I really like being strong. I view strength and toughness as very positive character traits. I love being able to push hard and keep going even when it gets difficult or painful. This has been true for my endeavors in fitness and in life. When we think about strength or toughness, we often think about physical strength… but there is something greater than being able to throw around some big dumbbells. If you haven’t figured it out already, what’s even more important is mental toughness!
Mental Toughness in 2 Parts
I think mental toughness can be divided into two major categories. First is that ability to keep going and keep working even when things are difficult or painful. The second is like it, it is the ability to stick to your word. Both revolve around your resolve. Can you keep going when things don’t go your way? Do you keep struggling to move forward when everything within you is telling you to stop? If you say you’re going to do something, do you do it? If you say you are not going to do something, do you abstain?
Mental Toughness: Drive
I view that first part of mental toughness as the overall drive. This again is that ability to keep working even when things are difficult or painful. We all know about this from our workouts. It’s that struggle to get a few extra reps to beat your numbers from last week on Chest and Back. It’s that screaming voice inside your head to not stand up during a wall sit, even when your quads are on fire. It’s seeing the seconds move as slow as minutes while you count down the time until you are done with Power Jumps and KNOWING there’s no way you’re going to stop.
In life, I often see mental toughness and drive as doing whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s getting your report done today, instead of putting it off until tomorrow. It’s doing more than you were asked to do on a project because doing more will be your best. Drive is making one more call, helping one more kid understand the directions, one more stop to help a customer fix a problem, and making the effort one more time to get along with a difficult coworker. That’s mentally tough. That’s drive.
Mental Toughness: Character and Resolve
Mental toughness as it relates to sticking to your word is all about your character. This really gets at the heart of who you are. This is truly having your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ If you say you are doing P90X, that means you’re doing all the workouts. You aren’t skipping workouts. You aren’t blowing off the bonus round on PlyoX. You definitely aren’t completely taking off the recovery weeks. No, you are DOING ALL of P90X because you said you are going to do it.
That’s the same mental toughness and resolve as it relates to your nutrition. If you say that you have a nutrition plan that you’re going to stick to, you stick to it! You are planning your meals. Packing your food for the day. Tracking everything! Be a man or woman of your word. You aren’t doing this for me, but keeping a promise to yourself.
In life and work, this is often described as your character. Bill Hybels, an author and pastor, describes character as “…who you are when no one’s looking.” How true is that! What we do and who we are when it is only us and God paints the clearest picture of our character. When there’s no chance for reward or recognition, do you still go the extra mile? Do you still give your relationships, tasks, and work 100% of your effort? Do you still do what is right simply because it is what’s right? If you can confidently say yes, then you know your resolve and character are strong.
Be Mentally Tough
Anyone can be mentally tough. You don’t need big muscles. You don’t have to be the best and brightest. You simply have to keep moving forward and be true to who you are no matter the circumstances. Don’t give temptation or laziness an inch. When the thought of skipping a workout enters your mind, quickly say “NO!” Really, say it audibly to yourself. Don’t sit there and play with the idea. You’ll start rationalizing and pretty soon your excuses will outweigh your commitment. Or when your mind, or even other people, start making you feel bad for eating a certain way, focus on your ultimate goals. You decided to do this for you! So stick to your guns and be mentally tough. I am here for you and the whole teamRIPPED Nation is here for you! We are mentally tough and we are tough together!
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