Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode #12 – Learn golf mental game with Role of habits in achieving goals with Martin Grunburg
Martin Grunburg is widely regarded as the “father” of the modern habit-tracking movement. A renowned innovator in the behavior change arena, Grunburg published the world’s first, “Habits to Goals” methodology within his bestseller, The Habit Factor® (2010)
The first question I have for you, Martin, is where did this all begin? Where did it start? Where did you find your love and passion for habits?
Well, nothing of significance happens really overnight. And the habit factor begins with my journey from absolute frustration, even anger. I really struggled with achieving goals, with just how do I get from point A to point B?
And what I recognized over time was it was far less about the To-Do list and far more about the core recurring behaviors or habits. And the origin story goes something like this. I and I count this course in the book, but I shed this really big bucket list type goal. It was to paddle from Catalina Island to Manhattan Beach.
And in all its 32 miles. And I set the goal because I had struggled so much with the process and I was like, if I die tomorrow it seems like a silly question but really it provided so much clarity. If I died tomorrow, what would I most regret? And out of that exercise, a bizarre or imaginary exercise came this challenge, this goal to paddle 32 miles.
And then I panicked. And it just so happens that I have like, tracking shit right here with me. But what originated out of this challenge in that question was this process And it had nothing to do with Smart Goals or To-Do List. And it had everything to do with practicing intentionally. The correlated behaviors, the habits that will lead me to my goal.
And so since then, we have a podcast, of course, called Habits to Goals. And that’s the methodology we’ve been teaching now for 15 years. And actually that’s how I met Rick. Now that I love that right is to go a bit deeper on that methodology. I know you present the Paul method. I know that’s the plan at record reassess to set the scene for our listeners.
Could you just go into a bit more detail on what those different stages are and have by that method in order to actually implement and sustain habits?
You know, what’s fascinating now is and I got let’s say a little bit of slack for that at the beginning, or FLAC, I should say, because the existing science and again, Rick knows there is, but the existing science around a habit is something called and I want to paint a picture for you the distinction between PA and Q where gene reward.
So a cue routine reward is based on the science of studying rats and mice rodents. You and by the way in a maze so they put them near a maze. Right. And they put cheese in the maze. In the Q was there the rodent saw the maze and went through the maze and found the cheese. And they thought, wow, this really applies to humans.
Because what happens is, you have a cue and then you get a reward. The faster you go through the maze. And the challenge with that is we’re obviously not rodents. And we have three unique capacities. So I’m still getting to the PA method. I just want to set this up. The innate human capacities of choice. Right. We can choose our habits.
We’re not rodents. So first problem with Q routine reward. We can choose our habits intentionally, then we can plan them. Rodents aren’t planning their new habits, and then we can reflect. So what we proposed, I proposed 15 years ago, is set a plan that is your intention, and you can even I mean, frankly, there’s no better cue than a plan.
So you have a plan, then you act, which creates self-efficacy a lot of the reason people really struggle and I know this was my case. If you feel like you’re not in control of things or your life, then what happens is you’re unhappy. And when you’re happy, bad things happen. Bad decisions have.
So why check off if I tell them that I’m going to do ten pushups today and I do ten pushups today, I feel great.
I’ve proved I’m in control. So we plan. We act, we record, which is as simple as a check. And following this process, it’s just binary. It’s ones and zeros. And then we reassess, guess after 28 days. So, what that looks like if I say, I want to lose weight, that’s my goal. A lot of people use this to lose weight.
My goal is to lose 15 pounds, identify three habits. So let’s say jog for 15 minutes three times a week. So that’s the plan. And then the question is how long is it? 15 minutes. Is it 40 minutes? Typically we want to set the bar very low. So we plan.
We identified the days of the week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 15 minutes. And then we act, we record and we reassess.
The other two habits might be I’m trying to move through this quickly, but the other two habits might be eating a salad three times a week and drinking eight glasses of water. So those are three habits. I’m on the track for 28 days, four weeks, and then I’m going to reassess. And if I do well, so I happen to be wearing this shirt.
I don’t know if you’re going to read this. Yes, it’s a great habit. Strength, added strength. So the idea is we track and reassess over a 28 day period and then we raise the bar. So now it might be four salads a week. If I never ate one salad a week, it may be running for 40 minutes if I did 85% or better running for 20 minutes. Does that make sense?
Yes. And what I appreciated reading the book way back when is when because I love the book so much that I reached out to you and I’ve never contacted another author since it’s amazing to me what it was and how it, how it applied.
Obviously as a golf coach I have a lot of people who have goals they want to shoot lower scores, but there’s a huge disconnect with the actions.
