I Screamed My Goal Out Loud
Okay, golf talk. Don’t go away yet, it’ll get interesting, even if you hate golf.
I’ve been a golfer for 40+ years. And in golf, there’s a handicap system. You play 18 holes and keep an accurate score, and you have to submit the score to an organization called USGA. They rate the golf course difficulty at every golf course ever built. And they are in charge of calculating your score vs the level of difficulty of the course you played and they spit out your official USGA Handicap Index. Just for reference, the US golfer’s most common handicap is between 13-13.9. Remember, this is golf, so the lower the handicap, the better you are.
When I was in high school, I played Junior golf and with all the free time I had, I played and practiced almost every day. In fact, my weekends looked like this. Wake up early, go to the practice range, and play 18 holes. Come home, eat lunch. Go back to the course. Play 18 more holes or until dark. Come home. Wash up. Get in bed. Dream about golf. Repeat. I had a Handicap Index of 7.
Let’s fast forward 40 years. Since then, I have labored through thousands or more practice sessions, played thousands of competitive and noncompetitive rounds, gained huge mental maturity, experienced so much for my own internal growth of the sport, and built so much more confidence, I am even smarter when it comes to strategy and I am using all the latest technology and innovation on equipment and balls that have advanced over the years. Do you know what my handicap was last year? 7.
So, after another very frustrating round, I screamed out loud…”Aaaahhhhhhh!!!” And I made a declaration. I made a verbal promise to myself. I said out loud, “By my next birthday, I will be a scratch golfer!!” (Scratch Golfer = a Handicap Index of 0). I have unknowingly, out of pure frustration, and out of my desperate desire to improve, set a GOAL.
I heard this the other day: “Goal setting is the most compassionate and the most wonderful thing we can do for ourselves.”
So, I started my journey. I am a year into my goal and I am proud to say that my current handicap is 2.9. This goal setting and execution is a lot of work and effort but I am also learning a lot about myself along the way. I am not there yet and the journey has had a lot of ups and downs, but I want to list what I’ve done and how I am currently making progress.
If I could sum it up, it would be two things.
- Make your goal measurable
- Measure it often
But to elaborate more, here are some steps I’ve learned and been taught about setting goals and making them come true.
- On a blank piece of paper, for 10-20 minutes, do a thought download – empty your brain by listing everything you want to DO in your life. List what you want to accomplish, and what you want as the end result.
- Pick one to focus on. One that you really really want to go after. For me, it was being a scratch golfer.
- Now, this is important: Write it in a 90-day outcome. Write what you can do and what you can measure in the next 90 days. Make sure it’s something that is measurable. (Quantity). And be as clear and specific as possible. For me, I kept detailed stats of my game and I set goals for each stat (% greens in regulation, % fairways hit, # of putts, score, etc – I have 25 goals in total).
- Write down everything you’ll need to do in the next 90 days that can help you reach your goal, with as many details as possible. What you need to learn, what you need to know, what you need to do. Make an action list. (I created a practice log that I can focus on if I’m having a difficult time reaching the set goal).
- Create an order of execution, again being as clear and as specific as possible. (Basically, after writing down everything you’ll need to do, put them in order that they need to be accomplished).
- Calendar them in 2-week increments. (Schedule everything you can do in the next two weeks).
- Keep scheduling until you get to 90 days.
Here’s the beauty of all this. Once all the prep work is finished, it’s as good as done. You’ve made all the decisions ahead of time, so it’s like clockwork. Honor what’s on the calendar. Follow through on what you said you were going to do.
As long as you are willing to do the work up front, and monitor your progress, you can have it. You can have what you want. How’s that sound?
I know I still have more work to do, so I am going to keep moving forward. But I know I will get there someday, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I am proud of the progress I’ve made and it also made me realize that this really does work.
For 40 years, I stayed idling without any significant progress and just dealing with a lot of frustrating days. But having this focus and goal has revived me. I feel alive and this slow progress is keeping me excited and motivated.
What do you want to go after next year? What do you want? Who do you want to be? Share with me. I want to know. Let’s encourage each other – reply to this email, and I will email you back. I want to help. Because I heard it’s the most compassionate and the most wonderful thing we can do for ourselves. I want that for you.