Like most things in life, the state of your mindset about a goal can define whether you succeed or fail. If your mind is trong, your body will follow. A strong mind allows you to handle stress, deal with adversity, and push through your own limitations. And, whether it’s your workout, or any other challenge in life, building mental toughness is vital to your success.
Building mental toughness is not easy. It takes effort. You need to train your brain to push the body longer and harder than ever before. You have to break through your own intertia to attain new heights. Here’s some ways to make that happen.
Change up what you tell yourself
Self limiting thoughts – i.e. “self-doubt” can kill your success. Guess what? It’s in your head. No one but you creates those thoughts – so change them! Instead of thinking I’m tired or I need to slow down during a workout, think positive thoughts. Tell yourself things like “I’m going to crush this, This is easy, and I feel great.”
Then, keep repeating those new, positive thoughts until it becomes automatic. This will reinforce your confidence and boost your energy so you won’t give up when things get hard.
Some of the greatest athletes ever—including Muhammad Ali and Jack Nicklaus—have used visualization to boost mental toughness. When you imagine yourself succeeding, your brain writes that message over the same neural pathways in your mind that performing the actual behavior can. So when it’s time to do the workout or exercise or task, your mind is already prepared.
For example, if you watch a ski race (downhill, slalom, or giant slalom) – watch the racers right before they race. Most have their eyes closed, and you’ll see them moving while they are standing there, mentally going through the entire race, both mentally and physically, even before they hit the slope. That way, that mental map they have of the race translates to physical success.
So, take fine minutes each day, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Visualize every aspect of your challenge. Picture yourself in the moment, pushing through the exhaustion, finding the strength to finish. Think about how your body and lungs will feel, how your breathing and heart will feel. Think about the emotions you’ll go through, and overcoming doubts. Think about winning. The more detailed your imagery, the stronger your response will be.
Blast Your Tunes
Workouts can be dull. Your mind can wander. Want a great way to keep your focus on your fitness challenge? Listen to music while you work out! Science has shown that music can boost athletic performance. But the key is finding music that inspires and motivates you. The music will distract you from your effort, allow you to go harder.
And, listening to a specific song while your training to pass a test or break a record, can not only help you meet that challenge, but if you do this consistantly on your hard training days, then come test day – crank that song! It’ll put your mind into the right frame of mind, and invigorate your body, to go harder and longer just like you did in training!