• Resolutions and Commitments

  • I’m not necessarily proud of saying this but, I’ve watched a lot of golf on TV. I don’t much anymore because I have a life . . . full of other things to do. However, putting aside the amount of time I’ve wasted, I have learned a few things from watching golf as much as I have. One of the skills I’ve learned, both by watching and playing golf, is visualization.

    So try this: The next time you grow tired of watching paint dry, turn on a golf tournament some weekend. Pay attention to how the players approach each of their shots. You’ll see that all of them have developed a routine that is repeated before every shot. Almost all of the players will spend a few moments standing behind their ball. You will see many of them move their eyes from the ball in front of them to the target. After a few moments, they will step up to the ball and make their swing. 

    So, just what is it they are doing during their routine? They are visualizing the shot they want to make before they even take a swing. In the span of a few moments before ever striking the ball, they are “seeing” the shot they want to make. They take into account a variety of factors: the “lie” of the ball, wind direction, what hazards lay between their ball and the target, etc. They visualize how they want to shape their shot. The trajectory which they want the shot take to control distance. They also calculate where they want to miss if they make a mistake in their swing. 

    The last thing they do before stepping up to their ball is what players call “committing to the shot.” This means they trust their body will enact all that they have already “seen” in their mind. Once committed, they execute the shot they have already seen themselves make. It is remarkable to witness a player do what he or she has set out to do. In fact, here’s an example of what I’m talking about which results in one of the most astounding golf shots I’ve ever seen: 

    So why is this piece entitled “Resolutions and Commitments?” Because every New Year, one can find article after article about making “new years resolutions.” There is a link below to one such article. The thing about these pieces is no matter which one you read, they all have great ideas. Few of them however talk about two important ideas that pro golfers and other athletes have learned while perfecting their craft: The process of visualization and commitment.

    You see in order to commit to anything, be it a golf shot, a home improvement project or becoming a better partner in our marriage, we first must clearly be able to “see” what we are about to commit ourselves to. The clearer we can visualize our path, what and where the hazards are, what mistakes we might make and what we must do to achieve our goal, the better equipped we become in committing to what we will set out to do. So that, like Tiger Woods standing over that shot on the 16th green at the Masters, we commit and allow ourselves to execute that which we have already seen ourselves achieve. When we have clearly seen all what we want will look like, commitment is much easier. And, we are much better equipped to work through the unexpected yet inevitable obstacles which arise in any endeavor. Be it on the golf course, the back yard or in our marriage and relationships.

    Here’s to wishing you the happiest of all New Years. May 2016 exceed your expectations. May you execute every shot with perfection. May you find that your reach rarely if ever exceeds your grasp. Happy New Year!

    On Making (and Keeping) New Years Resolutions