A long time ago, I did a post about what I call the 15-minute rule. On days when I don't really feel like riding or working with a horse, but the weather and footing conditions are OK, I try to get out there and do something - anything - for at least 15 minutes. You'd be surprised how much you can get done in 15 minutes, and sometimes if I just work for 15 minutes that breaks the ice and and I can continue on to do more. That's the basic version of the 15-minute rule as applied to horses.
I use variations of this rule in other contexts, often not horse-related. If I have a task to do that I really don't want to do, I use the 15-minute rule. Let's say I need to work on my tax return (ugh) - I'll plan to do it for 15 minutes and then, if I'm still hating it, give myself permission to wrap up for that day and do some more another day. Sometimes once I get going I can keep going, but I don't have to unless I feel like it.
Sometimes I use it as a challenge - say for speed - let's say I need to walk out the door to go somewhere in 20 minutes - I'll use 15 minutes of that to see how much I can get done before I have to leave - say, unloading the dishwasher, folding clothes, straightening the house, paying some bills, you name it.
If I'm having a particularly busy day with little time for fun, I try to give myself 15-minute intervals to do something I enjoy as a break - say, having a nice cup of tea or reading a book. It can make an otherwise difficult, too-busy day a bit more pleasant.
I use the 15-minute rule when I'm trying to establish a new, good habit. Often, if I can start out with a new habit for just 15 minutes at a regular time of day, the good habit will take hold and be easier to expand - in fact it'll often expand to take more time on its own.
I also use the 15-minute rule to deal with temptations. Let's say there's a piece of cake in the refrigerator that I want to eat. Instead of just reaching for the cake, I just sit quietly for 15 minutes and allow myself to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling about the cake - hunger, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, whatever it may be - without guilt and without judging. Sometimes the desire to eat the cake goes away - allowing myself to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling does the trick. Sometimes it doesn't and I just go ahead and eat the cake after 15 minutes. And when I do eat the cake, I try to pay attention to it and really enjoy it - no reading, watching TV, etc. For me the trick is no guilt trips and allowing myself to appreciate the experience.
Just some thoughts for a cold, windy Saturday morning in March.