Mental toughness is not something you can buy, or rent or learn from a book. I’m reading “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink--- a former Navy Seal. Jocko says how you become more mentally tough is to just become more mentally tough. Oh! Well that was easy…
Mental toughness, though, is not something that just falls in your lap. Like any skill, it requires development--- it works much like a muscle--- the more you work it, the stronger it gets.
So, how do you work out your ‘mental toughness’ muscle?
Well, you know when you’re alarm goes off in the morning and its cold, and still dark outside? You’re supposed to get up so you have time to fit in 20 minutes of cardio before you shower and get ready for work… but all you want to do it stay in your warm bed and hit snooze?
Get up. Get out of your warm bed and start your day when your alarm sounds. That’s one ‘rep’ for your mental toughness muscle.
For lunch, it would be so easy to just grab something quick. You have a proposal due, and tons of work to still accomplish before it’s done, so you think about running out to grab some fast food.
Stick to your nutrition plan. Even if it takes more time and you are starved right now. Even if you have to run to the grocery to grab ingredients. Eat something that is aligned with your nutrition plan. That’s another ‘rep’ for your mental toughness muscle.
After work, the guys ask you to go out with them for a beer. You have your beer and get ready to leave, but your friends want you to stay for another. You’ve had a rough week, and you know if you go home, you’ll be there by yourself anyway. You really want to hang out, but you still have work to do on that proposal. One more beer couldn’t hurt, really, so you are considering staying.
Go home. Stick to your plan. Do what you are supposed to do so you can get your work done and stick to your nutrition plan. That’s another rep for your mental toughness muscle.
That is not to say that you should never have fun, but that you should have discipline in your life so that you are able to reach your goals. Building your mental toughness is just like building any other muscle. It takes work, sure, but the more mentally tough you are, the better able your brain is to just overcome excuses and help focus on your goals.