Goals and letting go of expectations
As I have been working towards putting together a tournament schedule for this coming golf season, one thing that has been on my mind is goals and setting them.
Setting goals is something that I like to do every season because it not only gives me something to work towards but it forces me to evaluate where I am at now in comparison to where I want to be. My dream is to play on the LPGA Tour someday, and while that will always be a goal of mine in order to get there someday you have to set short-term goals.
These goals can be bigger or smaller but what's important is that you not only set them but come up with a plan to achieve them. It takes hard work, dedication, and for me, just letting myself go out and play. When I get caught up on the numbers or on trying to shoot a certain score I get so stressed about it that I am almost unable to play well because all I am thinking about is the result. You have to play the process, not the outcome.
When I played the NHWGA Amateur Championship last year I was so caught up on finishing well and scoring a certain way that I lost some of the enjoyment that always comes from playing. When I lost that enjoyment playing felt like work, every shot felt like another task on a to-do list. Now looking back on the event I have so many incredible memories and had such a great time, but at the time I wouldn't let myself enjoy it because I wasn't performing and my results weren't what I wanted them to be. I had put all of this pressure on myself to go out and score well that those thoughts consumed my mind. The day after the Women's Am I played in an NHGA Jr. Tour Stableford event, I was paired with just my sister and I was exhausted from playing the last three days and beating myself up over my poor results. I went out with no expectations and just had fun. I ended up shooting my best round to date that day. I didn't care that I didn't win the event, I didn't care that I blew my chance at breaking 80 with a bad decision (okay that part stings a little but you have to make mistakes to learn things, and I won't be making that mistake again), because I was proud of myself. Playing my best round while I was mentally and physically exhausted felt like a challenge I had succeeded at.
By letting go of my expectations and not thinking about what the outcome would be I was able to relax and play the game I fell in love with. So many times people get caught up on the outcome or how they will finish that they forget that things are supposed to be fun. Golf has become such a big part of my life and it's what I want to do forever, but that doesn't mean that it is supposed to feel like a job. It is a sport and it is supposed to be enjoyable.
I encourage you to relax and let yourself have fun, that's what the game is meant for, isn't it?!
~NH Golfer Gal