The development of mental toughness.
What Makes Someone Mentally Tough?
It’s great to talk about mental toughness, grit, and perseverance … but what do those things actually look like in the real world, or even. In a gym environment?
In a word, toughness and grit equal consistency.
Mentally tough athletes are more consistent than others. They don’t skip workouts. They don’t miss assignments. They always have their teammates back. They appear on-time, every time. They get the job done, no matter what.
Mentally tough leaders are more consistent than their peers. They have a clear goal they work towards each day. They don’t let short–term profits, negative feedback, or hectic schedules prevent them from continuing the march towards their vision. They make a habit of building up the people around them — not just once, but over and over and over again. They will lead by example, from the rear. Not just allow all to follow from the back.
The good news is that grit and perseverance can become your defining traits, regardless of the talent you were born with. You can become more consistent. You can develop superhuman levels of mental toughness.
1. Define what mental toughness means for you.
For the West Point army cadets being mentally tough meant finishing an entire summer of Beast Barracks.
For you, it might be…
going one month without missing a workout
going one week without eating processed or packaged food
delivering your work ahead of schedule for two days in a row
meditating every morning this week
grinding out one extra rep on each set at the gym today
calling one friend to catch up every Saturday this month
doing an extra 10 minutes cardiovascular at the end of your workout despite the fatigue
spending one hour doing something creative every evening this week
Whatever it is, be clear about what you’re going after. Mental toughness is an abstract quality, but in the real world it’s tied to concrete actions. You can’t magically think your way to becoming mentally tough, you prove it to yourself by doing something in real life.
Which brings me to my second point…
2. Mental toughness is built through small physical wins.
You can’t become committed or consistent with a weak mind. How many workouts have you missed because your mind, not your body, told you you were tired? How many reps have you missed out on because your mind said, “Nine reps is enough. Don’t worry about the tenth.” Probably thousands for most people, including myself. And 99% are due to weakness of the mind, not the body.
So often we think that mental toughness is about how we respond to extreme situations. How did you perform in the competition? Can you keep your life together while grieving the death of a family member? Did you bounce back after your business went bankrupt?
There’s no doubt that extreme situations test our courage, perseverance, and mental toughness … but what about everyday circumstances?
Mental toughness is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop. If you haven’t pushed yourself in thousands of small ways, of course you’ll wilt when things get really difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Choose to do the tenth rep when it would be easier to just do nine. Choose to create when it would be easier to consume. Choose to ask the extra question when it would be easier to accept. Prove to yourself — in a thousand tiny ways — that you have enough guts to get in the ring and do battle with life.
Mental toughness is built through small wins. It’s the individual choices that we make on a daily basis that build our “mental toughness muscle.” We all want mental strength, but you can’t think your way to it. It’s your physical actions that prove your mental fortitude.
3. Mental toughness is about your habits, not your motivation.
Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes.
Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.
Mentally tough people don’t have to be more courageous, more talented, or more intelligent — just more consistent. Mentally tough people develop systems that help them focus on the important stuff regardless of how many obstacles life puts in front of them. It’s their habits that form the foundation of their mental beliefs and ultimately set them apart.
I’ve written about this many times before. Here are the basic steps for building a new habit and links to further information on doing each step.
Build your identity.
Focus on small behaviours – for big results.
Develop a routine that gets you going regardless of the level of motivation you carry at that point in time.
Stick to the fucking routine – forget about results.
When you slip, get back on the bus straight away.
Mental toughness comes down to your habits. It’s about doing the things you know you’re supposed to do on a more consistent basis. It’s about your dedication to daily practice and your ability to stick to a schedule.
This is why I developed the SLFitness App – A 5 Day Fat Loss Plan designed to give those individuals a taste of what can be achieved in such a short space of time. A schedule designed for Men and Women (choose before training). A rigorous 5 day split starting from Monday through to Friday requiring updated measurements at the start and end of your Fat Loss schedule. Exclusive access to the SLF App.
Develop that good natured routine which will create not just a healthy body but a clearer, healthier mindset.
How Have You Developed Mental Toughness?
Our mission as a community is clear: we are looking to live healthy lives and make a difference in the world.
To that end, I see it as my responsibility to equip you with the best information, ideas, and strategies for living healthier, becoming happier, and making a bigger impact with your life and work.
But no matter what strategies we discuss, no matter what goals we set our sights on, no matter what vision we have for ourselves and the people around us … none of it can become a reality without mental toughness, perseverance, and grit.
When things get tough for most people, they find something easier to work on. When things get difficult for mentally tough people, they find a way to stay on schedule.
There will always be extreme moments that require incredible bouts of courage, resiliency, and grit … but for 95% of the circumstances in life, toughness simply comes down to being more consistent than most people.
If you want to make a change today. Sign up to my FREE 5 Day Spencer Lissamore Fitness App.
Create an understanding of Nutrition and what the fuck a “calorie” is.
See how a structured workout plan can change your outlook on each week.
Build up your mental grit and toughness.
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