Confidence is just one of those things that seems like you have it or you don’t. It always seems like there are people we just wake up in the morning oozing confidence, it is something they were born with. But let’s get real, it’s something that is practiced every day. Confidence is a habit, it is a choice, and sometimes it is really hard to summon, even for those people that have “it.”
So how do you “practice” confidence? Well, there is a gluttony of literature online of how to be confident, “Do These 3 Things Every Day and Be a Movie Star” article, and videos all over YouTube preaching self-love. And while all of these things are great, you are sometimes left with this feeling of “now what?” To practice confidence, you need a plan. A plan that is detailed and can be executed day in and day out. And one way to practice confidence day in and day out on a detailed plan is through exercise.
How many of you have seen Legally Blonde? Ok, do not be ashamed because that is one of my guilty pleasure chick flicks. But for those of you that have (and if you haven’t I totally recommend you do…it’s worth it) I want you to think back on one scene in particular. Reece Witherspoon’s character is defending an accused person of murder by this statement: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” There is a lot of truth to that. When you work out or simply just move your body releases endorphins, which are your “feel good” hormone. So, you naturally feel good from moving which is one way to raise your confidence. Moving your body will improve your mood and raise confidence levels. But how else can working out improve your confidence?
Let’s look at one of the not so obvious ways. When we set out to exercise, we typically are creating a task. It is on our to do list for that day. When we accomplish that work out, we achieve that goal or task. Boom, instant gratification in that we are completing what we are setting out to do. Accumulate that over a period of weeks, months, and years, we are little bad asses who complete tasks! On the other hand, if we say we’re going to work out but never do, we are destroying our confidence a little at a time because we are not honoring our own word. So, set a task, go complete it and feel the instant gratification when you get to cross it off your list. Let those victories add up over time and revel in the confidence that comes.
One of the more obvious reasons working out is great for your confidence is that when you see the physical changes in the mirror, in your clothes or on the scale it makes you feel good. Your goal might be to lose body fat, improve cardiovascular endurance, or put on a bunch of muscle, and as you inch closer to your goal, your confidence begins to increase alongside your physical improvements.
So how might all of this relate to horses or your riding? Horses are incredibly sensitive creatures. They can feel the slightest of changes and that includes the way you present yourself to them. If you have a real touchy horse, do you think they will respect you if you are easily intimidated and insecure? No, they probably won’t. Let me give you an example: my mare Whoopie had me so badly intimidated I was to the point of wanting to sell her. After some major life events, my confidence was shot to pieces in every aspect of my life. We didn’t get along and we were aiming for a wreck. But, as time went on and I decided to keep her, I slowly began to gain confidence again. When I got myself back in the gym, consistently practiced healthy eating, and did daily tasks that made me feel good, my confidence increased to where I believe in myself and I believe in my horse. In fact, we’re entering our first horse show in 4 weeks.
There is nothing wrong with fear and insecurities. Everybody has them. But it does matter what you do to improve upon them. Are you trying to be better and do the things that will help you improve? Or are you using that insecurities and fear as a crutch to keep you from trying? Don’t let those negatives hold you back from the life you wish to live! This is your time! So, let’s move, let’s grow our confidence and let’s go ride!
Are you ready to ride?