Say what you will about New Year’s resolutions, but I love ‘em. I understand that they’re not for everybody, and there was a time long, long ago when I, too, turned my nose up because I was always #livingmybestlife and I ‘didn’t need a calendar day to help me get my act together’. But then I became older than 16 whole years old and realized that… yes, I do.
These days I’ll happily embrace any reason to take five and turn inward, considering how I can improve myself, my relationships (human and equine), and my contributions to the world around me. So, if nothing else, New Year’s resolutions are a prompt to complete this exercise.
There’s a big ‘but’ here in the way I formulate my res list. Let me Simon Sinek you for a moment: the why behind each goal for 2019 has to come before the how if you want that sucker to stick. Maybe instead of the classic “I will lose 10 pounds”, you’ll take a more active role in your success by saying, “I’m improving my athleticism in the saddle in 2019, and one way I’m doing that is by working to become a bit leaner.” I’m no guru but after years of writing down resolutions, I’ve found that my Type A personality cannot handle rigid resolutions like “I’ll meditate and center myself every morning” because the one morning I miss it, I throw the baby out with the bath water and call it a failure.
Can’t think of a resolution worth writing? Ask yourself: what’s the best thing that could happen in 2019? Go from there. Dream big, ya’ll.
Photo by Sophie Harris.
So with that, here are my personal resolutions for 2019, followed by the rest of the glorious editorial team’s here at NF. Here’s to living the life you once dreamed of. Cheers!
Caroline Culbertson, Editor-in-Chief:
- Friends and family are top priority above all else. One of the worst things about creeping your way up the ranks of adulthood is seeing your parents age. My dad had major, life-altering surgery near the end of this year and it rocked my world. We’re not here forever, and there’s nothing more important than friends and family. My resolution is to make a concerted effort to spend quality time with friends and family, even if it means traveling or going offline for a day or two. It’s so important.
- Anxious ain’t no way to live your life. My 2018 was a great one for me personally and professionally, and it’s humbling to admit that it was also fraught with anxiety. It’s hard for me to say that because I worry it comes across like I’m not immensely grateful for the blessings the year brought me, and that’s not true. I’m learning that it’s possible (and totally okay) to be simultaneously anxious and grateful for the sources of your anxiety. But… in order to maintain some equilibrium in life and not tip the teeth-chattering, heart-racing scale too far, it’s important to say no to things sometimes. My resolution is to recognize that I’m prone to saying yes to things that tip that scale too far, and continue to learn to say no. Sometimes when you say no, it makes room for someone else (who may be very deserving) to say yes.
Photo by Judith Kuivenhoven.
Leslie Threlkeld, Managing Editor:
At the beginning of 2018, I set a goal to take two jumping lessons a month, but I only managed to take two jumping lessons the entire year. I also wanted to compete my horse Beau, but the one event I entered I had to scratch from. So instead of setting specific targets in 2019, I want to be resolute in my mindset.
First, it’s worth looking back at the great things that did happen last year. I built a stronger partnership with Beau because I stopped trying to rush his physical strength and development. I also confirmed my long held suspicion that he would love foxhunting. Though the weather of late has prevented us from riding to hounds as much as we’d like, I know I’ve found his calling. In 2019, my resolution is to become a more active and better educated horsewoman but be less concerned with getting back to competing.
My husband and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary and first year in our own house on our own farm. But due to packed work schedules and unforeseen circumstances, we didn’t travel together as much as we normally do, we didn’t enjoy the incredible landscape of Western North Carolina as much as we should have – which is the whole reason we moved here in the first place – and we didn’t make as much progress developing the farm as we intended. In 2019, I will hike to more waterfalls and get a move on the home improvements.
This isn’t a resolution but something I’m constantly trying to remind myself to be conscious of, and that’s to be a good person. Be nice, set a good example, remember that everyone is going through something, good or bad, and be sensitive to how that affects them. There is a lot of ugly in the world. Be someone’s reason to smile.
Photo by Sportfot.
