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Human beings are creatures of habit. Rather than looking for change, we generally prefer things to stay the same. However, change is an important part of growing and, therefore, necessary.

If you keep doing the same things you will get the same outcomes. If you keep training in the same way you easily get stuck in the same problems.

Change is essential to keep things fresh and clear.

So, how can we become more comfortable with change and how do we make the unknown our friend rather than fearing it?

The first step is to understand where the reluctance to change comes from.

The reluctance to change can be linked to a fear that results from:

  • Bad experiences with change in the past (yours or of others).
  • Lack of experience in changing or having been too much of the same.
  • Holding on to the past and not wanting to let go.
  • A lack of belief in yourself and, therefore, doubt and fear of making new decisions.

So, how do we conquer these fears?

Bad experiences with change in the past

Our thoughts can easily get stuck on the bad experiences and this leads to us re-living these memories over and over again. You have to remember, however, that for every bad memory there are also countless good memories.

Start by reminding yourself of a time when you changed something and it led to a good outcome.

This could be a big change or just a little change, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to recall the positive memories around change.

And don’t just think of the positive changes you have made in your riding but also all the positive changes in other areas of your life.

Lack of experience in changing

This can easily happen when we have been avoiding change for a long time and we have been getting stuck in the same thing for a long time.

If this is you, then start slowly. Change can be achieved one small step at a time, there’s no need to take big leaps.

When we attempt too much too quick we can easily set ourselves up for failure. The fear sets in and we stop again. This creates more negative memories and makes change even harder.

Rather than sabotage yourself take your time and change one thing at a time.

Holding on to the past and not wanting to let go

Ask yourself, what are you holding on to? The fear in this case is generally not fear of the change itself but, more likely, what you might lose when you make changes.

This is why the next question needs to be: Are you really losing something when you undergo change?
Instead of thinking of losing, can you change and think about it as growing, building on or expanding?

Lack of belief in yourself and therefore doubt and fear of making new decisions

There is never a guarantee that your change will be successful but that’s never a good enough reason to avoid change altogether.

Change doesn’t mean you jump blindly into it without thinking. Change can be thought through and planned. Make the best decision possible and trust your own instinct.

Think about the decisions you are about to make and put yourself into your shoes 10 years from now…

How will you feel about it and, how do you think your decision to change will have worked out?

Making change happen

To help you act on making changes think about your previous patterns of avoiding changes.

If you know you are good at procrastination, set deadlines.

If you have talked yourself out of making changes, remember all the good changes you have made in the past.

If you doubt that you can make the change get support from family and friends

Change is necessary for progress so let’s make sure that change becomes your friend rather then remains your enemy.

Happy riding everyone!


It Takes Two To TangoWe recommend:
It Takes Two to Tango: Discover How to Unlock Your Horse’S Potential

In her latest book, Tanja offers a valuable self-development tool, empowering the rider to take control and ownership of their riding, and assist in finding a solid training foundation from which to build. Inside this book, you’ll learn:

  • Rider’s Training Scale, a guideline for correct riding;
  • Horse’s Training Scale, a training guideline on how to correctly educate a horse while keeping the rider’s position in mind;
  • Mindset Training Scale, a guideline for riders, coaches, and trainers to help them to understand and work through personal issues.
Tanja Mitton

Tanja Mitton is a riding coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) master coach with over 25 years of coaching and competition experience. She has been working with the Australian high performance squad as a mindset coach and, in 2012, was invited to the Australian Institute of Sport to present a workshop on how to improve the Mindset of Australian Coaches. Author of the book ‘Seven Steps to the Mindset of an Equestrian Champion’, Tanja conducts clinics all around Australia and her seminars have been approved by Equestrian Australia for NCAS coach accreditation points.

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