A Year of Great Expectation

A year begins with great expectations. It may be a resolution, a hope for better things to come or plans to change. Inevitably we look forward and focus on what we want to do differently however a new year also provides the opportunity to reflect and acknowledge what we have accomplished.

In a previous article, Why Positive Change is Hard I quoted David Rock on The New Science of Change. Rock suggests that our brain is wired to avoid change as learning requires new circuits to be created in our brains and that is energy intensive, referring to existing patterns isn’t. The brain’s natural default is to use less energy.

Rock uses a simple metaphor for brain development “New circuits are like delicate seedlings, requiring careful watering and care.” and suggests the solution of a mere ten seconds of reflection a day to help develop new circuits. That 10 second rule is the reason that posting a quote, a phrase or a reminder on their desktop, fridge or mirror is so effective in helping us achieve a goal. The simple act of repetition helps the brain develop the new circuits required to develop a new behaviour or habit.

We are naturally resistant to change and ironically don’t like to admit it. It took me a long time to recognise I am a creature of habit. I don’t believe my answers to many of the psychometric tests taken over the years honestly reflect that, but you can’t argue with absolute proof, ten years of feeding horses two to three times a day no matter the weather is routine.

Stepping outside the comfort zone of routine is harder than I expected. My natural inclination is to come up with the reasons why I might as well not bother going to that event in town be it weather, traffic, time, I’d have to change, it falls about the same time I should be feeding or I haven’t paid yet so no big loss. Trust me I have become the master of excuses. So this year my resolution is to reach out to the many I have made virtual connections with. New or renewed, one person at a time, I am making that commitment. While social networking may be huge I’m still a fan of the power of personal connection, that is after all, what we speak to in our programs.

Sometimes creating a new habit is easier than we think it might be. When all appeared to be overwhelming for me as a teen, my mom suggested that I write down a list of the good things I could be thankful for in one column and what was bothering me in the other. Needless to say the list of good things was lengthy and the four items on the bad, didn’t seem quite so daunting. It is a simple task I continue to carry with me – My expectations for 2010 were many. I have succeeded with some, fallen short on others but acknowledging what I have achieved goes a long way to inspiring what I can do this year.

Last year I :
• created a Year of Inspirations ebook (if you didn’t receive a copy I would be happy to send it to you)
• completed & launched the facilitators guide – Creating Exceptional Leaders through learning with horses (it is for sale on my website)
• helped raise over $26k for Inn from the Cold (a non-profit foundation for homeless families)
• participated in the first Canadian Cowboy Up Challenge
• started four 3 yr old colts and continue to bring them along
• worked with two horses for friends (I am most proud of how well that has worked out)
• produced a monthly newsletter & (almost) weekly inspiration
• continued to develop 11 other horses
• nursed two horses back to health from rather ugly looking injuries (one my fault; one I inherited)
• added two new horses to the herd
• added four new clients to my horsemanship coaching
• travelled to Montana for a Buck Brannaman clinic
• read many new books on horsemanship
• expanded my leadership library and reading
• completed the script for an online video (the taping will now have to be a 2011 activity)
• completed numerous sketches of the herd
• added three new clients to my corporate programming
• ran three successful sessions for the University of Calgary
• ran a pilot for the Rotary Club of Calgary Stay in School program
• launched the Lead Mare mentorship program for youth
• ran the first Yoga for you & Your Horse session
• offered two conference presentations
• spent three days with six horses down at the Stampede grounds
• continued to feed, trim and care for the herd now totalling 17, 365 days of the year

If I can do that, the simple act of reaching out seems to be an attainable goal.

Implementing change begins with recognising what you are good at and building realistic expectations from there, then create the reminders you need to accomplish them. So I have posted a question for myself – Who am I connecting with this week on my desktop and to begin the year I have created another ebook. A Year of Great Expectation is a compilation of essays, quotes and images from newsletters and inspirations from the past year.

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