And what I had found, and you just mentioned it, is I’m a big believer in small incremental steps that over time now become a habit which now becomes a behavior. Now we don’t have to think about it as much, but don’t people don’t take enough time to really assess.
Well, one of them is working or not. But back to the goal: what are those habits and behaviors?
They just say, I’m going to practice more and that’s just too vague, right? We want to know. Maybe we need to work on wedge proximity to the hole closer to the hole. How I’m going to do that is I’m going to space out three days a week where I’m going to work.
What I appreciated from you is that you’re taking it not just as an action, but the other part is the values with it, the energy we want to bring to those habits because you’re connecting it to the habit.
It gets me closer to my outcome. Yet we’ve all talked too about it’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process. But I think what I learned from you is it’s it is both. It has to be both. Right. You can’t have a plan unless you know what the outcome is for people. It’s dichotomous thinking coaches.
I mean, it’s all over the business world. People say, you got to do this, don’t do this. You got to do this, don’t do this. So often, it’s what I love. First of all, you are the very first habit factor certified professional. And you couldn’t you couldn’t model a better pro that the second part of that is it’s a blessing and a curse to have it factor is such a general framework.
I didn’t want to come out with the book and say and this is no offense to the legend of course Dr. Stephen Covey but I didn’t want to say it’s about seven habits or or the millionaire habits. What I was saying is this is about the force of habit, singular. And it’s so powerful. It’s not about seven habits.
It’s not about a millionaire habit. It’s so powerful that a guy like Rick who’s an expert in golf can look at this framework and say, this is the outcome. These are the behaviors yours. And he can custom tweak it and craft it. And this is why it works so well for coaches in every field, whether you’re trying to lose weight or become a better golfer.
Right. And that’s Gohmert. I was like I said, that’s part of our philosophy. Our flow code is we are creating a framework and we want somebody to experiment and find out what the triggers are and what they are because I think that’s part of life is not to just be told this is what you do.
But the last thing is and just want to reiterate the importance of when you feel like you’re in control of something, there’s more momentum in that.
And I again go back to let’s get those small wins along the way. Let’s make those checks, let’s build momentum. And then you start to see yourself as a different person. Which of course is what we’re trying to do in 28 days. So absolutely, yeah, that what, what makes it so powerful is, is the momentum itself. What happens is and again, I think I said it, but just to be clear, we are articulate, we identify the basic targets of any practice period.
So if it’s 20 minutes of putting, we don’t get to check if we putted for 40 minutes. All right because habit and I know this is improper English alone so don’t kill me habit doesn’t care about bursts of energy.
That was one of my big struggles. I used to be like I’m going to run a marathon. And then I’d go out and run 13 miles and I’d be sure and I’d never run again for four months.
That’s not, that’s not how it works by planning acting or recording and reassessing that’s how we can get there. It just occurs to me the one other thing that I didn’t say is science is now coming kind of full circle. They are new and I think I’ve shared this with you, Rick, and I’ve certainly talked to Glenn about it.
There are multiple studies now talking about the significance of intentional practice in habit development. So supporting, of course, this part methodology. Absolutely love that. Mark Martin, I want to go to Rick mentioned it. He said that in 21 days or 28 days, you want to change who you are.
So I want to talk a bit more about identity tape, because something I believe in is that we should want the process of becoming more so than the moment of achievement.
I speak about it with a lot of my players. They’re seeking or hoping to get to the European tour. Most of them want that European tour card more than they want the process of becoming a European tour player. So when it comes to identity, and habits, how important is that relationship?
And even you mentioned in terms of losing weight, should you want to become a healthy individual more so than you want to just lose weight?
Is that important? Is that an important differentiation when it comes to habit formation and sustaining habits is critically important. What I think a lot of people are forgetting in this, there’s so much talk about identity now, like that, some massive breakthrough. What would I like to do? Let’s go way, way, way back the left and the Latin route of habit.
Do you happen to know what that is? It’s okay. I’m not putting you on the spot. I just would love to hear it. It’s a habit, tough habits, and it means condition or character. What was that last word? I use every character, Dirk what? His character. Identity.
So this is just another person out there tweaking ideas. But yeah, I’ve been talking about this for a very, very long time, and we can see this with a guy like Benjamin Franklin.
Okay, what was he doing? Do you know this story about Benjamin Franklin? Anybody know? Oh, come on. Well, I know, I know, I know. There’s probably a way to go. I always practice. I was practicing on the golf course. I skipped history class. Okay, so this is fascinating. And you never want to forget this ever again. This is why, in many ways, he’s considered like the founding father of all personal development, almost.
