[Practical exercise] - Your 2022 animal training goals, Splitting not lumping ?

Happy 2022!

I feel the start of a new year can offer a time of contemplation about what we would ideally like to achieve over the next 12 months. Consequently, I thought I would share this practical exercise to help you work through splitting down larger, more lofty goals, into smaller more achievable approximations – using the following 5 step process…

Step 1:
Imagine you have unlimited time, money and resources and can do anything you want!

On a blank piece of paper, write down all of the things you would like to do with your animals (training & behaviour related)!

Step 2:
Then split this list into the things you think you would like/are most likely to achieve in the next three months! Place these items under a heading short term goals … & everything else can go under the heading long term goals.

Step 3:
Then when you have your short term goals, the successive approximation is to do a five-week plan. When I say the five-week plan – what I mean is … look at your list of short term goals and write down what you will achieve towards working on these goals over the next five weeks, like this;

* Week 1) What will you aim to achieve?
* Week 2) What will you aim to achieve?
* Week 3) What will you aim to achieve?
* Week 4) What will you aim to achieve?
* Week 5) What will you aim to achieve?

Step 4:
After five weeks is up, review and do the next five weeks.

Step 5:
Once three months has gone by, review your list. Cross off the things you have achieved from your short term goals and move over new items from the long term list to the short term list. (And feel free to add new items to the long term goals list).

Doing this exercise is an attempt to do what we do with our animals, splitting our goals into smaller & smaller approximations. Generally, I find the first time we do this – that our goals over the five weeks are much larger than we can achieve with our available resources. Therefore, using this process can help us to concentrate on smaller approximations.

And then another benefit of this exercise is valuing the importance of looking at all the things we achieve and celebrating them ALL – no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. I say this because all of the time and energy we put into our goals – is, in my personal opinion – approximations towards our larger goals!

Even if we haven’t necessarily achieved what we set out to … my thoughts are that (more than likely) you will be in a position to move forward with more information than you had before and consequently make smarter decisions. #Celebrateapproximations

Let me know what you think and/or if you have any questions, and I look forward to seeing your lists (and am grateful for your feedback on this idea).

Best Regards
Ryan Cartlidge
Animal Training Academy

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