Tips for Improving #14 – Keep Your Big Goals a Secret

This is the 14th and final part of a series of practice tips titled “Tips for Improving”.

In those practice tips we discussed how we work with our students to create new habits rather than breaking old habits. It is essentially impossible to break bad habits (our mind/body is not set up that way) … but we are set up to be able to create new habits and ultimately make changes/create new movements, etc. we want.

We talked about a book we strongly recommend – The Little Book of Talent/52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle.

It is described as a manual for building a faster brain and a better you. It is an easy-to-use hand book of scientifically proven, field tested methods to improve your skills – your skills, your kids’ skills, your organization’s skills – in sports, music, art, math and business. The product of five years of reporting from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds and interviews with successful master coaches, it distills the daunting complexity of skill development into 52 clear, concise directives.

Whether you are 10 or 100, this is an essential guide for anyone who ever asked, “How do I get better?”



This book is available at

The last instructional newsletters (Tips for Improvement Part 1 through 13) we discussed 50 tips for improvement from staring a who you want to become, to being willing to be stupid, to finding the sweet spot, to practicing by yourself, to taking a nap…. Again, if you have not reviewed these past practice tips, would recommend.

This instructional newsletter (Part 14) we cover the next 2 tips for improving your skills and relate them to you learning/working on your single plane swing and golf game.


51. Keep Your Big Goals a Secret

While it’s natural and oh so tempting to want to announce your big goals, it’s smarter to keep them to yourself.

Telling others about your big goals makes them less likely to happen, because it creates an unconscious payoff – tricking our brains into thinking we’ve already accomplished the goals.

Plus, telling our big goals puts too much unneeded pressure on oneself. Very few you are telling will understand the road you will be following and navigating to reach those goals. They will only see the result or outcome. They do not understand the time needed, the persistence needed, the “grit” needed, etc… they will only see if the goal has been reached or not.

Telling others about intermediate goals, intermediate check points, etc… is fine. But the “Big Goal” – keep it to yourself and only announce when reached.  (Secret here – when you reach it… won’t have to announce it – everyone will already know…)

Example. Big Goal – “Becoming a single digit handicap golfer” (keep to yourself) Intermediate goals – “Averaging less than 1 three putt per round” Intermediate goal – “Hitting 75% of fairways per round” Intermediate goal – “Averaging 50% up / down in your short game” ….

Tell anyone and everyone intermediate goals if you like… the Big Goal. let that be “your secret”.


52. “Think Like a Gardener, Work Like a Carpenter”

We all want to improve our skills quickly – today, if not sooner. But the truth is, talent/new habits are created slowly. You would not criticize a seedling because it was not yet a tall oak tree, nor should you get upset because your skill circuitry or habit formation is in the growth stage. Instead, build it with daily/routine deep practice.

To do this, it helps to “think like a gardener and work like a carpenter.”

Think patiently, without judgement. (the gardener)

Work steadily, strategically, knowing that each piece connects to a larger whole. (the carpenter)

I hope you have enjoyed the previous 13 newsletter practice tips containing the 52 tips for improving your skills/creating new habits and improving your golf game.

I would like to thank Daniel Coyle, the author of “The Little Book of Talent / 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills” for sharing his insights and experiences to help us improve our skills and help us create new habits.

If you would like more information in this area – strongly suggest reading Mr. Coyle’s original book – “The Talent Code”.

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