I mean, you can look at Aristotle, but what he did was in this, he was at 20 years old, just 20. He’s on this transatlantic journey. He’s actually coming back to Philadelphia, and he’s had some struggles and business dealings that didn’t go well. And he realized he needed to improve himself. His character. Okay.
So he decides to track what he calls 12 virtues, except for each virtue.
He’s tracking habits which create virtue, which creates character. In other words, right if I want to be known as having the honesty virtue. Right, correct. That means I just have the habit of behaving honestly.
So what Ben did was to decide he was going to track these very he called them virtues but he was really tracking habits. So he was tracking habits a couple hundred years ago.
So you can add that to electricity and the Declaration of Independence and all the other brilliant things this man did, he was intentional about crafting his character, which is his identity. So the second part of your question is you have these players, they want the tour card and they want a different identity. The truth is, you can work it from both sides of the equation.
There’s even a third side. But really, it’s okay. And it’s important to work that personal narrative but really, the narrative doesn’t mean and I can say I’m honest. I’m honest. I’m honest. If I’m running around stealing, that’s not good. There’s no congruence there. Right. So it’s a three pronged process for your students. At least three, maybe four.
They have to have a conducive environment, but they have you as a coach. So that’s one. They have to have a personal narrative that is supportive of where they’re trying to go. That’s too they need to develop the skills and habits that support where they’re trying to go.
That’s a process of intentional practice. That’s three. And then in between, they have to manage the emotions that kind of come and go, the highs and the lows but that’s more ephemeral.
So as a coach and I know Rick and I, we’ve talked about this a lot, the key point when we’re working on behaviors and skills is to practice that. But to make sure we have a conducive supportive environment and the personal narrative that drives that skill change, that behavior change, that habit change.
And by the way, I’m using those interchangeably because there really are now a lot of PhDs in behavior science trip all over themselves. Sadly, often on podcasts when somebody says, what’s the difference between a habit and skill?
And then they go and they give you some long answer. And I’ve seen this multiple times and then ultimately they’re like, you know, I don’t know. And the answer is they’re fraternal twins.
They’re pretty much the exact same thing. If I have the habit of playing the piano, chances are very good I have the skill of being a piano player.
Does that make sense? Sure. So I covered or have covered a lot of ground. I love that. And just whilst you’re on these definitions and the difference between a habit and a skill, how do you define a habit?
Martin because I’m sure there’s a lot of different definitions, but I’d love to hear go. So because the definition of habit is a recurring thought or behavior that takes on this form of automaticity.
Right? It becomes fairly automatic without a lot of conscious thoughts. So they tend to happen when we’re in a familiar environment. You get in your car and you drive home or to work, and sometimes you’re parking and you’re like, I mean, this happens.
Did I just drive? Like we go semi unconscious? Now we’re using the skill to drive and we’re employing the habits that we’ve developed over time but not that.
So in terms of and I’ve got a question here in terms of habits, because I think this is something that a lot of listeners would be concerned about when they consider implementing habits, implementing structure into their lives, especially when we talk about on the golf course, do you feel that habits can sometimes stop creativity, playfulness and things like that at flow?
We talk a lot about playfulness in mastering the golf mental game, the importance of being in a playful mindset, the importance of creativity as a flow trigger.
And sometimes you get that pushback where you say, Well, I don’t want to be too structured and I want to implement all these habits because it’s going to take me away from that spontaneity, that creativity, that playfulness.
So I guess what’s your response to the person that might respond to playfulness and creativity? It can be its own habit. It’s not that there’s nothing that precludes you from being creative because you have certain preparation routines and certain habits.
So in my world, I’m not trying to necessarily debunk the question, but in my world, they work together.
So it makes sense. Of course. Of course, that makes sense. Right. But the point of it is, is that I can have a habit of being creative and I can have a habit of, you know, just being able to brainstorm is that a habit on a weekly basis? So I think we’re Hallums talking about as we do get these golfers who are so much into routines and of course, routine is of course, becomes a habit that they they I had a question yesterday for somebody.
Should my routine be exactly the same amount of time? 23 seconds. Right. They become so trapped in it that there has to be some way. They don’t allow themselves the freedom to create and adapt and be in the moment.
So that’s kind of where I was going to go with that kind of same question is habits can feel rigid to people and I know I’m doing a narrative on that but feel rigid yet we’re trying to create an opportunity for people to know that they can create any habits they want that serve them towards their goals.
I love the comment and it’s easy to get caught up in. It begins with our understanding of language wedge and how we approach a concept.
