Negative statements are the easiest way for somebody to self-destruct on the golf course. One thing that I have learned about self-sabotage, when associated with golf, is that there basically is no way to return from it within a given round. In other words, if you allow yourself to self-destruct, no matter when it happens, it is borderline impossible to comeback from that in the same round. The reason I say borderline impossible, A) nothing is impossible, B) if you have what it takes to come back from self-sabatage, you wouldn't have gotten to that point to begin with.
What does self-sabotage look like? Well that is a great question. When related to GolfWright, we define self-sabotage as: the behavior or thought process that is harming or could be potentially harming in the future. Examples of this are but not limited to:
1. Being self-derogatory, insisting you're not good enough, flexible enough, etc.
2. Changing your swing to please others
3. Clinging to how somebody shoots better scores than you
4. Engaging in alienating or aggressive behavior that pushes people away
5. wallowing in self-pity
The frequency and severity of these behaviors vary from golfer to golfer. For some, they are infrequent and mild. For others, they are frequent and dangerous. Regardless, they always cause problems. The bottom line, self-sabotage behavior is when you repeatedly do things that will harm you physically, mentally or both. This single handily has the potential to completely stunt your mental golf development and make you thrive.
We are going to continue working on finding you new coping skills and practices to instill positive behavior into your repertoire.
How do we diagnose your self-sabotaging tendencies? For example, you might be playing with somebody who is better than you and before you even start you start giving yourself excuses to playing bad so that you don't have expectations you think you won't be able to meet. You are sabotaging yourself before you even start. Once we determine what your self-sabotaging behaviors are, we will be able to shift that towards something more empowering.
The reason that things need to change is because over the duration of time, you behaviors become habits. If you currently are in a self-sabotaging stage of your GolfWright process, this will be the most difficult aspect of the problem. From here, we have to develop a system of thinking where only positives are going through our round. I'm not saying that being positive for the entirety of a round will always produce good results, but I do know that good results, rarely appear while somebody is in self-sabotage mode.
How do I change my internal conversation?
1. Harness your internal complimenter
No matter who you are, we all have that voice of judgment in our head. There is always going to be that voice that appears in a round of golf that is going to say something along the lines of:
- that was a terrible swing
-what were you thinking?
-I fucking suck today
-what the fuck am I doing?
-this sucks, I'm seriously done
-I have no chance of playing well today
This is where the complimenter in you needs to be present. The complimenter needs to be able to provide one compliment to say about you. Even if you don't believe it at the moment, the complimenter takes the sting out of the criticizer and eventually renders it powerless.
3. Call yourself out for cognitive distortions
Cognitive distortions arise when our thoughts literally misrepresent the facts of what actually occurred. It is the distortion, more than the situation, that brings the pain and upset.
A example of this would be you hitting a shot that you didn't like because you have been slicing it all day. You finally slice one that ends up in the fairway and instead of appreciating the fact that you are in the fairway, you are upset because you are still hitting that shitty slice.
This is where we need to step in and protect ourselves from falling into this trap. Our goals and expectations need to be in line and functional in order for this to not happen.
If our goal is to hit the fairway, we don't care how it gets done, we just need to get it done and that is the thought process that helps prevent cognitive distortions.
2. Harness your internal motivator
a person's belief in their ability to succeed in a task or situation.
As you have learned so far up to this point, if you don't believe that you can do something, what's the point of trying?
Whenever you catch your inner conversation slipping into a pit of hopelessness, please use these phrases:
- I got this
- I can handle this
- I believe in myself
- I've been in this situation before
- I can be better
Without having this internal motivator, you will be stuck in first gear. Does this tactic guarantee you get what you want? Absolutely not, but it improves your chances and state of mind immeasurably.
4. Develop a kind internal tone
As you accept a new, improved way of talking and connecting with yourself, it’s essential that you observe the tone you use in your internal dialogue.
Adopt the type of tone that a loved one would use if they were reassuring you. Or reflect on how you would speak to a small child who was struggling with something. Work to speak calmly and compassionately to yourself, even when you hit a setback. A warm tone, when taken again and again, helps people accept themselves just as they are.
Everyone has limitations, and accepting yourself, limitations and all, leads to increased self-esteem.