How To Stay Motivated And Keep Practicing Your Golf Game
Golf, as they say, is a gentleman’s game. That’s because it has its own set of etiquette rules. But aside from that, in our own opinion, this sport is for gentlemen mainly because of the level of commitment that you need to have in order to keep playing this game and be any good at it. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect!”.
The problem is it is actually easy to say but hard to uphold. Unless you play golf for a living, there will always be times when you feel like your game isn’t improving even though you’ve been practicing a lot. That’s actually normal. Believe us, we’ve felt that way too. In reality, the hardest part about this sport is staying motivated to keep improving your game. But therein lies the secret to becoming a good golfer. Golf is half mental and half physical, as with any sport. More often than not, the struggle is caused by mental factors. Because unless you are injured, nothing is stopping you to keep practicing so that your game will improve.
The Goldilocks Rule
But as we mentioned above, sometimes we feel the urge to quit. This usually happens when the task we are doing is either too easy or too hard. This is called the “Goldilocks Rule”. When a task becomes too easy, we get bored and we lose the motivation to keep doing it. I doubt this is applicable to you as a golfer because gold isn’t easy. It might look effortless, but it is far from easy. So, most probably, you lose motivation because it is getting very hard for you to improve your game even if you do constant practice and training sessions.
To overcome this type of situation, you have to adjust your point of view. You simply can’t power through and go to practice without having the proper motivation. Believe me when I say, that will just be a giant waste of time. Any practice session you do when you are not motivated will really be useless. You won’t learn anything and if you do (which is very rare), it won’t stick. So how do you get that motivation to keep playing golf and keep practicing so your game will improve? Keep reading to find out.
Definition of Motivation
Before we answer the looming question, let’s break it down a bit. What is motivation? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is the condition of being motivated. Business Dictionary defines it as “internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal. Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the intensity of desire or need, incentive or reward value of the goal, and expectations of the individual and of his or her peers. These factors are the reasons one has for behaving a certain way. An example is a student that spends extra time studying for a test because he or she wants a better grade in the class.”
Let’s put that in the context of a golfer. A golfer becomes motivated because he or she has the desire to improve his or her game. The reason why that golfer wants to improve is because he or she wants to beat his peers or other people when they play. He or she feels the pressure of needing to win because he or she has been playing golf for a long time and has never won against his or her competition. You see, things like this can motivate a person to keep improving. But what makes him or her lose that motivation or will to keep chasing that goal?
Reasons Why Motivation Is Lost
As mentioned above, you might start out feeling motivated to keep practicing. But that motivation can be quickly lost if you hit a roadblock. But that isn’t the only reason why you lose your motivation. Here are a few reasons:
1. Getting bored with your routine – this is the number one cause of being demotivated. Boredom kills. If you are doing the same thing day in and day out, it is natural that you will get bored later on.
2. You feel like it’s not making any difference – this is another common cause of losing motivation. When you keep practicing because you want to improve, but you don’t really see the improvement after a while, chances are, negative thoughts will start to creep in. You feel like whatever you are doing isn’t helping at all. Worse, you feel pretty helpless. This is usually what leads you to quit doing what you were doing.
3. You get stressed – part of being stressed is not getting the results you desire. In a way, this is similar to the second reason. When you keep worrying that you are not improving, then stress will eventually catch up to you and you will eventually lose your motivation to keep doing what you set out to do.
4. When you compare yourself to others – this is a pretty common situation. You have a friend who also plays golf. He’s better than you in every aspect of the game. As part of your competitiveness, you want to beat him. You want to beat him so hard just so you can experience what it feels to be better than someone else. You see, when you start comparing yourself to others, more often than not, it will breed insecurity. You will feel like whatever you do will not amount to anything because the person you are comparing yourself to, is really just better than you.
As you can see, these negative perceptions can cause you to lose motivation. And as you might already know, losing your motivation is a bit problematic because it is harder to get back. That is true. But it isn’t impossible either. There are several ways to get back your motivation and stay on the path that you set out to travel.
Ways To Get Your Motivation Back
If you are still reading this article, then you probably are already experiencing the loss of motivation and are looking for answers on how to get it back. You’ve come to the right place. But make no mistake, the path to getting your motivation back isn’t an easy one. It takes tremendous will to get back what you have lost.
1. Deal with your fears. We mostly lose our motivation because we fear that we won’t get the results that we want. We fear that even if we keep practicing, our game will still not improve. The only way to get that back is to deal with our fears. You need to do figure out what gaps you need to fill and what risks you can afford to take. The key thing here is to take small steps towards conquering your fear and not rush to it head on.
2. Re-evaluate your goals. The reason why you lost your motivation is most probably because you set the wrong goals. It might be unrealistic or a narrow minded goal. So, take time to re-evaluate your goals. The best way to do that is to examine what those goals have done to you and if they are really attainable. When you set your goals, try to think of something that is doable and not just what you want. You can do that by setting a small goal that will ultimately lead to what you really want. So, setting incremental goals will actually help you in the long run.
