Being more mentally tough goes a long way in what you achieve in health and fitness. For athletes, it plays a massive role in how well you perform, especially when you’re looking to attain a new PB (personal best) or when competing. So, are you mentally tough?
To reach your full potential, your physically abilities and mental toughness need to match one another. You need to have the mental fortitude which will push you to reach the physical goals you’ve set, especially if they are hard to reach and many others see these goals as far-fetched.
When we talk about mental toughness, we’re referring to that psychological state where an individual can push themselves to the extremes of their limits almost all the time. Let’s also clarify that being mentally tough is not when you train through pain or injury, because that is just foolish. It’s when a person flicks that switch and they push themselves hard during every training session, whether that is to push hard in terms of intensity, technique, and more often than not, both. These people are hard to catch and keep up with, especially when you’re not on the same mental level.
For top international level athletes, they know they need to stay mindful and practice visualization in every moment they are training or competition. They need to be mentally tough as nails. They treat each and every moment as an opportunity to improve and to increase the level at which they need to beat the next time round. Additionally, the see each training session and each competition as an opportunity to improve, not just train. Most of all, they know to leave their ego behind.
If you want to improve your mental toughness, you need to work on it, just like anything else. Here are five top tips to help you achieve the best mental toughness results.
Flip the Switch
Make a mental note that things are going to change and that your goals are no longer just to do well, but to do better and to push yourself each and every time as hard as you can. Every time you train, push yourself to your limits and make sure you always chase your goals and that you stick to your training schedule and programming. Don’t let any excuse be acceptable as to why you didn’t go HAM (Hard as a Mother*****r).
Brush it off
It’s important to know and understand that everyone has a bad day and that things don’t always go to plan. If you have a bad day at training, let it be. Look at what contributed to your bad day – maybe its nutrition, sleep, recovery, programming, or other lifestyle factors or stress. Importantly, don’t let it get you down. If you attempt a new PB and fail, go one notch down and nail it – finish on a positive note and come back stronger the next day.
Staying mindful and in the moment means that you are able to stay focussed on the task at hand and that whether you are going for a PB or you are working on active recovery, your focus is on the techniques and intensity required to achieve your immediate and long-terms goals. Be present in the moment and block out anything which will distract you.
Don’t let anything be too big for you to attempt, but know your limits, push them, make sure they’re not overzealous but rather something which tests you and allows you to incrementally increase your abilities. In the long-term this will add up and you’ll manage your goals more effortlessly. Take calculated risks and don’t be reluctant to attempt something, especially if you’re feeling good at that moment.
Being the best means you do things the right way. Don’t cut corners or cheat. We all know that guy who counts reps in doubles. Don’t be that guy. Being mentally tough is all about being able to do things others can’t and that means doing them very well too. The best athletes are those who have mastered the basics and do them better than anyone else. The tough and more technically demanding stuff gets easier when you do the basics very well, especially without cutting corners or cheating.