“Habits of the Mind: Change Your Brain, Change You!” By: pointagolf.com

Your brain is changing all the time. This means you are changing also. When you take in new information the brain changes by making new brain cell connections.

When new information is practiced and applied repeatedly, lasting changes or habits are being wired into the brain’s information highway. However, new information without applying it to action is quickly weeded out if it is not used. Use it or lose it is what brain science suggests.

 Any habit is learned through repetition. Anything you want to learn is first learned through conscious repetition until it becomes an unconscious habit action. Habits, both good and bad, are developed by repeating something over and over until it becomes a learned skill and applied without conscious thought.

People’s reactions, both positive and negative, to situations are mostly habit based. You can change your reactions if you so desire. If you have decided that your typical reactions are not benefitting you then make the choice to do something different. This is the first step in making a change. I speak from experience that my experiences on the golf course changed drastically when my thinking changed. 

When golfers hit a poor shot or make an undesired number and have a negative reaction to those realities, they are feeding a habit that may not be beneficial to them. The suggestion here is to make a conscious effort to react differently by having a pre-planned action ready for use when needed. One idea is to play the “positive game”: after each shot you make a positive statement. If you make a negative statement you must put a predetermined amount in the till, maybe a dollar per negative statement.

 Why is it so hard to change your habits or reactions that you have always done on the golf course? Because these habits through repeated use are hardwired in your brain. Nerve cells that fire together, wire together which creates a habit. A good way way to change a habit is through nonuse. Create a new pattern that is used instead.

 In order to make a change, take the time to be aware of what your thoughts and behaviors are. This kind of awareness allows you to determine what you want to change. Deciding how you want to behave and think on the course before you even go out to play gives you the tools to make the change from damaging negative behavior to positive thought patterns.

 Create a new thought pattern and repeat it throughout your round. As you use this new thought pattern, you are making new connections in the brain. You are actually changing your brain. The stronger these new patterns of thought become through repetition the less conscious effort it will take to think in the manner that you desire.

 As you begin to interrupt and change your typical thoughts, you may hear a voice in your head that says, “Whoa, this is uncomfortable. I’m not used to reacting with that kind of statement. This feels different.” Then you may say to yourself, “I’m not sure that I can change, this is not me.” You may have a strong desire to get back to comfortable and use what is familiar. When you can make the choice to change your thought patterns it will feel uncomfortable and less predictable because this new way of thinking is not hardwired in your brain, it is not a habit, it’s not you yet. At this moment you have two choices: to go back to familiarity or to move on to what is unpredictable, the new way of thought and a new you.

 • You have the ability to change your thoughts and your behavior and create the picture of how you want to react to situations.

• You can choose to talk to yourself in a positive manner and forget the past and have no anxiety about the unpredictable future.

• You can choose to be at Point A, which is a brand new beginning with no baggage from the past.

• You can be in this moment right now with positive thoughts that you consciously choose to use and create the person and golfer you want to be in this moment.

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