Archived Newsletters - AUTUMN GOLF IS A TIME FOR REFLECTION :
Newsletter November 2022
Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Mother Nature has put on her absolute best show this autumn by covering the landscape with every imaginable bright color.The cool, crisp air enriches and stimulates our senses. We are surrounded by mountain views that look like colorful handmade quilts. These are the warm memories that will carry us through the winter until the warmth and new growth of Spring returns.
The fall weather has brought sub-freezing temperatures at night causing morning fog and frost on the greens delaying tee times until the sun and temperatures rise. The deciduous trees have displayed leaves in spectacular colors which are now falling off with the rain and wind. With our greenskeepers using leaf blowers, golfers no longer have to hunt for their golf balls in the fallen leaves.
Now is a good time to reflect on all that the summer golf season held for you. It is a perfect time to look back on how you played. Reframe all the disappointing times into learning experiences into what you want to accomplish in the future. If your scores didn't go down, or you didn't play as well as you desired most of the time, the first place to look is how you manage yourself on the golf course.
"If you strike the ball well, but manage your game poorly,
you will rarely win.
If you manage yourself well and hit the ball poorly,
you can win many times."
- Jack Nicklaus
Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Thanksgiving in the US and Canada is the day to give thanks for a good harvest and to celebrate the hard work done to produce it. In the same way, now is the time for golfers to have an attitude of gratitude for all the wonderful occurrences on the golf course this past summer. Remember all the delicious fruits of your efforts and put them into a cornucopia overflowing with your memories of fun and happiness. Smile often as you remember your successes and the people you played with that enjoyed it with you.
The first American Thanksgiving was held in Virginia on December 4, 1619. It had long been a traditional holiday in much of Europe giving thanks for successful harvests. The tradition was brought to North America by early settlers to give thanks at the end of the harvest season.
In the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving was to be a National Day of Celebration on the last Thursday in November 1863.
As the golf season takes a back seat to the holiday season, it is time to be especially thankful for any additional blessings that come into your life.
Thanksgiving is an annual one-day celebration of being thankful for what one has. Change your attitude from blame, frustration, and the things you can't control to acceptance and gratitude for what you already have. Staying in the NOW and being grateful will move you closer to the flow state or zone state where you will play golf automatically at your peak performance level.
Gratitude is an emotion. Research has shown that feelings of gratitude can be beneficial to your emotional well-being. Life events have little influence on people who are generally grateful. Without the knowledge of what has benefited us, we will not feel gratitude. The more grateful you are, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.
The best way to change your attitude is by writing down every day all the things in your life you are grateful for. Add new things each day. Using this "glass half full" axiom will keep you in a positive, uplifting "good" state where you are relaxed and accepting, and not always trying to "fix" what you perceive to be wrong.
Forgiveness is an essential part of creating self-esteem to keep you in a "good" state. It is necessary to close the door on past "bad" feelings that you could carry into the present to sabotage your performance. When you don't forgive, you have the unfinished business of your past hanging around in your mind, body, and energy field. And this negative energy attracts similar mistakes until you muster the courage to forgive and change your life. The sooner you learn and apply the skills of forgiveness, the easier it will be to focus in the NOW.
While we mostly think of forgiveness regarding what we perceive other people have done to us, the ultimate forgiveness is to yourself. You build confidence by speaking kindly to yourself. When you let go of self-criticism, judgment and expectation, your attention will be focused in the present moment. In Zen, "right action" is the capacity to observe what is happening and to act appropriately without being distracted by self-centered thoughts.
Our thoughts form the basis of the world we experience. We see the world not as it is, but as we are. When the focus of our thinking is on what's wrong and trying to fix it, we're telling our eyes and ears to only take in what is wrong, what doesn't work, or problems. Forgiveness is unconditional love in action.
Forgiveness is about accepting your humanity. As humans we learn from our own experience more than from what others tell us to do. Every time you are aware of being judgmental or critical, let that be a signal to get to know yourself better. Self-criticism is a learned habit pattern. Some believe that we must criticize ourselves to improve. Just the opposite is true. Judging ourselves only strengthens the negative habit pattern and keeps the focus off playing the game.
The truth is that golf, like life has its ups and downs, victories, and adverse circumstances. The person that deals with this best will win out. You must believe that every missed shot and every victory lost is an opportunity for you to have a beneficial experience in learning how to improve. When you are playing in the zone state, you will be so enamored by the wonderful feeling that there is nothing to be learned, just enjoyed. All other times are opportunities to learn a lesson, and to let go of the loss.
