Reset to Refocus

Taking the Time to Look Deeper

Some people swear by SMART Goals, while others are all about planners and systematic approaches such as Franklin Covey planners and inserts. I tend to get lost with such things. I have a content planner for multimedia, a general 18-month day-to-day planner for ideas and inspiration, and a journal where I keep track on four daily focus areas: FAITH, FAMILY, FITNESS, &FINANCES.

I believe I found the most usage out of the 12 Week Year, but I adjusted my daily tracking and to-do list a little more extensively. I needed the core elements of the 12 Week Year combined with The 100 Day Goal Journal. I felt that both systems worked to give me the things I need to advance and achieve goals.

Recently, I had to hit reset ad take a deeper look at my goals. As I approach the milestone of 50, I had to keep my mental bearings about me. Despite living pretty well, I have experienced greater anxiety with the onset of my mother’s cancer and I felt some hints of depression with mood swings after my cousin’s death last year. I remain highly aware of the day to day condition of those living with mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar, but I am also aware of the potential for a mental breakdown based upon the various pressures of this life.

I rely a lot on my faith, remaining firmly rooted in my beliefs. However, I do have to keep my awareness sharp, so I watch out for signs of undue stress and pressure. I fight to avoid any possible triggers, especially when I can predict some tense moments arising.

Managing my time is just one of those things that I have gotten better with over time. Due to my own compulsion, it has to be a certain way or it’s a total waste of my time. With that in consideration, I took a deeper look at how my progress was going with the system.

My Best Could Be Better

As I reviewed my daily logs since January, I realized that the evolution of the more personalized and customized system resulted in the elimination of a few pieces that also made it comforting work. The latest version had me still score my actionable items as opposed to questioning my progress towards long range goals for 10-12 weeks, even less.

The missing element was an evaluation method that informed me of where I was ad wasn’t progressing on my goals. What I realized was that I needed to focus on more of a simple set of evaluation questions to get to my progress towards goals.

What did I struggle with today?

What are some possible solutions?

Am I closer to my goals today?

I usually score my check boxes by the number completed versus the total number of check boxes for the day. I had set my mark for 85%. Oddly enough, I reviewed my work and even on my best days I was at 83% and 84%. I decided during this reset to adjust my mark of success to 80% until I feel the need for a change. I just want to make sure that my daily goals remain in line with my long term goals.

I was doing good, but I know that I can be better. I just need to place more emphasis on progress through daily actions. I can do way better in working towards my goals. I just need to document that work.

Goals and Golf = My Breaking 90

When I read Brian Tracy’s Goals!, I was still coming off a motivational high from David Goggins giving me insights into true endurance and fight through Can’t Hurt Me. Where Goggins left me high and with my feet off the ground, Tracy slapped me across the face with another level of a wake-up call. He gave me an a-ha moment like in Eat That Frog where I finally figured out where the puzzle piece I had along fit into the big picture of getting things done.

I lacked commitment and consistency.

The 12 Week Year taught me the new definition for commitment that I felt compelled to live out fully. It stated that commitment is: the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action. In the past, my understanding of commitment was to just show up and at least show up on time if not early. This new definition forced me to have some kind of skin in the game.

In golf, some folks are comfortable wagering on a round. They play relaxed and calm, no sign that they feel pressured or anything like that. Then, there’s the other guy like me. He’s calculated the risk and has worked out scenarios on how to play it safe and smart, even if there’s money on the line. I have to tap into a buried part of my past to climb out of the darkness and swing for the fences off the tee and putt with finesse around the green.

My cousin and I used to place bets on each other’s shots, but we used to talk trash and take shots at each other’s confidence. We knew each other well and knew which buttons to punch and when to put just enough pressure on them. The money was no longer a factor by the turn. Pride was on the line once we got to the back nine.

Where I could never get tripped up was once I determined a certain goal, a score or a different focus beyond $2 per hole par or better. Once I had the determined mindset and focus, I was clear and the game played out right along with me. On one outing my cousin smoothly told me that I could relax and go to the bar or something to loosen up at the turn. I simply said with a smile,”I’ve never played so relaxed in my life.”

Golf goals allow you to focus and draw a mental map, detailing your plans from hole to hole. I am not saying that you picture every shot and situation. What I am saying is that you develop a calmness and a sense of confidence because you have considered a wide variety of scenarios with their best potential solutions ahead of time. In real time, all you are doing is evaluating which scenarios require which solutions.

What if you flub a putt read? Did you get any closer to hole? Then that’s progress.

What if my drive veers off to the left and lose some yardage? Adjust and compensate for the loss in your approach shot. That’s situational solutions to aid in making progress.

