Building Mental Toughness

Mindset is 90 percent of the battle. To achieve a goal, you have to commit. To commit, you have to develop and practice the mindset of a champion.

Athletic teams don’t become champions without commitment. The New England Patriots didn’t win that many Super Bowls without embracing the pain and sacrifice entailed to compete at that level and win. In fact, Tom Brady lives a very regimented lifestyle to ensure his mind and body perform at peak condition.

Kenny Chesney Songs for the Saints Tour
Kenny Chesney, Songs for the Saints Tour April 26, 2019 – What a view!

My favorite singer Kenny Chesney didn’t get named “King of the Road” by the Wall Street Journal by slacking off. He earned it by performing a high energy show each night, selling out to millions, and giving everything he’s got out on stage. Off-stage during tour season he doesn’t drink, eats healthy, works out and takes ice baths. It shows. I digress.

He also goes to the farthest seat in every venue to visualize the fan experience and understand how much energy he has to put out to reach that person. It works.

What is most required to reach a goal is a daily discipline of denying temporary temptations and putting in the work that needs to be done. Every day. Rinse. Repeat.

It isn’t easy to develop this daily discipline of denial and practice. Temptations are everywhere. Foregoing the cupcakes at the office is a mental practice as much as is it the physical task of walking away. Every time you succeed, you build mental toughness and are shaping the mindset of a fit person. Like lifting weights, every time you do it you build muscle.

Athletes, also mentally prepare for the challenges they face while in training and before a competition. They plan ahead. They visualize the play. The imagine how they will compete and succeed. 

Every day is my game day. To become a champion I need to mentally prepare for every day, every situation and get my head in the game.

In the morning, I will review the challenges ahead and make a game plan.
I will visualize myself making good choices. I will equip myself with options. There is always a better choice available.

Daily, I will review my “why.” Why do I want this goal? What will my life be like in a year if I don’t reach the goal? How will I feel when I do reach the goal?

I will examine my mindset careful to call out the four biggest obstacles to mental toughness – the critic (you shouldn’t), the cynic (you can’t), the procrastinator (start Monday) and the rationalizer (one won’t hurt). I will take that thought and reframe my thinking to that of a champion.

“I am doing it my way. I can succeed. I am tough. I will push through now.” “I am building momentum.”

And then I will celebrate the wins. I walked every day this week for at least 15 minutes. I ate at Maggianos and chose the salad, steamed veggies, and chicken. Two victories. Two examples of discipline. Many days of repetition to come.

How are you building mental toughness?

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