Happy New Year! With each new year, we have the opportunity to start fresh with new resolutions. Here’s a question for this year: why not choose resolutions that will help your golf game and your life?
1. Keep your eye on the ball
My dad has been my unofficial golf coach my entire life, always giving lots of advice. After maybe 1,000 rounds, “Keep your eye on the ball” wins the prize for the most repeated direction. It’s sage advice; we all know that if our head comes up too soon, the shot won’t be ideal. It’s the same way in life—as we go through each day, how about focusing on each moment? This is tough to do in our multi-tasking world full of distracting technology.
However, let’s bring it back to the tee shot. At the tee, your only job is to hit the ball. Head down, focus, and swing. That logic transfers nicely to life – address one task, focus on it, and move on to the next. The same goes with people – be with the people you are with, physically and mentally. The result? Better productivity, better relationships and better shots all around.
2. Swing slowly and steadily
Or, as my dad has repeatedly told me, “Don’t try to kill the ball.” As you swing, it’s about your intention and approach. Of course each shot requires a different technique, but a good general rule is to remember that haste definitely makes waste in golf. We need to breathe, address the ball, and handle each shot with thought and concentration.
Similarly, it’s good to approach each life task with a calm intention. Realize that you don’t always have to put it into overdrive. Take a breath. When we’re deliberate in our pursuits instead of hasty and frenzied, we’ll probably end up a lot closer to the pin.
3. Aim at your target
Your ball is not going to make it to the green if you’re aiming for the sand trap to the right of it. I always love it when my ball unintentionally goes right or left, and my dad tells me, “You were aiming that way.” Very helpful advice. But really, it does help to look at the target and visualize the ball reaching it. It also helps to line things up so your shot has a chance.
Off the course, take stock of your short and long term goals. Do you want better grades this year? Then start thinking about how you can adjust your studying habits to make it happen. Do you want to purchase something big in the new year? Then, find out how much you’ll have to save/earn to make that happen. If you’re not pointing in the right direction, chances are you’re not going to get there.
4. Learn from your bad shots
Let’s face it; we’re all going to have bad shots. However, instead of beating ourselves up after a bad hole and sinking into a mini-depression, try regrouping. Take a breath. Watch your what you tell yourself mentally. Shake off the bad juju and focus on making the next one better. True, the next shot or next 10 shots might be equally as bad. That’s why there are 9 or 18 holes of golf—we always have a chance to start fresh. That’s also why driving ranges and practice greens exist—if things aren’t going well, we can practice until we get it right.
Similarly, in life, when we have bad days, we can grow from bad experiences. Work on starting each day fresh and see where that takes you. We don’t have to take mishaps and bad days as affronts to our very being. Bad days, like bad shots, are actually learning experiences disguised as life’s annoyances. Let’s not let them get us down.
5. Cherish the great shots
This one’s not that hard to do, who doesn’t appreciate a great shot? However, how often do we really think about what we did to make that good shot good? Next time you have an awesome drive, think about how you made it happen. Then, stop and appreciate it, and take a second to pat yourself on the back and enjoy the moment. Similarly, if you’re having a great round with your favorite golfing buddies on the most beautiful day of summer – pause for just one second to soak it in.
“Perfect moments” don’t come along that often. It’s like this in life, too. Life is sprinkled with good times and bad. When we’re having good moments- with family, friends, or by ourselves- it’s important to make sure we really appreciate them because we know all too well that great moments or shots aren’t always a given. Yet, by keeping a positive mental attitude in good times and bad, we do have the power to make each day of the new year, and beyond, great.
Here’s to a year of fantastic rounds!