Striving for Small Goals Leads to Improvement

The 5 Stages of Improvement

What does the process of improvement entail? Growth in golf is a matter of focusing on the journey. When you understand the stages of improvement, you can steadily improve your golf game.

Improvement runs through a cyclical process. When you stay within the loop, you achieve incremental improvement.

1. Celebrate successes – Celebrating success may seem like it should be the last step, but recognizing achievement boosts confidence.

So, give yourself credit for your hard work, preparation, focus, and success after you accomplish a goal.

This step also allows you to develop the habit of seeing the positive instead of ruminating about mistakes, double bogeys, high scores, or bad rounds.

2. Identify the next goal – After you have celebrated your success, it is time for you to pause and set your next realistic goal.

Your goal can be adding distance to your drive, eliminating triple bogeys, or any other measurable objective.

In addition, goals should be well-defined and achievable to maintain positive momentum.

3. Create a goal plan – Now that your goals are in place, create an action plan that directs your efforts and focus, including short-term objectives. 

In other words, what mental and physical steps will you take to bring your goals to fruition?

4. Get to work – Action is an essential step. A plan without action leads you nowhere.

Make sure to practice with purpose. Also, include mental training in your daily regimen.

5. Trust the process – This step often trips up golfers. Don’t abandon your goals when you don’t see immediate progress.

Goals are often met with adversity. Keep focusing on what you could do today to achieve your objectives, and know that each positive action moves you forward.

The idea is to focus on improvement, not perfection or extreme high expectations.

Women’s golfer Valery Plata earned her full status on the LPGA Tour by finishing third in the 2022 Ladies Professional Golf Association Q-Series.

The LPGA Q-Series is a two-week event with the Top-70 players competing and the top 20 players earning full status on the Tour.

Plata has steadily elevated her game throughout her college career at Michigan State University. She was a three-time All-Big Ten First Team selection and was the league’s Player of the Year in 2020.

PLATA: “This is just the start of the journey, and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m proud of myself and so thankful for all of the people who have supported me along the way.”

As you can see, Plata is fully committed to the improvement process, “This is just the start of the journey.”

After celebrating her success, Plata is focused on her next target and getting back to work.

Focus on gradual improvement, little successes, and small goals instead of major accomplishments.

Small goals can be accomplished in the near future, while long-term goals can feel unattainable or unrealistic when you are not playing well.

Small “wins” provide a sense of accomplishment, thus boosting confidence and sustaining motivation.

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