A lack of mental toughness can be the biggest enemy for many athletes. Lacking mental toughness can cause athletes to give up, give in or give less.
Many athletes believe that you are born mentally tough. I think mental toughness is an attitude, and attitudes are constructed by no one other than yourself.
Being responsible for your attitude can deconstruct how you think about yourself or your ability to succeed. Changing the way you think will change how you feel about yourself, which changes how you act, train, and compete. The more you practice this attitude more mentally tough you will get.
Here are my top suggestions on how to work on your mental toughness, and this is what I practice myself in training and when competing:
- Get physically fit - your mind and body are dependent.
- Find a way, not an excuse - don’t make excuses when things don’t go your way. Instead of playing the blame game, take responsibility for your performance and adapt to the situation.
- Don’t focus on things you can’t control - focus on things that are going well. Stay present in the moment and stop worrying about “what ifs.”
- Take risks - seek opportunities to get you out of your comfort zone. Embrace challenges with enthusiasm, not with anxiety.
- Believe in yourself - know your strengths and talents. Don’t allow your fears to play with your confidence.
- Practice positive self-talk - don’t say to yourself what you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Stop criticizing yourself.
Commit to mental toughness daily. Consciously choose how you will respond to challenging circumstances. When you get tired, push on just a little bit longer. Perform one more rep than you think you can. Respond to adversity with determination instead of frustration.
Mental toughness comes down to your habits, which are up to you. Remember that mental toughness is about winning small battles each day.