The Mental Side of Getting in Shape
There are many articles available about the benefits of being in shape as well as suggesting a variety of specific exercises to help improve your game. Here are some insights about the mental side.
Why do most golfers wait for the spring to start exercising? If being in shape is good for you, why don't golfers maintain a year round physical fitness program? The reason can be found in one's mental make-up and lack of goals or commitment to their goals.
As obvious as this sounds, the first step to being in shape is to have that as one of your goals. Next, it is very important to write down your goals as well as a specific conditioning program that will allow you to reach your goals if followed. Then, it comes down to the strength of your desire and commitment to get and stay in shape.
Many golfers have the wish to be in good physical condition, but lack the desire and discipline to do the work. What most individuals fail to realize is that their level of desire and discipline can be strengthened just like the muscles in their body. By understanding how your mind works, you can train it to do what YOU want it to do, instead of what it is use to doing or not doing when it comes to exercising. Once you get your mind in shape, your body and everything else will follow.
Your brain starts working at a very early age. Approximately six months after conception, your brain starts recording all your mother's thoughts and actions while you are in her womb. Your brain continues to record all your thoughts and actions throughout your entire life. We will call the recording process of your brain - your unconscious.
Your unconscious is a conceptual representation of the entire history of all your previous thoughts and actions. The importance of your unconscious is that your mind is programmed to make similar decisions according to your past unconscious experience. Your mind spontaneously uses all your strengths and weaknesses recorded into your habits in its decision making process.
Your unconscious does not care what you do. Its job is to keep you repeating what you have done in the past. You are up against your unconscious when you decide to turn a new leaf and get in shape.
Fortunately, you can change your past tendencies because the most current portion of your unconscious has the biggest impact on your decision making process. Otherwise, you would be a robot and could never change. The strength of your desire determines your ability to successfully reprogram your unconscious.
By putting new thoughts and actions into your habits consistently for thirty days or more, your brain will assimilate these as new habits. They become a part of your normal unconscious response. To build self-discipline and strengthen your determination, start with small victories over your unconscious. In time you will develop the strength and discipline to accomplish larger goals.
For example, to a person who is not in shape, thirty minutes of exercise a day three times a week is a lot of exercise. However, do you think you can exercise for one minute three times in a week? Of course you can, if you want to!
After the first week, do you think you would have built up enough strength and endurance to exercise for two minutes three times a week? I am sure you can see yourself being able to continue adding an additional minute to your routine every week until you can exercise thirty minutes a day three times a week.
If you are presently out of shape, you will not believe how much better you will feel and look from exercising thirty minutes a day three times a week. You will be stronger, have more endurance and more energy when you play a round of golf. Your self-confidence, self-discipline and spirit will grow tremendously in the process of controlling your mind and getting in shape.
All it takes is desire, a game plan you can achieve over time and self-disciple to overcome the resistance and excuses into your habits. Remember that your unconscious knows all your weaknesses. It does its best to do its job, which is to keep you where you are.
If you decide to get in shape and fall behind your conditioning program or stop, ask yourself this question, "Who is in control, me or my unconscious?"
P.S.: Do you feel nervous on the first tee? Do you feel under pressure sometimes when putting to win? Are shots over water a problem for you? Then this problem can be a mental one. Here is a program that I can recommend to help you overcome it: The mental side of golf