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how to cultivate mental toughness

Understand What It Takes to Be Mentally Tough

Mental toughness is what helps set great athletes apart from the competition. To cultivate these qualities, it is essential first to understand what exactly makes these mentally strong competitors different from the pack.

While it originated in the field of sports training, referring to the ability of athletes to stay strong, confident, and competitive, the concept is now widely used to refer to the host of mental attributes that allow people to handle life’s difficulties.

Believe in Your Ability to Achieve Your Goals
In a 2002 study of ten of the world’s most elite athletes, one factor that these top performers named as a major contributor to their success was an unshakable self-belief.

Mentally tough people don’t just think they might be able to succeed, they know they can. While much of the research on mental toughness relates directly to the world of athletics and sport, you can apply some of these same principles to other areas of your life.

Whether you are trying to lose weight, drop a bad habit, run a marathon, or excel in your profession, believing in yourself is essential. Avoid negative self-talk and instead focus your energy on staying positive and self-encouraging.

Focus on Intrinsic Motivations Rather Than External Rewards
The world’s top athletes don’t find the will to persevere and win because they are seeking acclaim, money, or other rewards (although those things are undoubtedly nice). Instead, they are intrinsically motivated by forces within themselves. Intrinsic motivations are those that come from within an individual and involve doing things for their own sake. These internal motivations drive people to do better, push harder, be stronger, and see just how far they can go.

Mentally tough people don’t focus on the possible rewards that may await them at the end of a challenge. Instead, they see participating and overcoming challenges as rewarding in and of themselves.