So if somebody is new to this idea that they can craft habits intentionally that support their goals, and then or they’re hearing you’re coaching and they’re coming at your coaching with a certain understanding of habit then and those questions are going to arise.
Creativity is often sparked in I have a diagram in the habit factor which I believe that in between some people subscribed to this idea. I certainly do that this is this kind of super conscious awareness, if you will. And then there’s our consciousness. And in between that, how might my theory go something like this, the subconscious layer is in between.
So to connect to this super consciousness, if you will, we must transcend this subconscious level. And that’s just a factor of our brain waves.
And so while I’m no neuroscientist, you can find this information fairly easily. What, what happens when I’ve been to what we’ve studied is, is our brain waves fall into this more theta level and at the brain’s probably notice this is in your golf academy, I’m presuming flow.
Yes. So at the theta level that’s where habit exists too. So if I’m brushing my teeth, I’m checked out because I’m just like dota2 and then all of a sudden, whoa, I gotta put that on the podcast and then I, I run to my other room and I scribble down some notes and then I finish brushing my teeth.
What I’m suggesting is a very, very long way to do this is that habit is a conduit. How many times you get a breakthrough idea when you’re driving or you’re in the shower, right? So many times. And that’s because you’ve, you’ve fallen into this habitual mode where you’re I mean, let’s, let’s call it what it is. Your brain is just taking a rest from consciousness.
And so that’s a good thing. Now, the mindfulness community, who gets into this dichotomous mode of thinking, they’re like, habit is habit is bullshit, right? Like a habit is bad. You have to be mindful. Seven 24. Well, first of all, that’s impossible. Second of all, it’s not either or a work together with your brain. You’re wired for habits to conserve energy, to be efficient.
So these things all work together again, a very long way. Yeah, I love it. I love the answer that creativity actually is sparked when you are executing on habits because that’s the whole science behind it.
As you move into the subconscious, you’ve even transcended the subconscious into the super conscious. And that is so powerful. And I think so many people don’t appreciate that so it’s exactly the answer I was looking for.
Martin, I love it. All right. So Martin, we have these habits that are linked to goals and such and so now we’re starting to see that we’re getting closer to our goals. Yet when we look at golf, we practice a lot and we prepare.
And yet really what we’re looking at is can we perform that on the golf course with our bodies on Sunday when we’re playing for a couple of bucks and we have trash talking and and we’re just going to call that pressure right now.
Okay. So you and I have had some great discussions on that word pressure, which is a loaded word. And so I usually pose the question to my golfers at first, is pressure good or bad?
Great. And the answer that I get is really going to tell me a lot about their mindset. Right. So let me throw that to you, Martin.
Is pressure good or bad for performance? First of all, I love the question. I love the topic. And it’s very much like, to be clear, I think I spent at least five, maybe seven years studying habits before the habit factor came out.
I spent another after tripping over myself in certain performances and questioning others and not necessarily on the golf course, but a related to pressure environment.
And so what I realized when I finished with the habit factor is, one, I didn’t spend enough time talking about the influence of the environment on our skills and behaviors. And then I said, if I’m going to spend a lot of time studying the environment, what specifically am I going to study? And it turns out I was captivated by this idea of pressure.
And there are experts, no offense out there, experts, they literally say, and there’s books, you can find them excuse me, pressure is the enemy. Of success. They literally say it’s your nemesis.
And the short answer, which I skipped is it’s neutral, just like habit pressure doesn’t give a hoot. So it can either be incredibly bad or incredibly good.
Somebody like Martina never truly over a lab rollover. A lot easier for you to say. Yeah. So Martina intuitively knew that the pressure there can be. I think her great quote is that pressure is a privilege. And what we find and I know, you know, there’s when you look at the great athletes, they thrive in pressure. Now, the question becomes, should I take it or do you want to ask me why or why?
I think I mean, I know why Martin so why it can be found in physics simple physics. So I don’t mean to put you guys on the spot again. Oh, no, this is fun. I skipped that class, too. Yeah. I know. In physics alum, what is the formula for pressure? Oh, jeez, Google it. I have no I have no excuse because I’m not that long out of school, so I’ve got no way to hide the formula to hide it.
All right. Well, the force, is it something to do with goals? Is it something to do? It absolutely should. It sits next to acceleration, something like that. No, no. Well, I think it’s the fourth in math, right? How much force is put on a mask? Okay. This is, forgive me, graphics here. You may not ameliorate it. Can you read it?
School’s over. Over acceleration. Hey, that’s a force over area, area, area. So what is area well, let me break this down to pressure force over area. Let’s use a very simple analogy. Have you ever seen anybody lay on a nail intentionally? I’ve stood on a nail, unintentionally. Stole my one trick. Not only did I step on one to what I want to pull it out.
