There’s a big difference between wanting to change, and actually doing what it takes to change. Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution only to fall back into old habits before the end of January? Statistics show that only 8% of people who make resolutions stick to their commitment.
In golf, your desire to improve your swing just isn’t enough. The key to success is positively focused action. If you’ve been frustrated by a lack of progress with your swing, then perhaps you’re missing the right focus formula.
Two Ways You May Be Preventing Your Success
1 – Your Fixation on the Flaw
It seems logical that in order to improve you must be focused on how to eliminate the flaw in your swing. Unfortunately, centering your attention on what you don’t want to do, or how to avoid repeating a mistake makes it that much harder to change your behavior for the better.
I work with a lot of golfers who struggle with various swing issues, including the yips, in some cases with nearly every club in the bag. The first step to overcoming a fear-induced tension, flinch, or glitch in the swing is to stop thinking about it. Though at first glance that statement may seem impossible to some, I want you to see how you may be perpetuating the very issue you wish to resolve.
Below are examples of comments I’ve heard from frustrated clients over the years —
- “I’ve been struggling with this for so long and nothing I’ve tried is working.”
- “I can’t control it — it just happens.”
- “My playing partners cringe watching me swing like this.”
In each statement the golfer’s thoughts focused are on the flaw, rather than the solution. You cannot successfully and sustainably create change unless you singularly focus on what you WANT to do, rather than what you wish to stop doing. This is the essence of positively focused action.
If you are battling a persistent hiccup in your swing, for a change try thinking about the behavior you want to produce that is the exact opposite of the glitch you hate. For example, instead of thinking, “I’ve got to stop rushing my swing,” a positively focused action thought is, “I will swing easy and smooth.”
2 – Your Perfectionistic Expectations
Your desire to improve can also skew how you measure success. Overcoming a swing challenge cannot be limited to swinging with perfection. Golf is not a game of perfect, so to expect consistent perfection in your execution simply sets the bar beyond reach. Unattainable goals foster chronic disappointment and frustration because you are always coming up short. To overcome this bad thought habit, you must be on the lookout for the small, subtle improvements, rather than dramatic advances.
I was recently working with a club member on implementing a new thought habit to reduce the tension he was feeling with his driver. After some incremental success in our playing lesson where the new thought habit led to a more relaxed and solid swing, my client was feeling optimistic about being able to reproduce the improvement in his next round with his buddies. When we later spoke about his round he told me it was a disaster with the driver once again. When I dug deeper, he admitted that he only hit four disappointing shots with the driver and the rest were generally where he wanted them to end up the fairway. His desire to be 100% free of the old habit was unrealistic.
How often do you hold yourself to a similar, unnecessarily high standard that blinds you to the incremental improvements you’re making? You must learn to set your sights on baby step improvements that you can actually achieve inside one round. The more realistic your goals, the more often you will find yourself succeeding through 18 holes.
You are the author of your thoughts, so don’t allow your intense desire to improve keep you focused on the problem(s) you think you have with your swing. Here are two simple reminders to help you take more positively focused action in your game:
#1 – Where your focus goes, your body will follow, so limit your thoughts to what you want to do.
#2 – Measure your improvement by tracking how many times you incrementally do things better.
If you are ready to take more active control over your game, then commit to learning how to direct your thinking using my proven mental game formula. It’s never too late to discover the simple tactics to play great. To find out more, give me a call at 239-431-6810.