Anything but routine! 

Karl Morris
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The 8th green on Montgomerie at Carton House - By Kevin Markham

 It seems like a lifetime ago now but do you remember The Open at St Andrews in 2010? 

The South African Louis Oosthuizen won by seven clear shots after never previously making a cut in a major championship. You may also remember how he focused on a little red dot positioned on his glove before each shot as part of his routine. It was a strategy we had worked on together to allow him to organise his mind to be in the right place on each individual unique shot. It worked perfectly that week. It was a great example of an effective routine. 

We all know the value of having a good routine on the golf course. Numerous top players attest to the fact that a good routine allows them to weather the golfing storms and be able to come through under extreme pressure. A routine gives the brain a sense of certainty in an otherwise endlessly chaotic game.  

We cannot control the outcome of a tournament; we cannot control what others are doing and we certainly cannot always control our golf ball, but we can control our process before we hit that ball and our reactions after. 

However, have you ever thought your success or failure in any endeavour will to a large extent be determined by the quality of your routines? I have spoken at great length before about my belief that success is merely an accumulation of ‘good days’. If we put in enough good days, we give ourselves every opportunity of reaching our goals.  

Focus too much on the goal and not the day in front of you and this is a recipe for much frustration and the shifting sands of outcomes and constantly changing what we aim to do with our lives.  

Within the good day principle is merely a set of established routines and rituals. Many of these rituals are on fully automatic pilot and so well established we don’t even look at them. For me the concept of beginnings and endings are so important.  

If we start the day well, then we have a heck of chance to keep the momentum going. Start the day badly and it is very tough to gather enough steam to make the day a success. The problem in the morning is we will more than likely feel like doing anything other than a productive routine. That comfy pillow and warm duvet wraps us in a cocoon of comfort. Just another five minutes is all I need. We have all been there! 

Once we do manage to get up we seek the point of least resistance. The tv or the radio go on and our brain is fed with the latest merry go round of doom and gloom.  

The staple diet fed to us from the media industry is bad news. Bad news gets our attention, it holds us captive. Yet how much good does this do us as an individual? What are we fuelling our brain with?  

I have heard it said on more than one occasion that when we wake up, we are for the most part in a ultra-dehydrated state. Our brain is craving water. Our brain needs water to function efficiently yet what do we often feed it with? Coffee or sweet fruit juice. Entirely your choice but if your brain could tell you what it really wanted, what do you think it would come up with?  

If there is ever a time to give your brain some water, the morning is it. What other fuel do we put in? Healthy breakfast or just something convenient? We all know by now how bad a croissant or sugary cereal is for us. It is not the knowing which is the problem, it is the auto pilot of routine.  

Does your day have a plan? Or do you take it as it comes? Again, not for me to say what you should do but more for me to ask you to ask yourself the question about your routines. If you had a routine on the golf course that constantly printed out bad shots, I guess you would change it.  

I have seen over and over again how much difference it can make when I get a client to look at their morning routine and really ask some honest and searching questions. It can literally be as simple as taking on more water the very first thing in the day that can create a tipping point towards a more productive and enjoyable day. That one simple choice sets of a series of other choices.  

The definition of a good or bad personal day will to a large degree be down to the decisions you make within your routines. Yes of course we can’t control what the world throws at us but we do have control over our own decisions.  

Examine your routines closely, you may not end up lifting a Claret Jug but you WILL have a far more productive life. 

To book a Mind Factor workshop with Karl Morris at your club, go to www.themindfactor.com  

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