Love hacking but struggle to find the motivation to get out regularly or tackle longer routes? If you’re taking on our Hack 1000 Miles challenge this year, the following tips will help ignite your enthusiasm and keep you motivated all the way to the finish line!

1 Set mini goals

Having a goal to aim for is motivational in itself — providing it’s realistic for you and it feels attainable. Breaking it down into smaller goals that lead to the big one is an effective way to get you to the finish line. For example, most of us get in more miles in the summer months as there’s more daylight. So make your mini mile goals lower in winter and higher in summer.

Taking annual leave? Set a hacking target for your time off. Able to ride more when schools break up? Set a holiday target. Nailing mini goals will keep you on track.

2 Break it down

One thousand is a big number — intimidating, even, when you’re only riding a few miles at a time. So break that number down.

  • To complete in a year, it’s 250 miles every three months.
  • That’s just over 83 miles a month, less than 20 miles a week, or 2.74 a day.
  • If you’re trying to do it in two years, those targets are 42 a month, 9.6 a week or 1.4 a day.

Suddenly it seems achievable. Look at the total you achieved last year, too (if applicable). If that was 400 miles, why not push yourself to 500 this time? Set a goal that feels achievable but that also pushes you.

3 Keep a track

Sometimes, it’s only when you look back that you realise how far you’ve come. Our #Hack1000Miles online tracker and physical tracker card are perfect for this. By recording your miles you can see just how far you’ve come — a positive mindset that will keep you motivated.

4 Take photos along the way

Take lots of photos as well as recording your miles. It might be of a particularly lovely view, a mid-hack selfie or your horse before you set off. These are lovely memories to revisit when you’re reviewing how far you’ve come — you’re essentially keeping a #Hack1000Miles diary.

Plus, if you keep snapping side-on photos of your horse, you’ll notice how much fitter they’ve become as the miles increase — possibly without you realising it. When you’ve hit your goal, you’ll have a log of your adventure.

5 Wear the right kit

Invest in decent riding clothes so you can stay comfortable whatever the weather. Waterproofs of all thicknesses and boots that neither leak nor make feet sweaty are two examples of kit that will keep you comfortable while hacking. Just remember to put your high-vis on top. Suddenly you have no good reason not to saddle up when the sun’s a no-show.

6 Reward yourself

Celebrate each milestone when you hit it. That might mean an evening on the sofa for you and an early turnout for your horse, or something tangible like a milestone rosette or little present to yourself.

Remember to share your hacking stories and photos in the Hack 1000 Miles Facebook group and you’ll be in the running for one of our monthly prizes from sponsors Wintec and Equisafety.

You might also appear in one of Your Horse’s challenger galleries or a newsletter Wall of Fame. We like to celebrate how far you’ve gone too.

7 Hold yourself accountable

Accountability is everything when it comes to setting personal goals, because ultimately the only person you have to answer to is yourself. That makes it easy to say, “Nah, not today” and stay at home instead.

This is where a bit of forward planning comes in. When you’ve set your mini goals, write them on a board somewhere you’ll see it often. Make the words large so that they’re easy to read from a distance.

You’ll need to say how far you need to ride and specify the day. You could go as far as listing your planned route too.

Choose whether planning a week, fortnight or month ahead will work better for you. Of course you may need a degree of flexibility to allow for the unexpected — a lost shoe, working late or a sick child, for example.

But if your planned ride is written down, you can reschedule, rather than not going and forgetting all about it.

The point is, you’re holding yourself accountable. It’s an effective way to stay on track.

8 Go out with friends

Arranging to meet a friend to hack out together is good fun, and it becomes a date in your diary that you’re more likely to keep so that you don’t let them down.

You may be able to show each other new routes and, if you or your horse need it, their company can be a confidence boost.

9 Have something to aim for

It could be a fun ride, your first go at Endurance GB, or just boxing up and taking your horse for a ride somewhere new. The latter is a great way to motivate yourself to hack more.

Whatever you choose, variety really is the spice of life: if you’re looking forward to doing something a bit special, you’re more likely to keep up with your hacking in the build up because you’ll need to make sure your horse (and you!) is fit enough.

10 Don’t give up

Setbacks happen — it’s life! So you’ve had to miss a ride, or your horse is out of action for a week or two, maybe longer. Look ahead to when you can get going again.

A setback isn’t a reason to quit; make it a reason to be hungrier than ever to rethink your plans and get back on track to hit your goal.

Remember, this is your journey. Enjoy it!

Lead image credit: Steven J McCormick

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