I am on Day #2 of the reset, but I am certain of one thing. It’s bound to get better because I am looking it over and placing my focus on progress for my long term goals.


Update: 7-26-20

Morning Weigh-In: 284.9 lbs

Activity: Jog/ speed walk 1.36 miles, 170 incline push-ups, hip-hop/ Afrocentric dance @ 20 minutes

What I learned today: Speed walk is less stress to body and maintains a pace @16 miles per hour or less, even when the outdoor heat is averaging 80-85 degrees.

Plan Your Play Part 1

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Golf is a game.  Some will go so far as to call it a sport.  You play golf for fun.

You play golf for the challenge.  You play golf for the experience.  You play to get better.

“If you play poorly one day, forget it. If you play poorly the next time out, review your fundamentals of grip, stance, aim and ball position. Most mistakes are made before the club is swung. If you play poorly for a third time in a row, go see your professional.”
Harvey Penick 

Golf is a game like I said.

I view it is a game that requires both skill and strategy.  In essence, to play golf, you need to plan your play.  Otherwise, you will suffer from many of the ills that plague so many and leave them frustrated for an average of 18 holes and too many strokes.

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Plan Your Play for Each Outing

You need to know what you have to face when you go out to play.  Blindly jumping onto any course without knowing the lay of the land is like breaking every rule of The Art of War.  Get a preview of the course and its layout before you head out in order to get an idea for what type of shots will come into play.

For instance, I love a long course.  Hit me with a handful of par 5’s and limited amount of par 3’s and I am good.  I use Greenskeeper to get a sneak peak of courses that I have yet to play or that I haven’t played in a while.  After all, some of these groundskeepers and course managers love to make more than subtle changes from season to season.  Forget pin placement.  I am talking about overall structural changes.  These can throw off your plans tolay up on approach or go for the green in two.

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One of my favorite courses is Singing Hills (Sycuan Resort).  It has a great layout for long ball play and challenging holes for approach shots.  I take on the par 3 Pine Glen course for some short game practice and walking, but I tend to love the wide spaces offered on the Willow Glen and Oak Glen courses.   Even though I have played these courses multiple times and played some of my best golf there over the years, I still find that hosting numerous tourneys has led to some changes over time.  Plan prior to play.

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Plan Your Equipment for Your Challenge

I have some days where I never touch the beach.  Then, there are times where I cannot seem to get enough bunker sand in my socks.  I also find that much of this tends to stem from the type of course I am playing and the type of equipment.

Considered sort of heavy handed? Got hybrids? Use them more often than your irons.  I don’t care if play blades or cavity-backed clubs.  The advent of the hybrid is a godsend for big guy like me.  It’s more forgiving than my long irons, and it surely packs a punch like a wood.  You will never play at a higher level if you do not consider what type of equipment you are playing on different types of courses.

I tend to struggle with that approach shot that lies somewhere between 160 yards to 90 yards.  What used to be a soft 6 iron for me has now become a 3 hybrid half swing or a hooded 5 iron shot, all depending on what I am facing and where I am trying to go.

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More Things to Consider in Coming Posts

In future posts in this series, I want to point out how planning your play can go beyond the surface of scorecards and checking your golf bag’s contents.  I want you to consider how much more fun your game would be when your scorecard shows those 17 bogeys instead of that 3-digit monster that haunts so many weekend golfers from course to course.

You can open your mind to all sorts of methods of getting there.  The biggest challenge is to narrow down all of your choices to a simple solution that works for you.  That’s the whole point.  Find what works for you and play it all the way.

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When Fitness Friday is a Flop

Some days work out better than others.  That’s just a fact.

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Fitness Fridays Require Focus (Even After They Fail & Flop)

I try to spend my Fridays with a focus on fitness.  Like I shared previously, fitness for the fairway makes a huge difference in your game.  Strength training, nutrition and some yoga or basic stretching can help make a difference in your scorecard.

Some Fridays that doesn’t happen.  It just doesn’t work out.

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Flop Shots and Inconsistency

It goes sort of like that flop shot that every golfer seems to flip out about mastering.  As much as golf pros and swing coaches might suggest ditching the lob wedge in lieu of a gap wedge or alt wedge, it still sits in the bag.  We still try to force ourselves to emulate or rather imitate what we see Lefty pull off from the fringe.  We consider it working on our short game and fight to master a flop with finesse.

I have yet to see it work out.  Its infrequent and inconsistent success keeps me chipping with my other wedges and 9 iron more consistently rather than taking the risk of yips taking over as I overthink what should be a simple and routine shot.  I would rather face a shot with consistency and confidence.  I would even putt it from the fringe if the lie is right and I can see the possibility of getting a good line at the hole.  That beats out the possibility and potential of a flop from the fringe every time.

