Setting Smart Targets
A considerable amount of research has explored how goals influence human behaviour. Setting specific and measurable goals such as 'I will play to single figures in six months time' will serve to focus and sharpen the mind.
Goals need to be realistic and achievable. If you are playing off 11 or 12 it is not unreasonable to set a goal to be playing off single figures. However if your handicap is 28, to be playing off 8 or 9 within six months would be for many amateurs an unachievable target. Playing off single figures could be a good long-term goal.
Building small steps towards a long term goal is one way of building confidence. Trying to improve your score by just one shot a round, or giving yourself targets on the practice range, are all measurable steps towards succeeding in your long-term goal.
For your own self-esteem it is important to set the goals yourself. Letting a coach or an instructor choose your goals removes the autonomy which can lead to disinterest. Make your goals your own project and action them yourself. Have some aspirations and work out small steps backwards will will help you achieve them! And most importantly set a timeline which will make you focus on the thing we all try to avoid... practise!
Make your goals measurable and specific by setting a target like: practise putting for one hour a week until June NOT I'll practise my putting until it improves.
Finally, make a record of your achievements and you'll start to see the results!