The Importance of Goals
If you are an elite golfer, the importance of goals will be well known to you. If you are a social amateur golfer, you may or may not have embraced goal setting.
But if you want to improve your golfing performance, can you afford NOT to set some goals?
Let me tell you about three different types of goals. Each has their uses, time and place. Let’s look at some golfing examples.
- First of all an Outcome Goal. This might be winning your Club Championship or even your friendly weekend 4 Ball Better Ball match against pals. An outcome goal is typically about winning a competition and can be highly motivating in harnessing the direction and intensity of effort. However, success is not just about your own performance, but also about your competitors. You can beat a prior world record and still lose if an opponent does even better, so on its own, it can also be demotivating at times.
- The second type of goal is a Performance Goal. This is about your own personal performance, independent of any competitors such hitting fairways off the tee, hitting greens in regulation or average number of putts taken. It is a great goal to set yourself a stretch target, and success is solely down to you! In the example above, you may not be fully happy if you don’t win, but knowing that you have performed at your best will still leave you with personal pride.
- Finally, we have Process Goals. These are actual steps we put in place to achieve the higher level goals such as allocating time for practise sessions, developing and implementing a pre-competition preparation plan, having a solid and consistent pre shot routine and using psychological triggers to achieve the right level of focus and arousal – see also “Being in the Zone“. During performance, focusing on Process Goals helps golfers stay in the present, thus aiding focus and concentration to stay in the zone. Thoughts of Championship trophies or competition prize presentations at the wrong time can be a major emotional distraction and take you out of the present moment just when you need that real focused attention.
This also leads on to what I call psychological goals. Our emotions are experienced by our feelings, behaviour and thoughts. This is where Sports Hypnosis and NLP can be particularly helpful. By identifying your emotional state (i.e. your feelings, behaviour and thoughts) when things go wrong and when things go right, hypnosis and nlp help golfers re frame any negative emotions into helpful ones and will also give the golfer some cognitive tools or anchors to stay in the right frame during performance. These can be built into a pre-shot routine to get you into the perfect state to execute the perfect shot. The impact on PERFORMANCE of the right EMOTIONAL STATE is proven to be huge.
So work on all your goals and focus on those goals which are particularly appropriate at different times to achieve YOUR PEAK PERFORMANCE.