Did you know that the average person has between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day? What’s even more shocking is experts say that of these 50,000+ thoughts 60-80% of them are negative in nature for most people. If this is true, then it would be safe to say that most golfers are dealing with a great deal of negative thinking and have self-talk that could use improving. What is definitely known to be true is the fact that there is a mind-body connection and your thoughts do influence your body and it’s movements. Since you cannot separate the mind from performance because it is directing the body, it is important that you learn how to overcome negative thinking and train your mind to have a positive mental attitude. Establishing positive self-talk in the mind is the cornerstone of a strong mental game and in this article you will discover a four step process to correcting and improving your self talk for better performance on the golf course.

Step 1 Take Ownership of Your Mind: The first step towards greater empowerment is taking ownership of your mind and accepting responsibility for the type of thoughts that you entertain. Your mind is your inborn bio-computer that you can direct to achieve whatever goal you desire. But, it is up to you to program it for success. A great affirmation to repeat as often as possible is “I am the master of my mind and therefore my results.” A positive mind tends to produce positive results so make the decision to take control of your mind.

Step 2 Recognition and Awareness: The next step is recognizing when you are having negative thoughts before a shot or during your round of golf. The only way improvement or change is possible is by first becoming aware of your old patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Most people are operating on auto-pilot, in life and on the golf course, and as a result their lives are governed by habits and conditioned mental programs and behaviors. This is the reason why there are some tee boxes you always stripe it on no matter what, and others you always hit poorly on even though you where playing great golf. It is all old programming at work.

An important step in correcting negative thinking is getting off of auto-pilot so that you can have an opportunity to make a change instead of having your behaviors and thoughts dictated on the course by negative programming from the past.

Step 3 Cancel the Thought: The third step is to mentally cancel the negative thoughts once you become aware of them. To do this, simply say to yourself one of the following statements or something similar. “Cancel that.”; “That isn’t true.”; “I release that.”; “I forgive that.”; “That is the old way.”

This small act of mentally canceling the thought may seem simple, but it actually has powerful effects on the mind and helps to break old thought patterns. The action serves as a mental pattern interruption, and gets you off auto-pilot by temporarily stopping the old flow of negative thinking. This seemingly simple action opens up a small window of opportunity in your mind so you can make a shift in your thinking.

Step 4 Empower Yourself With a New Thought: Finally, replace the negative thought with a positive, inspiring one in order to empower yourself on the golf course and maintain a positive mental attitude to help you perform your best.

Make it your goal to be a relentless positive thinker on the golf course. Memorize this four step process, commit to it during your round, and shut down all negative thinking that surfaces. Repeat this process as much as needed because it is a mental skill that needs to developed. Think of it like developing a mental muscle. When a person starts lifting weights their muscles are weak, but as time goes on using the same muscles they develop real strength. This same principle is at work with this four step process. The process doesn’t change, like the exercises, you just get stronger and better at doing it.

Important Notes: Let me prepare you for what to expect as you embark on correcting or improving your mental attitude through your self-talk.

  • This process takes work, but your mind is worth it. Think of this process like a rocket blasting off to space. At first, it requires lots of force and effort to get off the ground, but once the rocket breaks through the stratosphere it requires very little effort to travel great distances at high speeds.
  • As you break off of auto-pilot and start becoming aware of the way you are thinking and talking to yourself on the golf course, you will probably be shocked with the number of negative thoughts that you have. When this happens there is no need to get upset or down on yourself for having these thoughts. All that will do is add more negativity to situation and thus defeats the purpose. Simply accept that was the old way of thinking about things, and remind yourself to be positive because you are actively working on this part of your mental golf game. ”
  • As you begin using this four step process, it may feel like an internal war has started in your mind and a battle between positive and negative thoughts is taking place. Believe it or not, this is a good sign of progress and indicates that your self-esteem is growing since you are no longer accepting the old negative programming. This battle will ease up as long as you keep working the steps and putting positive thoughts in your mind. Eventually, your new positive mental attitude will take root and the incongruent negative thoughts will become less and less frequent.

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