When we don't fulfill our expectations, our internal dialogue tells us we "should have" or "could have" played better, which sets us up for the emotions of frustration and guilt. When your golf game doesn't meet your expectations, be aware of your emotions and the way your physical body feels.
Expectations are limiting, controlling and rigid. Letting go of expectations is creative, fun, and limitless.
Letting go of expectations of scoring to your handicap or expecting a low scoring back nine after shooting your career round on the front nine are examples of mental mistakes. If you didn't have any expectations about what you are going to do, you wouldn't have any reason to get disappointed or upset and could easily maintain your emotional equilibrium and focus in the present.
To maintain an inner sense of well-being, strive to do your best on each shot because you enjoy doing it, as opposed to a belief system of expectations telling you that you must play in a certain way to be good enough.
As humans we tend to let our emotions get in the way of making strong decisions under pressure. Good results come from good decisions. Good decisions come from when you are in a good mental-emotional-spiritual state of being. Thoughts are powerful things and produce an emotional charge. When you allow your thoughts and therefore your emotions, to run out of control, you sabotage your performance. An example we are all familiar with is -- when you miss a 6-foot putt for a birdie and then miss the "gimme" putt coming back because you were emotionally engaged.
The way you perceive what happens to you is a major factor in your success. The key to hitting good shots is developing consistent patterns of positive thought in the off-season so they will be entrenched in your mind for automatic use when you are under pressure on the golf course.
We get angry most of the time because things don't go the way we want. We feel afraid that we have lost control of the situation and feel unworthy. However, to regain control, there is always another way to look at a situation and react to it.
You hit a shot over a greenside bunker to a hole cut in the front of a green. It falls short and imbeds under the lip of the bunker. As your emotions bubble up, remember why you love the game of golf. It is a game where there could just be inches between perfection and disaster. Do you only love it when the inches work in your favor? If so, you will be frustrated and angry often on the golf course. By changing your attitude to allowing, you will stay in an even emotional state.
Self-Management for a Strong Mental Game
1. Mistakes are for learning. When you make a choice that does not produce the result you want, making an excuse will distract you from the lesson. When you mishit a shot, take the time to swing your club until you find the exact timing and tempo you desired (before hitting your next shot). Learn from the mistake by repeating the correct practice swing until your subconscious mind has recorded it.
2. Replace fear thoughts before swinging. Change your fears to positive thoughts by visualizing the best that can happen, not the worst. What your thoughts are constantly focused upon will be attracted to you. Build a new belief system of success. If it doesn't work, discard it. If it works, keep it.
3. Use your inner awareness. When a golfer misses a shot his/her first reaction is that there is something wrong with their technique. This is the time to take a deep breath and ask yourself what was missing in your mental preparation. Was the swing too fast? Was there mental interference from thinking about the score? Was there indecision or other thoughts that would cause the bad swing or bad putting stroke? Were you over thinking your preparation? Were you not trusting your preparation?
4. Play within your ability. A common mistake made by golfers is that they make shot selections based on their best shots rather than on their usual shots. By playing within your ability to hit a shot 50% or more of the time, you can exceed your expectations. As the weather gets colder and windy, this is the time of year to swing at 80% for control.
5. Make a decision to feel good. Create a good state of being on the golf course to have good results. Good results come from good decisions. Good decisions come from when you are in a good state of mind-body-spirit. Bad results come from bad decisions. Bad results come from when you are in a bad state. If you are feeling good, you will attract what you want. Know that you deserve it.
Play "in the zone" with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
© PositiveMentalImagery 2022 - All Rights Reserved
If you aren't able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course or have trouble figuring out what your negative patterns and habits are, email Joan firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.
To train your brain to believe in yourself and your abilities to play your best golf, you can listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-empowering guided imagery hypnosis CDs in the privacy of your own home. All eight different CDs/MP3s are available at www.pmi4.com/cart
At the request of golfers in her workshops, Joan wrote a book, "The Heart of Golf, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances." It is a guidebook for all golfers to address the many facets of the mental and emotional aspects of the game of golf in a new and invigorating way for enhancing their golf games and living their lives in a more aware manner. It is available on www.Amazon.com She donates all royalties from the book to junior golf programs. Joan can be contacted at 828.707.5478, by mail at email@example.com Her website is www.pmi4.com and blog is www.pmi4.com/blog
"THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances" explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player's guide for developing your true inner self by returning to joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.
"THE HEART OF GOLF" guidebook for transforming your life and your golf game is available on Amazon and Kindle https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!
Did you miss the previous newsletter?
Read it on the Archived Newsletters page www.pmi4.com
New newsletters are posted every month.