My knee went into another one. Which one did you hit? No. Yeah, that was a lot of fun. So. So what does this mean? What all this means is people don’t lay on a nail. They lay on a bed of nails. That area is expanding, right? They don’t stand on. And now they stand on a bed of nails.
So when is another example? I don’t want to kind of bounce around and show you how this physics formula, this simple physics formula applies to everything from performance to standing on a bed of nails Alcoholics Anonymous provides a support group. A lot of times people feel and by the way, this applies to any support group, but they feel isolated alone.
So the area is very small and they feel immense pressure when they increase their support environment, the pressure reduces. This is why support groups are so powerful and helpful. I mean, I was in a group called Entrepreneurs organization for ten plus years, and it was founded because too many entrepreneurs were killing themselves.
And the idea was if you could create these support groups, you may be able to prevent that.
So as it applies to performance, the answer still fits here. In my humble opinion. Right. And the way to increase the area is to plan, know what the outcome is. Right. What’s the outcome? Prepare, gather resources, read books, get coaches, watch videos, read more books, take lessons, plan, prepare and then practice. And then there’s four levels of practice we can go through later.
If you want but by doing that, you increase the area. Thus you reduce. You diminish the feeling of pressure and the pressure doesn’t go away. It just feels less because you’re now comfortable, you’re relaxed, so you’re able to perform. This is why in championship games, a lot of times the new team, there’s a defending champ.
They’ve been there many times and there’s a new team and they’re distracted by the lights.
They’re not comfortable. They’re the veteran team, more often than not it is comfortable. They understand it. They plan, right? They prepared, right? And they practice right. So I love it. And I think that, you know, at flow code, we look at the framing of what pressure means.
And then that could be I and I may be saying it incorrectly here, but could in essence change your internal support because you’re not fearing something, because you’re looking at it in a much different way.
So we look at, you know, if I ask some of my players, is pressure good or bad, they just jump and say it’s good because that really makes me know it’s important. When it’s important, I go back to my habits of being fully focused and I can’t wait now. And then other people, it’s like, oh, no, pressure means that I could fail and I don’t want to embarrass myself.
And so that that association with just the word is enough to trigger a response to how you’re saying it, which I like even more is it. Well, as a balancing act we can do something when we feel pressure and I can be prepared, I can plan in the future. So it doesn’t have the same effect on me physiologically or cognitively.
Yeah. And yeah, they work in concert. And you’re absolutely right. I mean, I love to say that pressure is good. But the truth of the matter is if you have brain surgery and you’ve never operated and in my head you open and you got you’re going to feel tremendous pressure and I’m probably as good as dead because you’re not you haven’t planned you haven’t prepared.
You don’t know. So all I’m suggesting is that pressure is low. I lean toward, I love it and I especially love it when I plan, prepare and practice. And again, there are four levels to that practice. You look at Steph Curry, nobody gets rid of the ball faster and you ask him why not that I was talking to him personally, but I’ve done the research and what he says is in practice, he’s practicing at such a rate of speed that the game itself seems slow.
So and I know great coaches like Rick do this, there are ways to enhance the pressure beyond the actual scope of even a championship match in practice so that, again
the preparation is done, the practice is done, and it feels comfortable no matter the stakes couldn’t. Martin can the way you feel pressure and the way you perceive pressure also be impacted by what you build your self-esteem around? So if you build your self-esteem around being the best, then you may feel stronger pressure than if you build your self-esteem around being the best learner potentially.
So you have the concept of anti fragility where actually the more things that are thrown at you, the stronger you become. And that obviously requires being the identity of the learner. And on boarding that rather than on boarding the identity of being the best. So that also surely has an impact on the amount of pressure that you feel or the way you perceive the pressure.
Yes. And what I’m trying to do is scribble a behavior model that I’ve shared with Rick. There’s no way you can read it, but you can get the general consensus, which is three circles. And so what you asked about was the internal circle, which is the narrative, right? The story in our head. Look, they all work together.
We talked about this at the open and so show if you play and prepare in practice, but your internal narrative is Oh, I always suck whenever I’m in the bunker and money is on the line, that’s not going to go well. But the truth of the matter is, with the proper planning, preparation and practice in the bunker, over time, that narrative is going to change.
It just will. Now, I’m not saying you only do one or the other. You can do both. You can work on the narrative, change that work on whatever triggers it to help a person. Rather, when they see the bunker, they don’t go, Oh my God, not again to the beach. But they can be like I love the beach.
