[MotivationMonday] Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light. Madeleine L'Engle

Here we go, this is the third consecutive year I am posting about Blue Monday! Let me introduce the idea of Blue Monday once again as written on this blog first in 2013 (read here and last year's post here):

In 2005, psychologist Cliff Arnal published a formula that was supposed to show the most depressing day of the year. That day is depending on things like weather conditions, debt (just heard today on the radio that many people here in debt for their Christmas presents expenses now being delivered in form of credit card bills), time passed by since Christmas (I remember as it was yesterday, the Christmas tree still in my living room) and the, for most of us, fact that we don’t like Mondays (Tell me why…). His (maybe not that scientific´?!) formula showed that all that comes down to the third Monday of January – so, today!
Why the long face?

Last year, Blue Monday was actually a good one as you might remember Hafl was recovering well from his surgery (more here). This year, let us go back to the idea of Blue Monday being one of the most depressing days of the year. Depressing means that we lose sight, that we feel sad, that we lower in spirits, that we weaken. That happens to all of us, some more some less. Finding your motivation again in such phases is key. Easier said than done.

I have talked lots and lots on goals and how important they are but losing motivation over time makes the easiest goals unreachable. So what does one have to do to stay motivated, to keep the level of ambitiousness?

Patricia from The Dressage Tipster defines motivation in her book The Crystal System as follows:

Motivation is the force that initiates, guides and maintains your behavior.

So, no matter how sad you feel you need to get going and push the reset button.

1. Failure is not an end, it is a beginning. 
Whenever in life I stumbled upon which was supposed to be a failure, it was AT least the beginning of a learning process. Not being able to do proper canter walk transitions led to deeper investigations on what I have to change in my training, looking for more input on how to do them differently, on what needs to be done upfront. Not being able now to get clear flying changes led to discovering new and alternative ways to make Hafl sit more, to be more straight, to be more on my aids to get that stupid change done. What works on one day might not work on the next, but never mind, it starts yet another circle of solution finding.

2. Do not over-analyze - start acting
I am the first one to admit that I am guilty of this. Sometimes, my thought circle around a topic and I forget to feel. So what you need to do in this case to do the movement again without too much thinking but just doing. And you will feel what went wrong and probably be able to do it better the next time.

3. Never compare yourself to others
I have talked about that already. The only person you could really compare to is yourself - how can you know that the other rider in the ring has the same circumstances than you? You can't. So you cannot judge that others have an advantage or disadvantage - but you should be able to see progress in what you are doing - independently what others are doing and how others are performing.

4. Aim for progress, not perfection
It may seem that during our lives (especially in Dressage of course), we only take baby steps. But remember that these baby steps will eventually lead somewhere. Sure, doing big jumps would lead to quicker results - but honestly,

5. Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them. Anonymous
I've never heard of anybody achieving his or her riding goals by just sitting there and waiting (for sure, writing a letter to the Universe could help - but you need to start working for it anyway). I will show third level this year. I will not care that maybe only one flying change will work. Why? Because there is a tiny likelihood that we will succeed, that both changes will work, that we get marks for our now already much improved half passes. Is there a chance that we fail? Sure, but that will not keep us from trying further. I am still aiming for Grand Prix. Not today, not in 5 years, maybe not even with Hafl.

6. Nothing lasts forever
That one is two-fold: one the one hand, good things do not last forever, but on the other hand, nor do bad things. So no need to worry, even if you have a bad phase like I experience now every 3rd to 6th ride when NOT A SINGLE change is through, remember it is just a phase. It will stop one day and it might come back in some sort and form another day, month or year. But it is not going to last forever. And whenever I am about to stop trying, Hafl shows me consecutive good flying changes at first try.

There is about 3 hours of this day to go in Western Europe - so we are already almost through this Blue Monday. And be honest, it could have been worst. So stop complaining, life is good!

Stop for a moment and think why you have started it all

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