Lizzy Youngling, Daily Editor:
I know this may sound surprising, but I haven’t ridden a horse since I was on the University of Virginia Equestrian Team in 2015. I’m not sure if that even counts since I could only fit in one lesson a month due to my busy rowing schedule. Shocking, I know. Although I sold my gorgeous Butet saddle last year (used it a total of 20 times) and my tall boots and helmet are collecting dust in the attic, this year my resolution is to get back in the saddle, and if I’m feeling bold, compete in a horse show (jumpers preferred. YOLO).
Although I hate to admit it, this year had more downs than ups for me. I was pursuing my dream of competing at the Olympic Games, but as injuries piled up and my love of rowing diminished, I made the difficult decision to retire from the sport that I dedicated so many years to. As that chapter of my book closed, a new one opened at Noëlle Floyd that I am immensely grateful for. Despite my retirement from the sport, I am now able to pursue other dreams and goals; one of which is to run the New York City Marathon. My resolution is to get in “fighting” shape for running a marathon in less than three hours and thirty minutes. It’s kind of terrifying for me to type that, but go big or go home, right?
Photo by Sportfot.
Erin Lane, Director, NF.insider
The New Year is one of my favorite things to consciously celebrate. I’m 100 percent that weird California girl with shelves full of crystals and palo santo and a carefully orchestrated full moon ritual. But it’s not all for show – I’m the kind of person who can forget to be present pretty easily. I’ve always been goal oriented, probably (definitely) to a fault. Most of my life has been spent aggressively chasing the milestones and markers that I believed would lead me to “success”. With 2018 being the first year of my thirties, I’ve started to learn the importance of truly living right where you are. This year marked a lot of big things for me: I finally found my dream job here at NF, I moved into a new home, lost my childhood mentor and trainer to cancer, found my true ‘tribe’ of horse crazy women, slowly started to climb out of debt, sent my horse off to a year-long sabbatical, went back to the hunters on the nicest borrowed horse I’ll ever ride, got diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of incorrect diagnosis, and let go of a lot of things that didn’t serve me.
After a few of the most transformative years to date, my goal looking to 2019 is to stop chasing success and let it come to me instead – by living authentically, with purpose, and appreciating each step of the journey. That means more intention in everything that I do, focusing on the joy of the process instead of just the end result, practicing daily gratitude, solidifying my mediation practicing, getting outside every day, spending more time with the people I care about, and having a lot of FUN… with work, riding, and everything in between.
Riding is my biggest passion, and it’s also my therapy. However, after competing for most of my life, I get caught up in the progression, ribbons, and results and forget to soak up the magic of living a life with horses. I let that go a little bit during 2018 since I was half-leasing/borrowing a horse from my trainer and best friend that I wasn’t able to show above 3’ since I wasn’t in a full lease. Prior to this, I was pushing myself and my young jumper to move up quickly, feeling embarrassed to be showing at the lower levels when I used to be a competitor in the bigger classes. Riding someone else’s horse, who is absolutely the fanciest animal I’ll probably ever ride, reminded me to appreciate the little things. Flatwork became fun again, and jumps of any size became a chance to push myself to become the best rider I could be without worrying about the fences – plus, just have fun finding a rhythm and being in the flow. Still, though, I found myself frustrated over mistakes at shows, feeling like I ‘should be better’.
It wasn’t until I embarked on a work trip to Zapata Ranch in Colorado that I realized what I was missing: I had forgotten how lucky I am just to be with horses every day. Riding cow ponies through the sand dunes and sagebrush fields, not caring about results or really anything other than the moment, reinvigorated that love for horses that drove me as a little kid to spend all day at the barn. My resolution for 2019 is to bring that feeling to life in every interaction I have with horses – to let go of my attachment to jumping bigger, riding better, winning more – and just have the best time being around these four-legged magical creatures that I’m so blessed to have in my life. It doesn’t mean I won’t be chasing goals; I still have big dreams. It just means I’ll try to remember why I fell in love with these animals in the first place. I also desperately want to figure out how to live on horse property and have a few trail horses, but that might be one for a few years in the future.
Feature photo by Ben Clark.