I mean, the phrase I always say is this is an opportunity for greatness with my buddy is just saying that it’s just the funniest thing. So when you’re up against a tree or impossible lie, this is an opportunity for greatness. So it’s all these things working together to get the result or after another. And just to go further on self narrative.
So self narrative is key but can we also be influenced significantly by the narrative, other people reinforcing us? We are innately social beings, right? And we talk a lot about social flow and how people can access that and benefit from it. I know that if I have a slight inclination that I am good at something and then Martin or Rick tells me that, you know what, you’re fantastic at this.
I step into that even further and my self narrative becomes even stronger equally on the reverse. If I include that, I have a slight weakness in something in my environment. The people in my environment, the people in my network reinforce that I probably take ownership of that self narrative even more.
So it’s that important as well. When it comes to pressure and habits, the people that you’re spending time with, your social circle are going to essentially have a huge impact on both your habitual behaviors, your thoughts as well as the pressure that you feel and how you interpret.
So yeah, that’s there. It’s a great observation and the answer goes back to the circle. That outer circle is the environment and those are your friends and that’s also your coach can be there and that’s a resource and, and a great coach is feeding that supportive narrative that says you’re great when you’re in the sand. And, he’s also saying you don’t listen to these people.
It’s meaningless what they’re telling you. So it may seem important, but it’s not enough and so it’s kind of a nuanced answer because there’s a few ways to pick it but we can choose whose advice and opinions we’re listening to first. Second, a good coach is going to feed that supportive narrative. And third, we can also pick who we surround ourselves with.
But it’s a great question and they all work together when we talk about narrative because again, we have FlowCode talk a lot about cognitive reframing and self-talk. And I talk a lot about priming emotions of how you want to show up for something, you know, put your golf hat on. Now, I know you play a little bit, right?
And you know, enough of, of how I mean, it’s I think you’re almost your level but you’re getting that right. Yeah.
And they can read in the actual performance we’ll call it from hole one to whole 18 I guess I’m trying to ask if you have any habits that are self-awareness and triggers to get you back into, let’s say, the present moment. Wow. Yeah breathing. You know it’s funny for me to be giving for using my golf game as magic, but you can learn from anyone, Martin.
You can learn from anyone by yeah. I think there are a few routines that I like to bring into play in contention leading into the round. What do I want? I want no doubles. I like to hit a ball around the first team just to make sure I’m eyeing it correctly. And then on the putting, it’s the visualization and the breathing, deep breathing especially, you know, over a money putt, right?
So those sorts of things work in concert, and that’s where habit and skill development. So being in a theta mode and then kind of whipping yourself out and thinking strategically and really that’s a delicate dance in my mind when this executive part of the brain makes decisions, which is a huge part of golf, right?
Yes. And I mean, just when I realized which club to be pulling that, I probably saved ten strokes off my game just that. Right. So I think it is important to mention this delicate dance, if you will, from the executive part of the brain to the limbic system, which is where habits and skills hard and habits and skills reside.
And it’s just this dance. Right. And why I brought that up. And of course, I know you only get to get out on the golf course every now and then, but it’s for everyone that people think, oh, I’m only developing habits to things that I’m highly skilled at. Right. But I think when we’re enjoying a round of golf it is an opportunity to say, how do I get more enjoyment out of yes, I want to play better.
But when you’re talking about breathing and intention and visualization, anybody can do that. Not everybody can hit an iron shot as close as Collin Morikawa all the time. But the mindset he has is I’m a big believer that we all can achieve that skill through the habits and through those routines.
So you’re taking the same thing even though you’re not as highly competent on the golf course, you’re still creating these routines to get the most out of your skills.
Yeah, I’ll tell you when I got intentional and and by the way, there was a point where I’m like, all I have to do if I play because I tend to play almost once a week. But what I realized, if I really wanted to get better playing two or three times a week was a significant improvement.
And then the other not at all just joining Flow Golf Academy, that’s another thing yeah. And and it was also the the scoring like being intentional about about whether it was a bogey or a par and just just taking the time to score and and by the way, real quick, you know, at the end of nine.
I don’t want to be more than three over, you know, that type of thing, which was a significant job so the other thing that I learned from again, your first book Habit Factor was I could have my own scorecard that had nothing to do with score for those 18 holes that did I commit to a shot, did I visualize on the shot.
So those are those little things that I want people to understand that we’re all going to be on a different level. Some shoot 70, some shoot 90. Yet we can create these habits that we check off on every single intentional shot of that. I love it. Yeah. And it could be as simple as a stance. It could be as simple as visualizing before you hit like just stepping back.
