Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Forget the Goals

I finished The Compound Effect, recommended by my oldest son, and then hearing that we were interested in that subject, my youngest son recommended another, Atomic Habits. 

So far, there is definitely some overlap, but Atomic Habits is going off in even more mind-blowing, wonderful directions. 

Forget the goals, which motivate you temporarily, and for the wrong reasons, and go straight to the heart, the systems

Instead of saying, when I accomplish this I will be that (goal thinking), you embrace being that thing you want to be right now and changing the entire system to sync with your identity.

For example, I am studying, practicing, and playing the flute now. Therefore, I am a flutist. I am a musician. Not someday. Now.

If you’re training for a marathon, you are a runner  

The idea is that you are more likely to continue something if you embrace it as your identity. 

For example, after reading The Compound Effect, I have incorporated more exercise (with grandson), drinking lemon water, and reading spiritually and mentally uplifting things more than the daily depressing news.  

I am a healthy living person. 

Not someday. 


Once again, I got to thinking about my horse life with T Boo (Tweed), and all the others—I have goals—but what is my basic operating system?

I am a horsewoman. 

My greatest need from my horses is to connect with them. 

Way down on the totem pole is my riding relationship, yet most of my “goals” are wrapped around riding.  

What if I concentrate more on the overall system—connecting with them as much as possible?

It is freeing to think of it from a systems standpoint, rather than a “goal,” which seems temporary, utilitarian, and impersonal. The system should, if organized right, take us past the “goals,” and onto something far superior to them. 


The vet came out today and gave Epona everything she needs for training next month. She was happy to see Epona again, and as one of the team of caregivers, she had a vital part in getting her here.

In fact, a lot of people participated in getting Epona to this point in her life. It kind of feels like she’s everyone’s horse. 

We’re going to take her down on June 8th, but we will really miss her. 


  1. More quotes from the book Atomic Habits.

    New identities require new evidence. If you keep casting the same votes you’ve always cast, you’re going to get the same results you’ve always had. If nothing changes, nothing is going to change. It is a simple two-step process: Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins. First, decide who you want to be. This holds at any level—as an individual, as a team, as a community, as a nation. What do you want to stand for? What are your principles and values? Who do you wish to become?

  2. From Atomic Habits:

    “ The concept of identity-based habits is our first introduction to another key theme in this book: feedback loops. Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits. It’s a two-way street.”

  3. I love this. I hear so many horsewomen put themselves down rather than embrace who they are. It’s sad. And how is Epona old enough all ready!

    1. Yeah, and I wonder why they don’t see themselves as they are. The next step is to imagine what the person who is that thing you want to be looks like. What attributes do they have? I’m going to post about that next. But if you don’t develop those attributes, you may feel like it’s not your identity.

      Time flies! Epona is 3 at the end of May. I hope all goes well. It’s a bit nerve wracking because it’s so stressful for the young ones.

  4. Ah you have discovered one of life's greatest lessons! Be yourself, emphasis on the "be" . As far as horsemanship goes, I tend to live in the moment. There is so much fluctuation in our lives and in our horses that having hard and fast goals and plans doesn't always work. I always wanted to show my horses, in reining and/or cow work, but that never happened; instead I found my calling in raising horses for others to show. And I love it!
    Epona looks fabulous! And I love that photo of you and your "Boo", I can clearly see the connection you are building with him.

    1. Raising beautiful babies is a gift to others, like myself. You’re great at it. Such amazing horses. ❤️

      Goals. It’s kind of stressful thinking of that word. When you think systems, your body almost takes a huge exhale of relief. Oh, the system? The stuff I love to do anyway, but more of it? The “goal” is a huge mountain, but each step is simple. If you can walk you can take a step up the mountain and not only climb one, but many more.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.