3. Clarifying what you want is another great way to get the motivation you lost. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want, you will never be able to achieve your goal. In this case, you will never be able to significantly improve your game. The best way to get clarity is to articulate it. This way, you will feel more comfortable working for it. So, make the time to articulate what you want and why you want it in order to make your mind feel comfortable again. That is the power of clarity.
4. Take a break and re-energize yourself. Most causes of demotivation is burnout. This is pretty common. You see it in the workplace quite often. So, it is not impossible that it will happen with your leisure activities (in this case, playing golf). You see, the thing with burnout is, we are aware it is happening, but we mostly feel helpless to stop it. It’s like you are spiraling down a gaping hole that you made yourself. You know you are tired and stressed out, but you have to soldier on, because you want to achieve your goal. You want to become a better player. In the first place, playing golf should not let you feel that way. You are supposed to enjoy it even if you are just practicing. But the pressure of becoming a better player has finally gotten into you. That’s the time you need to take a step back and just take a break. Relax and unwind for a bit. Get enough sleep. It’s a great way to reset your body back to its fresh state. Another important thing is not to rush getting back to it. Get back to playing or training when you feel you are ready to tackle your goals again.
How To Stay Motivated
Staying motivated and getting back your motivation are two completely different things. The first one means you are still motivated to do what you need to do. And obviously, the second one means you’ve lost your motivation. So basically, staying motivated is a way to avoid being in the situation where you need to get your motivation back. Here are the best ways to stay motivated.
1. Set progress goals aside from your main goal. When you are working towards your main goal of improving your game, it is important to also set progress goals. Think of these progress goals as pit stops to your ultimate goal. For example, you want improve your course record within a month. That’s a good and achievable goal that will also tie in to your ultimate goal of becoming a better golfer. Sometimes, in order to achieve our main goal, we have to have small victories. This is a great way to feel good about what you are doing. The good thing about setting progress goals is that you are actually building a culture of excellence. Why? It’s because all you are really doing is slowly improving yourself. And if that becomes a habit, then you will be able to achieve your ultimate goal a lot faster.
2. Develop particular plans of action. When training or practicing, it is really best that you have a set plan that you can follow. Think of it as your road to becoming a better golfer. Think of what you need to do in order to become a better golfer. This will involve taking a stock of your current skill level. Remember to be honest to yourself. If you think your swing needs work, then figure out a plan on what you need to do to improve your swing. If you feel your putting is the weakest area of your game, then make a plan of action on how you can remedy that. You see, by developing a specific plan of action, you are actually giving clarity to the steps you need to take in order to achieve your true goal. And as you already know, having clarity is very important if you want to be motivated to do something.
3. Track your progress. Nothing gets you faster to the demotivation train than not being able to recognize if you are really improving or not. The way our mind works is that we feel satisfaction if our hard work is rewarded. The reward can either be a result of your work or a prize that you get. But that isn’t really what is important. The more important thing is that our mind is hardwired to feel fulfillment if we get something out of what we are doing. That’s just how humans think. And the best way to see if we are really progressing is to keep track of our progress. It can be done using a chart or something else. The most important thing is you keep track of your stats. Looking at your chart from time to time will help you feel inspired especially if you are on track to achieve your set goals. It will serve as a reminder that you are indeed progressing. This is also a great way to avoid feeling stuck. And if you see that you aren’t really progressing, you can actually use your chart growth as a tool to identify areas of opportunities. So, keeping a growth chart can actually be beneficial in two ways: tracking your progress so you become inspired and using it to analyze areas of opportunities.
4. Play with golfers of the same skill level. As a golfer who is trying to improve, it isn’t good to chase the king of the hill right away. You will wind up not learning anything and quitting. You can start pairing with golfers of the same skill level as you. This way, you both can help each other. Because if you keep playing with someone who is way better than you, you will lose most of the time. And whether you admit it or not, that will take a toll on your confidence. As you’ve noticed, throughout this article, it is best to take things one step at a time. You need to work your way up in order to get the desired results. So, play with your peers who are on the same handicap as you. Once you’ve improved your handicap, then it is time to move up the ladder. Step by step, that’s the most important thing to remember.
As you can see, motivation is a hard factor to maintain and very easily lost. And once you lose it, it can be hard to get it back. It will most likely involve double the work. So you don’t want that happening to you. But sometimes, it is really unavoidable. But what you need to remind yourself is that, everything is all in the mind. You can work it out. It isn’t as bad as you think it is. There is always a way to dig yourself out of the hole you put yourself into. And by following the steps we’ve provided in this article, you will be able to retrieve your motivation or stay motivated so that you can achieve your ultimate goal of being a better golfer. Just remember, playing golf should never be something that makes you feel bad or stressed out. It is supposed to bring joy. So make sure to learn to love the game the right way. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about staying motivated. It will just come naturally.