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Focus on Fixing What You Can Fix

So, when it comes to my Fitness Fridays, I sometimes lose focus or even miss the opportunity.  I make the mistake of not getting in enough protein.  I skip a meal or commit some other fitness cardinal sin.  It turns out like that flop shot.

When your fitness focus flops, be sure to set up a comeback.   Do not beat yourself up too much.  You just need to refocus and get back at it to get back on track.

Comeback Commitment

  • Talk yourself out of doubt.  Your self-talk will make a difference in your success.
  • Spend some time making a commitment to your fitness and nutrition regimen.
  • Set some simple and attainable goals.  Think SMART goals.
  • Work on working in some makeup days in your weekly routine.
  • Meal plan and meal prep ahead of time, not the morning of or on the fly.
  • Keep a journal or diary of your fitness journey.  Include workouts and meals, even results from weigh-ins.
  • Get an accountability partner to keep you honest and supported.

Your success is about long term results.  Such success is achieved through commitment and consistency.  You can change the course of your own success by making some changes along the way.

Think about it.  Your golf round is not summed up by your worst par 3 hole.  It is the culmination of all 18 holes.  Approach your fitness plan the same way.

I want to make my Fitness Fridays more successful.  I want to see a change in my strength and shape, even my weight.  I cannot achieve it if I stay in the dumps about what one day that did not work out.  I have more to achieve and I need to spend some time making sure that I focus on how to fix it when it flops.

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Now that flop shot? I think I will spend some time working on it here and there, but I doubt if it ever becomes one of my go-to shots that I would rely on in pinch.  I will treat it like the days when my fitness focus does not work out.  I will simply take a step back analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and then I will shove that lob wedge back in my bag and take a sure shot that I feel more confident about each round.

Fitness Fixes to the Fairway

I need to lose weight.

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If I am going to break 90 consistently, dropping pounds and improving strength and stamina are definitely necessities.  Otherwise, my golf game will be so inconsistent it will become unpredictable.

I started a regular fitness regimen a few years ago and it has been beneficial.  I walk.  I run and jog.  I play hoops.  I lift weights.  I hit up the cardio classes at 24 Hour Fitness on the weekends.  And I need to keep losing weight and building up my strength and stamina.

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It helps with my overall health and wellness.

It also helps with my golf game.

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Some time back, I found it difficult to walk a par 3 18-hole course.  Heck, I could hardly handle a 9-hole with over 6 clubs in my bag at  that time.  It was all about a cart or no deal.

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Nowadays I can walk that 18 hole par 3 course.  I prefer mornings myself.  There is something about that fresh cut grass smell in the air and the frost coming off the greens to make them slightly slick in the right (and wrong) places.  It also serves as a major step count boost, especially if you get 18 holes out of the way early in the day.

My fitness level improves my ability to have a strong game.

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Consider the following items to fix your fitness for the fairway:

  • Nutrition: Check out your diet; what you take in day by day, meal after meal.  Track meals and manage your diet based on your weight and other health goals.
  • Exercise: Get moving daily.  Get those step in day after day.  Join a run club or a fitness center.  Walk at the local park.  Just get up and get motivated to get moving.  The heaviest thing you lift should not be your golf bag.
  • Rest: I used to not give this any credit, sleeping 4 to 5 hours per night and wondering why my immune system would shut down on me every so often.  Duh!! I average 6.5 to 7 hours now.  I even cut off my snacking after 9 PM due to how it disrupted my sleep.  Like the commercial says: never underestimate a good night’s rest.
  • Stress Reduction: If you do not reduce your stress level soon, you will create a load of problems for yourself further down the road.  Stress disrupts your entire system.  Major and chronic illness is called disease.  In other words, your body system is NOT at ease.  From blood pressure and heart disease to anxiety and panic attacks, stress is a killer.  At the least, stress can kill a great foursome and a good round of golf.  Just ask your playing partners.

Make the most of your opportunities to stay fit.  Fix what you need to fix to get fit for the fairway.  It will show on your scorecard.  Your body will definitely thank you for it.

17 Bogeys

The most important shot in golf is the next one.” – Ben Hogan

Breaking 90 is simple.

All it takes is 17 bogeys.

All you have to do is make 1 over par on 17 holes and make par on 1 hole.

Sounds simple. . .

But breaking 90 is not so easy if you do not play every other day or couple of days, or even every weekend.  Without consistent play, breaking 90 can seem like a massive endeavor.

This is simply a reflective look at how a high handicapper took on a simple challenge to document the process of breaking 90.  It is about setting goals and working on how to achieve set goals on a consistent basis.  It is a journey about accomplishment and activity.

Join me on this journey and let’s tee off.

 

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