I started writing this blog post thinking about routine - how important it is to me, how it grounds me and allows me to be more productive. You see, I was thinking that my lack of routine was the reason I was not getting more done, and then I dug a little deeper.
Turns out, I'm using routine as an excuse. Don't get me wrong, I am a habit-loving girl who likes a good structure, but it wasn't the reason I wasn't getting traction.
Specifically, as it relates to training my dogs, I had all these plans about how I was going to use time away from home to put some extra effort in with my dogs. Work on Indie's articles and go-outs; hone Moxie's heeling; put a recall on the baby. I have to admit, lately training my dogs has been a to-do item that's been to-not. I'm not enrolled in classes and so there's no accountability. My conditioning and training are lacking an urgency so I find I'm putting it off for later. "I have time," I think to myself.
But time slips easily by us and before we know it we are rushing - entering a dog that's not ready, pushing through our conditioning pan, training with frustration. It's not the dog's goals, after all!
the other day I worked Moxie in a new setting and had to admit to myself that she is too young - both in age and experience - to seriously think about entering her in obedience at our specialty in April. She won't even be 18 months then and there's no reason to rush, but I was disappointed just the same. Could she have been ready? Maybe, but my goals were bigger than my reality and my training has fallen short as well.
So what's my point?
If we are going to stay on track and/or not set ourselves up for disappointment then we have to be realistic about dreams that turn into goals that become milestones. The reason I am such a big fan of having a planner system is it takes those big goals all the way down to a weekly view. What gets attention gets results.
The other thing we have to do is find our own "why." I talk a lot about our (big) WHY being the reason we even compete with our dogs, but this "little why" is the motivator towards a specific milestone or title. One Q-client knows that if she doesn't have an imminent reason to work on something (say, an upcoming trial), she just can't motivate to train. I get it, and we've all been there. You either have to find your why or you have to ask yourself how badly you really want the result.
For Moxie, I'm reframing and being more realistic. I thought that because she's been such a quick study that she would easily be ready to shine on the big stage. A more realistic - and loving - assessment tells me she's smart and talented enough but deserves some more time to grow up. So I went back into my planner and adjusted her annual goals as well as her weekly training. Basically, I removed the pressure from both - hmmm.
On some level, I knew I was chasing the wrong goals and no routine was going to get me there. Take the action item this week to make sure your goals align with your whys before you assign yourself too many to-dos!