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7 ways to develop Mental Toughness

Progress doesn't just happen. It takes a hard mind to make it happen. Learn how professional athletes, Warriors, and the top-tier physically fit make it happen.

Here's the deal: your current situation is a result of the choices you have made up to this point. This includes your body, your finances, relationships, the list goes on.

Here’s the deal: your current situation is a result of the choices you have made up to this point.

Notice how I said "your" and not "the". The language is important.  Using “Your” and not “the” places responsibility. Only WE are responsible for where we are.  Suddenly, there are no excuses, no bulletproof reason that we are not where we want to be... Except for us. This is the timeless struggle. This is also where the saying "the mastery of self is the highest form of mastery." comes from.  That little voice in the back of your head that never stops saying “Don’t give up.  Not just yet.  Keep going!  You can do this.”  That little tiny cheerleader that pops up when things look really sour.  That’s essentially what mental toughness is.  Here’s how you can develop that little voice.

  1. Be positive/Count your blessings.  This step is non-negotiable.  Everyday take 10 seconds to think of some things you can be thankful for.  This will positively affect your perspective and tiny cheerleader.

  2. Never complain.  This is a bit like #1.  If you complain, you’re giving in to the negativity that erodes mental toughness.  This goes for vocal complaining and attitude/thoughts.  You don’t want your tiny cheerleader to complain in your ear when you’re pushing yourself...

  3. Let go of the past, don’t dwell on the future.  The past is training for now, the future is the possibility after “now” so work NOW.  Don’t let the past hang you up.  Learn from it and apply it to what you’re working on now.  Don’t get wrapped up in the future and what could be (both positive and negative!)  Sure, it could swing one of both ways, but your work NOW depends on it, so work right now! :)

  4. Act like you are in total control.  Sure, some things happen outside of our control, but that’s ok.  Take charge of your actions because that’s the one true thing you can completely control.  “You got this!  It’s all you!”

  5. Don’t sweat what you can’t control.  This about sums it up: if you can’t control it, why waste mental energy on it?  Leave it alone and focus on the things you can affect.  You don’t need extra non-productive thoughts in your head when you’re working hard towards a goal that requires your complete focus.

  6. Apply “WIN” (What’s Important Now) when distractions mount.  When your focus grows thin, actually ask yourself "What's important NOW?" and do it.  It's that simple.  

  7. Control your environment.  Too many distractions?  Change it.  Too many naysayers around?  Get some new friends.  It’s a harsh reality, but some people can hold you back from exercising mental toughness.  



Mike Walsh is a Marine Veteran and Personal Trainer in Salem Oregon who currently operates at his gym Northwest Forge. He has experience training athletes, expecting mothers, actors preparing for a role, those trying to lose weight, and weight lifters.  He has been coaching individuals who seek to live a healthier lifestyle for over eight years. In addition to personal training, Mike offers clients dietary plans to help achieve goals and leads a Boot Camp Thursday and Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at the Forge. If you would like a consultation, feel free to contact Mike and be sure to visit the Northwest Forge Facebook to keep up to date with special events and news.  Stay motivated!