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Instead of setting goals, follow this three-step process to improve golf game

It is the start of a new year and decade. Everyone is talking about setting goals. Losing weight, getting in shape, blah, blah, blah. I don’t like setting goals. Maybe it’s just the word. Maybe it’s because everyone says you have to. I don’t know.

For those of you who might be like me, there is another option. I have created a three-step process that I use anytime I need to make a change or decision. I also use this approach when I might be frustrated with an outcome or seek to improve an area of my life or business. It emphasizes visions and plans for improvement, rather than goals.

Step 1: Discomfort as a path to change

Why does this bug me? You know when you get that yucky feeling in your stomach and you have no idea why?  It is a warning that something is up.  You need to stop and reflect. It could be something someone said to you that struck a nerve that makes you say, “Here we go again. You screwed up.”

How does this work with setting goals, plans and visions for this new decade? Reflect on the past year, or past decade. How did you do? How far have you come? What have you accomplished? Did you do well, or do you need to up your game? What ticks you off? What do you want to change?

I use the symbol of a nail. I am typically motivated by stopping pain instead of seeking reward. If you were sitting on a nail and it was digging into your leg, would you stay there, whine and complain about it, or get up?  How bad does it need to hurt for you to be willing to do something about it? I use the nail to help me evaluate how much pain it is causing me and help me decide if I want to do something about it.

Step 2: Self-Assessment

What can you do about what you don’t like? There are four choices when it comes to knowing what your options are:

    1. You can change the situation;
    2. You can change your perception of the situation;
    3. You can leave the situation;
    4. You can do nothing.

How you respond to the situation will determine what you do next. Are you sick of playing bad golf? Are you physically able to do something about it? If so, stop whining and do something about it. How about that person at work who drives you nuts? Do you want to learn how to get along better? Take the responsibility and make the first move.

I use a mirror to represent this step. I must have the courage to look in the mirror. What have I done to cause the situation? Can I be big enough and make myself accountable and create change? This step can be difficult as we sometimes need to expose elephants. Once they come out, the demons go away. If you have the courage to do this, I guarantee you, it will be worth it.

Step 3: Total Investment in the Process

How can you make the necessary changes to get what you want? In order to redeem or get back your life or mission, you need to start somewhere. I use the symbol of a seed. You must be willing to plant a seed, water it, nurture it, and give it time to grow.

Anything worth having usually takes time. Once you know why you want something, and what you need to do to get it, you can create a plan to make it happen. Small steps moving in the right direction over time will deliver.

I challenge you this year to try this three-step process. I know it has helped me along the way. Figure out your why. Are you seeking reward or avoiding pain?  Then it’s time to figure out what you want. Once you know those two things, you can create a plan for how you will get what you want.

Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player, a current member of the Legends Tour of the LPGA, and a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach. She is a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Judgment Professional who is sought after as a speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. She inspires and challenges people to take another shot at business, sport, or life. For your FREE Learning Style Assessment, click HERE!  Reach out to her at Follow Cindy at  and on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.


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