I know it’s a cliché to say live in the present moment. Yet, I have a hard time sometimes with that, thinking about the future too much, what projects do I have to do, or where’s that email have to go, or what happened yesterday? Oh yeah, yeah, I have to write that down. It’s always about the future or the past, and sometimes it’s not about the present moment. Our life is just an accumulation of present moments, yet are you fully engaged in the moment?
Well, I know it’s a challenge. I believe it’s a lost skill, in fact. Now being a performance coach, the goal is to be the best version of yourself at the moment. Seems simple, right? Not so simple. So when we look at the present moment, the first thing is our attention. Where are we placing our attention? Sometimes it’s what we call external or internal. I think in our day and age both become distractions. External could be our cell phone. Internal could be “What am I going to do tomorrow” and all my self-talk, and that can get me out of being engaged with what’s in front of me at the moment.
The first thing that we need to do is actually recalibrate ourselves and do something called mindfulness training. And these tools are very much used in the golf mental game preparation. I know that’s kind of a buzzword in the last couple years, but mindfulness training is being mindful of what your actions and what you’re thinking and what you’re doing.
So the first thing with mindfulness training would be to breathe. I know I say this all the time, but breathing is a key. It’s really a key skill to help you create a foundation to be able to think and to be able to feel in the moment. So breathe smooth, rhythmic breaths. What that does is it becomes mindful of your internal world, right? You can feel the diaphragm, you can feel the breath coming out. That’s your internal mindfulness.
Now, the next thing would be to be aware of your environment. Look up, look out. Where am I? Those questions now and being aware of your external help you now create a foundation of this is where I am right now.
Next thing is to be aware of self, like feeling, and where my feet are touching. Oh, I’m feeling my neck. That’s awareness again in the present moment of self.
One of the most important skills I believe that’s missing is communication. Are you present in your communication? So next time you’re with someone, try a couple things out. First, ask more questions. Now, what does this do? Well, makes them feel good by the way because you’re interested in what they’re saying, but by asking questions, that means you’re actually paying attention and you’re forming a question that can help this conversation go.
A lot of people in conversations just want to get to the next thing and the next thing, and not actually be present in the conversation.
The next part is something called sensory acuity. After you ask a question, pay attention to what you hear, obviously the words, the tone, but also look at their eyes. Look at their gestures. Really be involved in their communication. You’re going to pick up a few things.
If I’m now asking questions and I’m being more aware of that communication coming back to me, you’re now in the present moment. Wouldn’t you want to be more present with your kids, your spouse, your coworkers? So if we breathe, we’re aware of where we’re at, we’re aware of personally where I’m at, and now I can communicate in such a way, I’m now more in the present.
Now one of my favorite ones is mindful eating. Yeah, I like to eat. How about you become mindful of your eating? I know there’s this one exercise where you actually take a small piece of chocolate, place it in your mouth and have it just kind of melt there, and just taste it for 30, 40, 50 seconds. It’s going to be very interesting. Instead of just chomp, chomp, chomp and swallow, you’re actually going to actually taste it.
We can be mindful of all of our actions from walking to talking to eating, so now you’re more present. Because all of these practices are going to help train you to be engaged in the present moment and make each moment the best version of yourself, and then you can improve your golf mental game performance.