Laura spoke to the Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training (WIT) program participants early Wednesday morning in the barn at Hampton Green Farm, home to the WIT kids and their horses. Her weekly talks throughout the season are based on her book, “The Power To Win: Achieving Peak Performance with Hypnosis and NLP.”
Wednesday’s presentation focused on goal setting and determining challenges as well as training your brain. Goal setting and achieving requires dedication, perseverance and, most importantly, a plan.
“A goal is something you INTEND to achieve,” she said. “A dream is something you would LIKE to achieve.”
The difference? Goals have a specific outcome and time frame. Outcomes are measurable, reachable and worded in the positive. Remember to state your goals as outcomes. Be as specific as possible in describing exactly what it is you wish to achieve. Putting a time frame to your outcomes is what allows you to develop a plan.
When it comes to determining your goals, you must first assess your challenges. Monitor what they are in your physical state, inner monolog, focus, emotional state, mental state, and expectations. After determining your challenges, you can then work out your goals. Then, Laura suggested the participants make a list of outcomes to be achieved in ONE MONTH as they pertain to the above-stated goals.
For example, your challenge for your physical state may be that you want to transition from tense to relaxed. Perhaps you say to yourself, “Every time I ride in a competition, I freeze up! My stomach tightens, my breath gets quick and shallow and I cannot concentrate.” So then, the desired physical state outcome would be, “Every time I get on the horse, I am calm. I breathe freely and easily and I feel completely relaxed.”
Next, Laura explained about self-talk. As your own most important critic, it is crucial to your success that you teach yourself to recognize unfair self-criticism and turn it into empowering self-talk. The key to influencing positive self-talk is all about your inner dialogue. For example, you may say, “I really don’t do well in competition. I hate having others watch me. What if I don’t do well? All of these riders are better than me.” Instead, you need to change your inner dialogue into positive self-talk. For example, say, “Every time I get on the horse, I realize that I am naturally talented and I ride well. I imagine myself riding as I am supposed to. I enjoy myself every time I ride.”
When you find that your self-talk includes negativity, Laura suggested using the words, “Cancel, cancel, cancel,” and “Purple elephant.” The purple elephant mantra takes away the emotional responses and allows the brain to disassociate. “If you don’t like what you are saying, erase,” she said. “What this is about being in control.”
Next, she explained about anchoring. Anchoring is a technique that creates a response through the use of association. Based on classical behavior conditioning, anchoring involves creating a trigger that is connected to a desired response. The trigger completely bypasses your conscious mind and creates an instant reaction.
Anchors can be just about anything, a touch (when you take the reins), a sight (when you see the clock in your classroom) or a complex set of movements (when you go down centerline). The key is to attach the anchor to a desired emotional response. For example, when you take the reins, you immediately relax. Or every time you sit in the saddle, you breathe.
“I have found that anchoring is the tool that creates the most powerful and lasting changes in my clients,” Laura said. “Anchoring creates an instant reaction because it bypasses your conscious mind. The key is to attach the anchor to a desired emotional response.”