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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

Learn how to Smash your Targets

As a new year begins, I'm sure many of you have started to consider your goals for 2021. We all start off with good intentions, considering where we need to focus our attention to improve and creating detailed plans to reach our goals. But do you find your commitment begins to dwindle when the results fail to make an appearance? Do not despair if this happened to you in the past, this blog will show how to prevent it happening again, by removing the trap of falling into Left-hand thinking. Why should left hand thinking impact my goals? Traditionally we consider our goals for the year, using the left brain to analyse and plan. We review our previous performance, to identify areas for improvement and then continue to use the left brain to create a plan to achieve the results. I'm not decrying this, its all good logical stuff and brings clarity to what we want to achieve and how, but sadly it fails to connect with our imaginative, intuitive and creative side. And typically during this process we tend to focus on the negative aspects rather than looking at what we did achieve. Lets take a typical situation you may find yourself in to bring this to life. Imagine you're considering what to cook for dinner tonight, you consider your options, meat or fish and decide to opt for fish as its an healthier option. The time taken to make the decision was literally a few seconds and during the process your mind will have pictured images of meat and fish. The images will have little impact on you and most likely you considered your options whilst driving or walking and giving it little attention. Since this was only a fleeting thought your mind will wander to the next day's challenge and the chances are you will not consider the meal for the rest of the day, until you get home. In this instance you have used both left and right brain thinking, but the process has been left brain dominant using logic and analysis, with very little imagination or creativity. When you begin to cook you will most likely chose the easier option rather than the healthier one (ie meat rather than fish). Now lets consider the same situation but this time using the right brain predominately. In this instance we completely focus on the food by stopping any other activity and immersing ourselves in images. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sat in your restaurant of choice with the waiter bringing to your table your most favourite meal. The aroma of the dish tantalises your tastebuds and your mouth begins to water in excitement. Picture the scene as you sit there viewing your favourite meal as its placed down in front of you in all its glory. Picture this scene as if it was happening for real now and as you place your fork into the food savour the smell as you bring it towards your mouth. As you take your first bite your mouth explodes with the flavour of the dish and all the memories come flooding back on how good this food tastes. I'm sure you would agree this second scenario would be a completely different experience to the previous one described, I know my mouth is watering as I'm typing this blog! In the second scenario you are using your mental imagery, accessing all your senses and recreating your emotions, all of which makes a stronger connection and more powerful impact on you. It's a subtle change in thinking but has dramatic impact that influences you to follow through. The second scenario has a much stronger pull to recreate than the first and hence is more likely to occur. So what's this got to do with goal setting I hear you ask? Traditionally we use our left brain when setting goals, by analysing our performance to identify our weaknesses. This logical process is then continued to identify WHAT we need to focus on and plan HOW to achieve it. Using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) principles, we can then put in place steps to work towards our goal. I'm not knocking any of this, its all relevant to help clarify WHAT we need to work on. However it fails to INFLUENCE with impact and when we don't see any results in the early days we tend to give up, which is what has happened to you in the past. To smash your goals you have to connect with the right hand side of the brain, using your imagination and connecting with your senses and emotions. The equivalent of salivating over the thought of your favourite food. How can I access my right hand brain to smash my goals? Step 1 - Begin by thinking about your best moments last year. For the purposes of this blog I'll use golf as an example but you can apply this to any other sport and other aspects of your life. Take time and don't rush this process, the idea is to relive each moment and make it as real as possible. I want you to view each one through your own eyes as if you are back there playing the shot. Access all your senses, such as sound, feel, taste, vision etc. Close your eyes for each one and run a video as if it was the real event. Don't make the event up, you must use real memories for each one

  • 3 best rounds of golf

  • 3 best holes of golf

  • 3 best drives

  • 3 best long iron shots

  • 3 best fairway woods/hybrids

  • 3 best shots into the green

  • 3 best bunker shots

  • 3 best putts

  • 3 best moments

  • 3 funniest moments

  • 3 favourite courses

Remember to access all your senses, hear the sound of the ball being struck by your club, see the flight of the ball, feel the excitement as your ball lands in the hole, relive every great shot and convince yourself you have what it takes to play great golf.

Step 2 - list the 3 most disappointing or hardest moments you experienced last year

Golf is not a game of perfect, and things will go wrong out on the course. Its part of the beautiful game and makes it so challenging and dam frustrating. However, the point here is that these bad shots are temporary and will be balanced by good shots. It's key that we learn from our mistakes, by viewing our performance in a way that connects our mental or physical mistake and rewrites that memory with a better ending - Jack Nicholas called it going to the movies.

Take each negative memory, one at a time and imagine the scene as if you have stepped outside of your body, viewing it on a big screen. Viewing from the sidelines, rather than through your own eyes, removes you from the emotion. It frees you up to edit the screen as if you are directing the play. As you view the scene watch how you execute the shot. Notice how your body is moving, what you are feeling, what did you do before taking the shot, during the shot and after you made the bad shot.

  • Where the moves or feelings subtle or dramatic?

  • Where the changes physical or mental?

  • Did they occur in your pre-shot routine?

  • Did something distract you during the shot?

  • How did you react after the shot?

  • Did your reaction after the shot impact on the next shot?

Take your time to look at the mistakes and capture the key points. Take the learning, integrating it into your body. Once you've understood what needs to be learnt, make the relevant changes required to improve the shot, to make it a great shot.

Repeat this process for the remaining two moments on your list.

Congratulations you have re-written last years season in a way that will empower to play and take on your challenges this year with confidence.

Practice Steps 1 and 2 regularly to improve your knowledge and I guarantee you will smash your goals this season.

If you would like to learn more about these techniques, or how to set a goal you've not achieved yet, please contact me to arrange a session, I'd love to hear from you.

Hope you found this blog interesting, if you would like to learn more about mental toughness please visit our website and get in touch. Drop me an email and let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.


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