There will always be conversations within our own minds that dictate our words, our actions, and how we perceive ourselves and our golf games.
This is why I wrote this blog post ' 10 Negative Self Talk Habits and How to Fix Them ' because it is so incredibly important to eradicate negative self-talk from our minds.
Thoughts are things. Each thought has its own energy and frequency.
Our thoughts, the things we tell ourselves, have the power to raise us to the greatest heights, and likewise, plummet us to the deepest depths.
In fact, it can be argued there is nothing so telling regarding our success as our own self-talk and whether or not the things we tell ourselves are positive or negative.
You would think this would be an easy task, just think positively and all is well, right?
Yeah, not quite!
While being aware of the words you use is important, it’s our habits that define us.
If you are constantly criticizing yourself and your game, then chances are this has become a deep seeded subconscious habit and its possible that you don't even know you are doing it.
Every time to you criticize yourself it affects your self image. You create affirmations and stories about yourself that simply are not true.
Let’s look at these habits and talk about ways in which you can eradicate them, freeing you up to play great golf and be the best golfer you can be.
Habit #1: “I’m Just Joking”
If you’re like most golfers, you don’t even admit to negative self-talk, to be honest you don't even notice you're are doing it. Most players laugh it off as humour. I know I just said ' I'm the worst putter in the world ' but I'm only joking!
Realise it’s human to be negative sometimes. Everyone feels it on occasion. Denying it only gives it more power, observing it and accepting is the key. Don't get locked into the negative cycle. Also be aware that your subconscious mind only knows what you tell it and it doesn't process negatives, it just trusts what you tell it .. especially when the energy of emotion is added to it. Be very careful what you tell yourself.
Habit #2: “It Wasn't My Fault”
We’re quick to assign blame elsewhere when things don’t go right. 'Someone made a noise, or the wind got up right when I hit '. This kind of negative self-talk keeps us from 'Accepting what is' and leaves you stuck where you are. You’re never going to make any kind of forward progress with this kind of attitude. It's what I refer to as a ' Fixed Mindset' .
Focus on what you’re doing right, and don’t be afraid to admit where you went wrong. Accepting the blame allows you to accept your role in the outcome and learn from it. Remember you hit the shot! You allowed yourself to be affected, so you need to own the outcome. When you do, when you accept responsibility for it. It's so much easier to just get on with it next time. Play the long game not short blame satisfaction.
Habit #3: “I Can't Hit That Shot Anyway”
If you’re positive something isn’t going to work out, chances are it won’t. We have a way of self-sabotaging ourselves whether we realise it or not. Henry Ford was famous for saying ' Whether you think you can or you think you can't, either way, you're right! '
Understand It’s ok to ask yourself 'What can go wrong?' especially when going through your Pre-swing process before playing a shot, in fact I encourage it. There is such a thing as a good or calculated miss, But at some point, you need to let go of the worry and fear and focus on what you WANT to achieve. Remind yourself that you have every likelihood of succeeding. Have you played the shot before? Well, you can do it again. Visualise it then manifest it.
Habit #4: “ Hate my Fade, Wish I Could hit a Draw”
Not everyone is going to be on board with what you’re working on or how you play your golf, but you need to be. Letting the opinions of others control what you do or how you play is just crazy, even dangerous. This need for outside approval is intensely damaging and will hold you back every time.
Why are you worrying about everyone else’s opinion? The only person you need to satisfy is yourself. Keep your focus on doing your best. Forget what the rest of the world thinks.
Habit #5: “What if It's The Wrong Shot?”
When you second-guess yourself all the time, it’s impossible to ever really feel confident in your choices. This uneasiness will plague your game and lead to poor shots. Any decision at all is better than indecision.
Slow down your decision-making process, Breathe and then ask yourself, what's the worse that can happen? By becoming more mindful in your choices, you’ll feel more confident in your decisions and won’t question yourself quite so much. Trust yourself, If you happen to fail....so what! There is no such thing as success without failure. Stay true to your process and success will follow.
Habit #6: “I Don’t Have a Problem.”
Denial is one of the worst types of self-talk. We can truly convince ourselves of just about anything when we put our minds to it. Why then is this such a favourite go-to? Most of the time, it’s because there’s just too much work involved in fixing the problem once you admit it’s there.
If you’re still not sure this is a problem, try looking at the situation like a world class Tour Caddy would. If you happen to hit a poor shot what would they say to you? Would they swear and abuse you? Would they throw your club away in disgust? Of course not, They would accept the outcome, and come up with the most positive approach for you to hit the next shot, they would stay present and get on with the job. Thinking about what just happened does not serve you and you certainly can't access your best golf skills in past or future thinking. So next time your out playing, Why not try being ' Your very own world class tour caddy'. Once you recognize each situation for what it is, you can make an action plan that works for you.
Habit #7: “I Don’t Need Help.
Sometimes the negative self-talk is not just on the Golf Course, in fact it's common for it to filter through and affect most areas of your life. This can lead to depression, anxiety and general unhappiness. Feeling like you're not in control is scary.
Start by adding Mindfulness into your life. Daily Meditation and breathing techniques or even just taking a walk in nature and being present enable you to slow everything down, helping gain clarity and perspective. Using Positive affirmations in your stillness practises reinforces gratitude. Being truly Grateful for who you are is the start to true happiness. Being in balance on and off the golf course is a journey, not a destination. Don't fall in the ' I'll be happy when.... ' trap. You have to bring happiness to the table first. Remember being able to play golf is a gift!
" Happiness is a long walk with a Putter."
- Greg Norman
Habit #8: “I'll Do It Alone”
The idea that we’re ok doing it alone is easily justified. After all, some people are introverts by nature. But even introverts occasionally need the help, advise and coaching of others. Without anyone else to provide input, your internal dialogue can become negative rapidly.
If you're keen to improve your game and you struggle asking for help, maybe you can engage online? For some, asking for help or advise behind a keyboard can be comforting and the online tuition space is huge now! This could be your answer. You can hit Youtube or even an online coaching app like Skillset.
Habit #9: “My Playing Partners Said it was a Bad Idea.”
Why are you listening to other people? When you’re playing with negative people, their negativity has a way of rubbing off on you, it's like an energy magnet. The more you focus on it, the more you’ll find yourself caught up in it. Don't fall victim to the 'Energy Vampire' in the group.
It might be time to take a step back and have a look at the negative people in your golfing life. Who are you playing with? While it might not always be easy to remove someone from your weekly 4 ball, you can limit what you will tolerate. If the round starts getting too negative, set boundaries. Let them know you’d rather not listen to their negative bullshit. If they still insist..... find a new Group!
' You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with '
- Jim Rohn
Habit #10: “It’s Not Like I’m Any Good at it, Anyway.”
I'm a hacker! ... I'm a weekend Chopper! .... We are world champions at self sabotage! We’re really good at putting ourselves down. In fact our subconscious mind is programmed to protect us... We are comfortable in lack and scarcity.
Remind yourself of all the things you are good at. Tell yourself there’s a chance you might succeed. Allow yourself to find out. Be okay with failing. If you do, you’re still guaranteed to learn something new. Besides, how many people succeed on the first try!
Negative self-talk will hold you back in every aspect of your game, This is why building new habits is so important. There is no quick fix here; what works today must be reinforced over and over again, until the habit of positive self-talk becomes a natural way of thinking, stick with it , It will happen.
Never doubt for a minute just how worthy this particular goal is. Your positivity is what’s going to enable you to enjoy every round, not just when you play well..
So, what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present, and you already have everything you need to succeed. There is no better time to embrace the new, more positive you! ...... ' Are you the best Golfer you can be? '