This article is written for you. It might not be written for you right now, but at some point in the past or future, you’ll find yourself off track. You’ll find yourself on the path of not reaching your goals, at that time, consider the following.
For this article, we’re going to take the example of becoming the best golfer in your country. But feel free to replace that with breaking 100, reaching a single-figure handicap or any other exciting pursuit.
Is this the dream you really want?
The first step is to really think hard if this is the dream you really want. Everyone wants to be the best, but very few are willing to put in the work. There is always an opportunity cost with any pursuit, the more ambitious the goal, the more work is needed – so are you prepared for that?
Generally, the really hard, tough challenges in life are the ones you’ll look back on with great admiration. They shape your life and who you become – in 10 years’ time no one will look back at those great 6 hours they spent binge-watching Netflix, but you will remember the time you won the English Amateur, represented your country and maybe even reached number one in the world in your sport.
In retrospect, you can also look back at that tough journey with fondness, as much as getting up at 7am in the middle of winter wasn’t fun at the time – it’ll make you smile in years to come. It was fun, you were very lucky to have time to dedicate to your goal.
Offset short-term fun, for long-term satisfaction
Once you’ve reflected on the above you’ll have to make some simple, but tough choices every day. Can you give up 40 minutes of lounging on the couch in the evening to go work on your putting? Can you get up an hour earlier to fit in an extra gym session? Can you go play 18 holes in the rain in the middle of winter because you know you need more practice in those conditions?
The choices are simple, but they arise every day and you need to consistently make the right small sacrifices for your dream.
Flip your goal for the processes
You won’t magically become the best golfer in your country. Instead, you need to live that life for many months, and likely years. As you live that life, day in and day out, the goal will start to take care of itself.
So many golfers have it backwards – they want the dream, but they aren’t living the reality.
Look at your past few weeks. What do they look like? With that in mind, where do you think you’ll be if you carry on down this path?
What does great look like?
So your next question is what does great look like? How do they act? How do they think? What are the weekly systems and processes that must be in place?
- How do they plan their time?
- How do they practice?
- How do they play?
- How do they reflect on their practice and play?
- What team do they have around them?
- What is their attitude like?
- How do they interact with others?
- How do they rest and recover?
- What do they not do?
Control the controllables
You can’t control how well you play golf, and that confuses many people. You can influence it, but you certainly can’t control what you’ll shoot tomorrow. You can get as angry as you like, but it won’t make you shoot a 65.
What you can control is your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and what activities you decide to invest in every day. And this is the key pathway you have to your dream.
It is surprisingly hard to consistently do this well, but you can learn to do this well. You need to plan your time and spend time really considering how an elite player thinks and behaves, what emotional responses do they have to situations?
Once you have this it is a case of reflecting each and every day – are you on track, or do you need to nudge yourself back on course?
Spend as much time as you can in the left-hand circle.
Go do it
The final thing is to go do it. If you want to achieve a really cool goal, don’t read this and take no action. If you’re a long way away from your goal this can feel overwhelming, it is easy to get tied in knots and not take any action.
When that occurs, just ask yourself, what is the next step? What is the one thing you can do right now?
Go do that thing, then ask yourself the same question – what is the next step? If you keep taking steps you’ll start moving forwards, the one thing we can be sure of is that no action is guaranteed not to get you closer to your goal.
Have a quick think, then go take the next step.
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