Let's talk goals

The most important thing to remember about goals is that it really doesn’t matter what your goals are, but they must be YOURS!  Goals should not be set or influenced by your coach or your friends or even family, they must be what you really want to achieve.  Goals are different for everyone and as a coach, my job is to help you achieve them, whether they be riding at a certain level in the dressage arena or being able to happily hack out on your own.  For me, Goal setting is one of the first sessions I like to do with any new clients as it lets us both know where we are going.

When the idea of someone having a goal setting session is first mentioned, quite often the response is a little underwhelming!!! However, once we start to get going and the client sees the process they soon become very excited and motivated by the process!!!  I once decided to offer a goal setting session at a residential camp I was part of the coaching team for, initially the riders were a little ‘eye rolly’, but once we started they became more engaged and more excited!  Half way through the sessions the feeling had changed among the riders from no one wanting to be the first and almost being pushed to go by the others, to a stamped for who wanted to go next!!  When it came to the camp this year, the question asked by all the attendees was when is the Goal Setting!!



Outcome Goal - This is what most of us think of when we are asked to do Goal setting and it can be a daunting as you know what you want to achieve, but you don’t have a clue how you are going to!!!  The Outcome goal is great for giving us direction, but its not necessarily the way to motivate us!!  

Performance Goal - This is where we do the first of the “breaking down”.  If we break our Outcome Goal down into 2 or 3 smaller chunks, this then makes it more realistic to achieve.

Process Goals - We know what we want our “finished picture” to be, but how will we get to that?  Well, by using Process goals to break down our performance goals further.  These are like mini goals, that are easily achievable, that when completed, help us to reach that Outcome Goal.

The easiest way to work out our Process goals is by doing a Goal setting Tree.  This allows us to really get to the start point of achieving our goal.

When I do Goal setting sessions with my riders, I like to ask some questions about their goal, so I can make sure that both of us really understand what the Goal is.  From here, we start to work on the Goal Tree.  This is a process that continually evolves and should never be rushed.  We should never be worried about changing our goals if they no longer work for us or if we want something different.  What we do need to make sure is that we are still excited by our goals and that we haven’t become afraid of them.


▪️Think about what you’d like to achieve, this is a good place to start when you think about goals setting.

▪️Remember the goal is YOUR goal, nobody else’s!

▪️Goals can be changed or adapted, they are not set in stone!