When your mind is strong, your body is going to be strong. You’re better at handling stress, coping with suffering, dealing with adversity, making sacrifices, and pushing through the limitations that you’ve placed on yourself. You can conquer every goal, every workout and every challenge by building your mental toughness.
It isn’t easy. It takes work to push past your natural instinct to stop so you can push longer and harder. Here are some ways to train your mind so that you don’t quit. These strategies can prepare you for success in and out of the gym.
Self-doubt is a huge results killer and there isn’t much that will shut down your motivation as quick. You need to change your internal dialogue. Instead of thinking “I’m tired” or focusing on the pain try talking to yourself differently. “I’m going to get this!” or “This is easy!” Keep repeating this mantra.
It signals your brain to keep going and that it isn’t in danger so you won’t shut down. Positive self-talk can build your confidence and boost your energy so you won’t give up when things get hard.
This goes beyond your training and into your work or social life; a lot of people have a negative dialogue with themselves and it can hold you back from achieving your goals. If you find yourself being critical of something you’ve done, STOP! Let it go and replace it with something positive.
Some of the greatest athletes including Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali use visualisation to boost their mental toughness. You can prepare your mind for things by imagining them ahead of time. It sparks the same neural pathways as if you were already doing it. If you can see yourself lifting a certain weight or running a certain distance then you’re more likely to follow through and achieve that goal.
Take 5-10 minutes each day and breathe deeply. Visualise every aspect of your goal. Picture yourself in the moment, pushing through the pain and having the strength to finish. Think about how you feel when you achieve it, how your body will feel, the sound of your breathing and your heart beating. Think about overcoming your doubts. Think about winning! It can be difficult at first but with practice this kind of meditation will take your training and your results to a new level.
Remix Your Muscles
One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your mental toughness is to get a good playlist going. Music has been proven to boost athletic performance by distracting your brain and taking the emotive nature out of your workout.
The key to using music in your workouts is about finding music that inspires and motivates you. Try to match the tempo of the song with the times that you want to push harder. There’s no point playing classic jazz if you’re doing hill sprints.
Pick your favourite songs that get you moving and it will distract you from the amount of effort your exerting which will allow you to go harder.