How to Develop Mental Toughness
Have you ever watched a professional athlete and wondered what makes them so great at what they do? Why are they the best at what they do? Most of us can probably learn to throw a football in a decent spiral in an afternoon but that doesn’t make us NFL ready. Usually when we think of top performers we think of their talk about how much talent they have as if they were born for the sole purpose of launching footballs. Most of us know it’s more to the story than that.
Research reveals that intelligence & talent don’t nearly play as big a role in success as we tend to think. Mental toughness plays a more important role in reaching your goals than anything else.
I’m sure you’re wondering at this point is if mental toughness is so important how can I develop more of it?
The biggest mistakes we typically make when it comes to self-improvement is we try to make a huge life change & it burns us out.
Because we know in many cases 20% of what we do gives us 80% of our results we know that making one or two small changes can yield huge results. Instead of adding things to do I’ll start by focusing on what’s keeping me from reaching my goals. So instead of creating a list of things I need to do I’m going to create a short list of things I should NOT do.
I should not
- Waste countless hours watching YouTube videos or Top Gear on Netflix in the morning
2. Play this highly addictive game on my phone where I use my finger to make a car slide through a course without crashing into a wall called thumb drift
By eliminating my biggest time-wasters I was able to accomplish the tasks I had been putting off that would move me closer to my goals instead of falling down the rabbit hole of something fun today & meaningless in the long run using 3 easy steps.
There’s no such thing as a goal without definition. If you don’t clearly define what success looks like you’ll be forever chasing your tail confusing movement for progress. For me succeeding in building mental toughness would look be:
•Not setting the weight down early before my set is over in the gym (especially on those power cleans I hate so much)
•Consistently write for at least 5 minutes every morning to ensure I never go a day without creating something
•Finish my spreadsheet on entrepreneurs (for a future post) and join 3 Facebook groups
•Finish PowerPoint for work
2. Small wins
I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard about “The power of small wins” by now but I’ve found them really important in setting myself up to succeed during the day.
Some people find it helpful to take on the largest task of the day 1st so everything else seems easy in comparison sometimes the one big task such as creating content for a site could take hours and it’s easy to get discouraged and either give up which kills all your momentum you had going for the day or worse, rush through things and having the quality of your work suffer.
This might sound sort of childish and trivial but my 1st win of every day is making my bed in the morning. For me it’s like mentally kicking myself out of everything comfortable to take on the day knowing I can’t come back until it’s absolutely necessary. After building confidence in small wins such as eating a breakfast so good you’re smiling while eating I move on to tougher challenges. Your mind will tire before your body ever will, to revisit our example on weight lifting think about how many reps you missed out on because you racked it up with one final rep to go. For me it’s probably thousands, more often that not my weakness wasn’t a physical one at all but a mental one.
3. Inspiration/Motivation can only get you so far
I hate motivational speeches. They’ll have you so motivated you’ll want to be the best parallel parker on the block. The thing about motivation is it wears off after a few hours and you’re back in your old habits. People who build mental strength focus on what’s truly important regardless of what life throws at them. It’s less about being inspired & more about consistency, the people who consistently day in & day out chase their goals ultimately reach them.