Most of us including many of the most talented professional golfers have been guilty of self-destructive behavior caused not by their swing or strategy, but their emotions. So how can we improve?
You hear much about the swing and mental aspects of golf, but precious little about how to approach the game emotionally. Apart from mental strategies and physical execution, trust plays the unspoken key to playing to your abilities. When you approach a golf shot, have you given yourself permission or are you playing from fear?
Take a conscious “YES Attitude” into every shot. This means that you are truly committed and determined to hit the shot you intended. You have a green light to take action. This is trust. Say “Yes!” quietly to yourself before you set up to your shot.
Will you incorporate or practice this concept on every shot? Probably you will not at first and maybe not even for a while. Changing our habits takes time. As important as your score, you would be well served to begin keeping track on your scorecard of how many times you were truly committed and positive about playing your shot – and you indeed said “Yes.” You may continue to experience lapses, but by charting this, your awareness grows and your brain begins to carve new neuro-pathways.
So what about the negative thoughts? Recognize and reboot when they enter. Or say: “Cancel, Cancel” silently to yourself and briefly step away from the shot. Allow your mind to clear and then repurpose with a positive “Yes Attitude.” If that doesn’t work, recognize your negativity and be patient with it. Don’t fight it. In golf, focusing your eyes on your target or line of play will often allow this negativity to dissipate.
This strategy can work in life beyond the golf course. Scientists estimate that we have between 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and that two-thirds of them are limiting and negative. Many of the others are neutral, but can also have non-operating consequences. When you make a conscious effort to insert a truly positive emotive thought, you improve your chances to not only elevate your game, but your life.