9 Tips to Mental Toughness
by Garrett J. Braunreiter, CSCS, The Energy Coach
It takes more than visualization, self-talk, relaxation and concentration to be a real winner in life. (If only it were that easy, right? I am leaner, energized, and have a great body. Plus I make a million dollars a year working only a few hours a week. POOF!) It takes a kind of strength through mental toughness that a few people understand.
But once you DO understand it, you can master yourself and how you respond to ANYTHING that comes your way. Remember, too, that YOU ARE GREATER THAN ANYTHING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
You do not have to be born with mental toughness. Mental toughness is a transferrable trait. You don’t have to go through a trial by fire to experience it. Life will give you what you ask for. But once you ask, Life sets you to task. You will be challenged, many times a day to keep moving forward and reach your goal.
Here are some action tips for you to gain more mental toughness in EVERYTHING you do.
Listen to the experts. Read biographies and listen to audio programs telling of winners who have overcome tremendous obstacles and setbacks to become successful. Check out success stories in magazines and the Internet - fitness, money, or otherwise - you’ll find they are people JUST LIKE YOU. So if they can do it, WHY THE HELL CAN’T YOU?
No pain, no gain vs. Patience, pacing, and persistence. You don’t need to go through emotional or physical pain to succeed. This is a myth. When you realize that failure and handicaps have NOT prevented winners in any area of life, you gain more confidence and courage to pursue your own dreams.
But you don’t need to “come from behind” to get ahead. Learn from the trial and error of others, and expect a lot of yourself. Not a pipedream, but expect a lot, and expect to get it. It can be easy to overtrain, overcommit, and overwork if your expectations are too much. GO WITH THE FLOW. Success WILL come; understand it may take months instead of days.
“What next?” thinking. Give yourself solution-oriented feedback when solving your problems. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. What are you going to do about it? Spend your energy on moving forward, finding an answer. Journaling helps here. What did you accomplish today? What went well? What can you do better? How do I feel about my progress? Are my goals making me reach, or am I just going through the motions? Am I focused? Are my goals MY OWN?
Get comfortable with the unfamiliar. Make it a part of your daily routine to do something totally different than what you normally do. Work out at a different gym. Put your TV in the closet for a month. Drive to work using a different route. Change workout routines regularly. You’ll be better prepared to handle diverse environments with greater calm and confidence.
THINK AND SPEAK WELL OF YOUR HEALTH. Teach yourself and your children to use positive self-talk about fitness and personal health. Too much attention is paid to minor aches and pains, like there’s value to not feeling good. We tend to make real what is the “main feature” of ourselves. What’s YOUR “main feature”?
Don’t be a victim of ads and fads. Yes, the world is full of greedy people looking for a fast and easy way to put your money in their pockets. Make sure the thing that impresses you meets your criteria, and satisfies your concerns. Mental toughness doesn’t mean going it alone, with lose-weight-fast or get-rich-quick schemes. Mental toughness means learning from the pros who have been there and done that.
Hang out with people who have already achieved their goals or who are dedicated to goals similar to yours. Avoid associating with people who have the same unresolved problems or who are frustrated by their lack of achievement. You know, the pity parties. “Oh, woe is me. My life is in an upheaval. How about you?” “You poor thing. Woe is me, too. I feel terrible about myself. How about you?”
Some people tend to thrive on the attention they get when they feel bad. A strong community of like-minded people give you motivation, support, and purpose for succeeding. Focus on desired results. Pure and simple: winners dwell on the rewards of success. Losers focus on mistakes and failure. Do what’s necessary NOW. Be in the present. Then you don’t have to worry about what happened yesterday or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Thus, two-thirds of your worries disappear.
Expect the unexpected. You can’t control what nature and others do. You can anticipate what MAY happen, and prepare for them as best you can. You can also control your response to what happens.