I mean, sometimes I wasn’t tracking this, but I certainly could on a really big putt that’s super short looking up is great. Like the blue sky. Yes. It just expands your perspective because it’s so easy to get myopia, basically. And you’re like, oh, my God, it’s only so, you know, those things. And then you realize if you missed that putt, you’re like, Oh, I never did that.
Right. And that’s and that’s where we can talk about habits. But I do like the last part is that we do need to reassess of what’s happening just because I, I listened to a great podcast with, with Hallam and Rick about breathing and I do the breathing, but if it didn’t correlate to towards that goal, we can always reassess and shift.
And I don’t think enough people do that. I don’t think they get in their own ruts of habits because they’ve been told they do it and they’re not really pushing back and say, wait, is this actually getting me closer to where I want to go?
So I like having when you have the habit tracker and you’re checking things off, but you also have to assess whether it’s weekly, monthly and will these habits actually align with me getting closer to that goal?
I don’t think enough people do. That’s a great point. And one of the things on this tracking sheet, the habit factor become for size templates is the comment section and the idea of putting a comment at the end of the day relative, it reinforces not only your reflection but your intention and that’s, I guess, dare I say, a habit when I whether it’s a missed shot or Miss Putt, you’re nobody nobody is going to be perfect every shot.
So the question is what happened? And it’s always like, oh, my grip was wrong or my stance was wrong or I didn’t take time to do X-Y-Z, but I that goes back. That reminds me of the importance of reflection. And, you know, it was Aristotle who said wisdom is equal measure, experience plus reflection. Wisdom is equal measure, experience plus reflection.
And so every failure, every mistake is an opportunity, I think, to reflect and become a better player, whether that’s on the course or in life. Right. So just to take that step further, because I think it’s such an interesting point on the reassessment, ensuring you reflect, are you moving forward? Are you actually achieving the desired result?
Because we can get stuck in this mentality of just completing the habit, can beat the habit, can be a habit without actually reassessing it.
But on that note, it must be a really fine balance because in my generation I think a lot of us are crippled by this desire for instant gratification. Everything is in the palm of my hand. We can get Amazon deliveries within hours. Now, sometimes even it seems crazy. We want everything right now, so why right so if you want your desired result, it’s not going to happen overnight.
So how do we ensure that when we all are doing that reassessment component of your process, of your framework, how do we ensure that we’re not falling into the trap of instant wanting, instant gratification, and then making sure we understand that this will take time, gratification will be delayed? I think the answer is in your question. It comes sometimes with maturity and an understanding.
I mean, it was our generation and not yours that grew up. There’s no more basic need than food. And we grew up we’re the microwave generation. So you want a hot meal? 30 seconds, you get a hot meal and that really programmed in many ways, probably ruined our generation. From a psychological standpoint, I don’t think anybody’s ever said that, but I’m being a bit extreme.
But the point is, at the most basic level, we get stuff instantly. Food, Amazon deliveries, what I fell in love with probably two years too late is the process. And I think that’s the beginning of mastery. So some of the things we teach are, you know, in the habits and goals class. This idea of personal mastery and mastery is just practice and it’s, it’s one day at a time.
So being aware that we are a, we are programmed for instant gratification, being aware of that and then just seeing that out and realizing it’s a process is the first step of that I get. Yeah. So, Martin, as we wrap up here, we’ve certainly talked about habits, we’ve talked about pressure, we’ve talked about narratives and putting those all together.
Right. And are there any personally, any, any new habits that you’re forming right now? Oh, man. Well, the big one was more skill than habit, but I was tracking it and it was kitesurfing yeah. And you know, that was a monster one because where I live, Sandy, or the winds aren’t typically strong enough so it was just a battle of perseverance.
And I wish I could show you the log. It’s hilarious. It’s like all I did was pump up the kite and then it couldn’t even fly. I’d pack it all up. 2 hours later, I’m back home, and I never even got. So I would be like, well, it was good practice. Just pumping up the kite and rigging the kite.
And it’s always just utter frustration for almost a year. You know, the other one is right now, it’s writing, finishing this book. I’m very, very close. So I’m tracking that. Not necessarily a new habit, but very important goals. I will track the supportive behaviors, the habit, so so writing and then health, so burpees and then some core work.
That’s what I’m tracking right now. Very strong, right? Oh, sounds good. I’m writing these books. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned because I think that if we go to delayed gratification and we go to focus on the process, there’s nothing more difficult. I don’t know more from personal experience than I do. I’m sure I will in the future.
But what have you learned from that process? Because that’s a tough, tough, tough task to take on what you did. It’s a great question. And it’s very related. Your last one, I saw this post four months ago, and this was this gal. She was like, anything you put your mind to, you can do. And she’s like, I wrote my book overnight and I love this girl.
