that finish line full of energy? How great will it be when you are handed your Rosette for a Grade 1? How happy will you be with your horse on the way home from a fantastic day out? Who will be congratulating you for all your hard work? How can you reward yourself along the way to your goals? What treats could you have for you and your horse? Maybe a day for you at the health club for a massage and a sauna. Maybe a new pair of boots, or cooler for your horse, when half way through your programme.

Think about how you are motivated, and what needs to be in place to keep you there, when you really are not feeling like taking action.
Avoid Procrastination

One reason that people procrastinate is they don’t know how to take the first step. Sometimes the overall picture feels too overwhelming or
too far away.

Instead of making excuses, ask yourself “What is stopping me getting started?”

You may find you come out with things such as,

· I feel bored at the thought of doing it,
· Its too wet and cold
· Ive got plenty of time

What ever the answer, try telling yourself a positive statement instead, such as;

· Whats the first small step I can take ie. Get tack ready to clean!
· I will do it now because
· We will benefit because

Ask yourself

· What do I want to achieve, this day, week, month, year?
· What is my short term and long term goal?
· If I do the task in hand what difference will it make?
· Will it take me closer to my goal
Being clear about what you want to achieve helps to avoid procrastination as this can then be broken down into small mini goals and small steps that you can begin to take. Goal setting drives action. Only by taking action can you achieve your dreams and goals.
The season is now here and I really look forward to meeting some of you. Its having others out there to meet and ride with that really makes the events memorable for me. Don’t deprive others of great events by not being there yourself - you are what makes it great!

Dee Wilkinson
South West Life Coaching