If your horse-racing resolution comes with a memorable reminder, like truck tires, fires or lipstick, you’re less likely to forget about it.
This year, set realistic goals, and use a trick from Reid McLellan to help you remember them all year long.
By C. Reid McLellan
What are we going to do this year?
New Year’s resolutions are talked about a lot in December and early January each year. It seems to me that people have gradually begun to disregard this time-honored tradition.
I remember a New Year’s youth party at my home church way back when I was a teenager. We roasted marshmallows and wieners and enjoyed a good time like teenagers will do. Around 11:30 p.m., we gathered around the fire for a devotional from our youth leader. He had us write down something we did the past year that we were not proud of – more than one would be OK, but no more than three.
We folded the paper and wrote NPO (“not proud of”) on the outside. We were the only ones who were going to see those NPO notes, so “be honest with yourself,” the leader advised. He then asked us to write on another piece of paper one main goal we would accomplish in the new year. At 11:55 p.m., we observed a quiet time, a time of silent prayer, reflection or even a brief nap for those who didn’t want to participate.
We were asked to think about what we put on our NPO page. What were the circumstances? What will you do differently next time? At 11:59 p.m., we put that NPO page in the campfire. As we watched the papers go up in smoke, we were told to let it go. At midnight, we shared Happy New Year greetings, somewhat subdued compared to most celebrations, but with smiles, tears and what appeared to be relief on some faces. We were told that “Auld Lang Syne” was about remembering old friends and good times, not NPO events.
Then, as we sang those familiar lyrics, we put our goal page into the fire.
“Giving up on my goals already?” I wondered.
No, I learned that whenever I saw smoke — from a trash fire, a chimney or even a grill — I was reminded of that one goal.
I still remember what I wrote on those slips of paper, yet I can’t remember what goals I set last year.
Yes, this is still a racing blog! The take-home message for 2012 is that each of us can make resolutions, not keep any of them and do it all over again in December. Or, we can reflect on our wagering or other actions we were not proud of in 2011, and resolve to do things differently in 2012.
I encourage you to write down one, two or no more than three things you were not proud of in 2011. Write down each NPO event and below it write a positive, declarative sentence that starts with “In 2012, I will …”
NPO: Changed wager because a friend gave me inside information about another horse.
STATEMENT: In 2012, I will follow my own handicapping to make wagering decisions. If I choose to use inside information, I will make that as an additional wager.
After spending quiet time considering your NPO list, destroy it in a way meaningful to you. Most importantly, do not keep your NPO list! Turn it loose and let it go! Write down one major goal that is specific and attainable. “Make a profit every time I go to the race track” is too general. “Make an average profit of $100 per visit to the race track” is more specific and attainable. This will be our playing goal for this blog and, in addition to some training and horse talk, I will blog about wagering plans that can help us attain that goal in 2012. Do something creative so that you will have a daily reminder. You can do the fire and smoke reminder or something that works for you. Some life coaches have clients write down goals on sticky notes and stick them on their bathroom mirror. Some like to place notes on the fridge with a magnet. To be different, write your goal in lipstick. Then when you see a lipstick commercial, an ad in a magazine or pass a lipstick display at a store, you will be reminded of your goal.
Speaking of goals, R.D. Hubbard set — and achieved — countless business goals in the horse-racing industry. Get the FREE Hubbard: Success in Business report today, and learn the secrets to his success.
So, what did I write on my blog goal piece of paper for 2012?
“Submit one blog for each month in 2012.” How will I remember? I rolled over my piece of paper with my truck and put a big tire print on it. Keep track of how many months this blog appears to judge the success of this reminder!
As executive director of The Elite Program, C. Reid McLellan organizes and teaches Groom, Owner and Trainer Elite classes around the country. Find out about the next available class here!
As owner and agent of Purple Power Equine Services, Reid helps people buy and sell race and show prospects and provides guidance and assistance with training, breeding and other equine services.