I mean, I absolutely love this girl. And I was like, what a shame. What a tragedy. Like the longer I take on a book, the more great ideas come my way and I can. And so it’s almost like weaving. Not that I’ve ever weaved I. I told Dave, a mutual friend of ours, it’s like capturing butterflies. So that’s my, my big if.
The question is what lesson I learned is don’t rush it. Do not rush the process, marinate on these ideas, and the longer the better. Now, to a certain set, I mean, I’m not sure if this book is going on about seven years, so I’m going to pull it out of the oven. It’s done. Marinate eating but that’s the big tip is don’t try to write a book and in a month don’t try to write a book in a week or a day.
Just just let it unfold. Now that that kind of comes back to the conversation earlier on the process of becoming verses the moment of achievement and it actually comes from and controversial or he’s maybe he’s a bit like Marmite we would say here in the UK.
But Gary Vaynerchuk and he talks a lot about people saying, why don’t you just buy the New York Jets, you have the money, you have everything you need to buy the New York Jets.
And he says, look, this is what people don’t understand. I want the process of becoming the owner of the New York Jets more than I want to be the owner of the New York Jets. And that’s kind of what I’m getting with you writing in your book is you want the process of becoming the author of this book more so than you actually just want to be the author of the book. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does. And I’m not sure he has the money in your by the Jets but it’s it’s it’s the same thing over and over again. It works in concert. I mean, the fact is, I wrote a book. It was a bestseller, and I still didn’t necessarily have that self narrative that I was an author.
In fact, I just wanted to write it, put it out there and go hi type thing. Like I had other things to do, a business or family. I didn’t want to be so, so working on these things in concert together, the narrative, the habits and skills, the supportive environment, is going to bring the quickest results.
So one of the things related to this workshop interestingly enough, these people, it’s a coaching group in Malaysia and the Philippines, and I’ve shared this with Rick.
But, in these three circles, we have to transcend all of them for personal transformation, for goal achievement. So Gary is right if he wants to become that person. Great, but he’s good at it. He can become it. But if he doesn’t actually purchase them, he’s not the owner. So they got to work together. Absolutely. No love.
That makes no sense. Great. Well, we’ve I want to respect your time, Martin. We told you 40 minutes and now we’re on to 55 minutes. So, you know, I again want to thank you for being on because you made a huge impact on my coaching back when I first read The Habit Factor, because it was something that I could apply not only to my life, but to my coaching practice.
We’ve got to know each other and become friends. Second book, Pressure Paradox helped reaffirm some of the things that I had learned with sports psychology. And now you put it in such a way that. And then I’m looking forward to the next book, which I’ve got to read most of it. So I know it’s going to go triple or I know I wrote my life.
You wrote the foreword and then you narrated it. And by the way, I had so much fun seeing you a couple of weeks ago, Riviera So and that means the world to me that you became the I said it earlier, but the first to have in fact a certified coach. You’re a world class coach. Your final getting some of the respect.
Thank you. Serves you. You’re just such a student. You’re a master and a student. And that’s what makes you so great. And I am honored beyond belief that you are the one that became the first star statesman clip. Please share with our listeners where they can learn more about you. And we know the books can be found on Amazon and independent bookstores.
But please tell us more about where people can connect with the show. The easiest thing to do is go to the habitfactor.com, you can find the book. You can Google that if you’re looking for the free tracking sheet. That can be found also at the habit factor dot com forward slash templates are new. Our latest program right now.
Anyways, promotional pricing is like $27. It’s called automatic goals. And if you go to automaticgoals.com, you can read all about it. It kind of has my origin story and you get the book, you get the audio files. It’s way underpriced. But that’s not my decision so I think those are some good, quick, wonderful courses for somebody to get up to speed.
There’s also the Habits to Goals podcast is awesome if you like that if anything earlier, there’s a lot more of that there. For sure. For sure. Thank you. It’s been an honor thank you. And an honor to meet you as well. First time obviously chatting, but really enjoyed that and some really interesting conversations for all the listeners. I know.
I know they’ll love it, but please as always, listeners, please provide feedback. I’m sure if you have any additional questions as well, please buy them for me. You can send that to my email and I may even be able to reach out and ask Martin some of those questions if we do have any more but one episode and we may have to do another one in the future because I’m going to be some more topics from the new book that we want to speak about as well.
So absolute pleasure. Thank you very much. Thank you. My honor and privilege and pleasure and very fun too. So thanks, Thanks, Martin. Thank you very much.