How To Develop Mental Toughness

Do you have a goal you want to achieve?

Maybe you want to be healthier. Or have more confidence. Or, maybe you want to be in a better relationships.

Whatever it is, achieving a goal isn’t always easy. Research shows that only eight percent of people are actually successful in achieving their goals.

So how can you be a part of that 8 percent? The answer, in short, is mental toughness.

mental toughness

What is Mental Toughness?

Mental toughness is the psychological ability to overcome doubts, worries and circumstances to succeed or perform at any cost to achieve a goal or objective with a focused mindset.

Why is mental toughness important?

Mental toughness provides a psychological edge in the face of any adversity and allows a person to cope with extreme demands in order to achieve a goal.

It is a frame of mind in which people stop at nothing to achieve their goals. It’s a no excuse, results-driven, winner-takes-all mindset. And my research has shown that people with strong mental toughness skills are more successful than those without them. Luckily, there are ways you can sharpen your mental toughness tools and make great things happen.

11 Ways to be Mentally Tough

1. Winner’s attitude

Winners have a “whatever it takes” attitude. They’ve made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory. Before you begin, ask yourself if you’re willing to do anything and everything to accomplish your goals. Without this level of commitment, you’re not going to be successful.

Related Article: How to Achieve a Goal

2. Don’t Expect it to Be Easy

Many people think accomplishing their goals is going to be a walk in the park. When they run into an obstacle they immediately seek escape. Realize that some days will be tougher than others. While you can’t change that, you can take control of how you handle these situations. Have a plan to push forward when this happens. If you’re not ready to suffer during adversity, you’re not going to be successful.

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3. Don’t Focus on How to Do It. Instead, Focus on Why Should I Do It?

Ask yourself, “Why do I want this goal to become a reality?” The intensity of emotion with which this question is answered will determine whether the dream comes alive or dies.

4. Get Super Detailed

One of the biggest reasons people don’t stick to their goals is because they aren’t clear about what they want to achieve. You must get really clear about what you want to change, define it in detail and get totally committed to doing it. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Get really specific. Instead, say, “My goal is to lose 20 pounds in the next two months. I’m going to commit to being at the gym every morning at 7am and eat healthy and nutritious meals.”

5. Lose the Negative Thinking

One of the most powerful mental toughness tools is developing a world-class, positive self-talk. The words you say and think play a major role in your attitude and what you are capable of accomplishing. It’s estimated that 77% of the average person’s self-talk is negative.

The most important goals you set for yourself aren’t an easy or quick fix, and the difficulty involved usually leads to a party of negativity in your self-talk.

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Begin monitoring everything you say to yourself and others. Ask yourself if your self-talk is programming you for success or failure?

Related Article: The Incredible Power of Self-Talk

6. Vision Boards Will Keep You Motivated

One of the best ways to accomplish a resolution or any goal for that matter is by creating a vision board. If you want to lose weight, for example, cut out pictures of really fit people and tape them on a poster board. Hang the vision board in a very visible location. This will reinforce the goals into your subconscious.

7. Where is Your Accountability?

One of the biggest problems is that most people have no means of accountability or a support system in place. Go after your goals with a partner who really makes you push yourself. Even better, find someone who has already accomplished what you are setting out after and have them coach you.

8. Put it in Writing

Write a letter and describe your life to a friend as if you haven’t seen them in a while. Detail the way you would want things to be in five years. Some people prefer one year, others like three years. It’s whatever motivates you the most. Read the letter every day and it will help keep you on track.

9. Forget About What Other People Think

Stop caring about what other people think of your goals. Psychologists call it “approval addiction” and once you overcome it to any significant degree, you are free of the psychological chains that bind most people from ever experiencing world-class success. In other words, live your life for you; not for somebody else. 

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Related Article: How to Attract Your Goals To You

10. It’s About Discipline Over Pleasure

Discipline is the watchword of great performers. Discipline makes the difference between the good and the great. It’s the ability to stay the course and complete promises you’ve made. It is a logic-based decision that performers adhere to, regardless of whether they feel like it or not.

Discipline will push you past pain and punishment. The average person sees discipline as a painful chore to be avoided at all costs. The world class sees it as the ultimate power tool for performance.

11. Live in the Present but Focus on the Future

The average person often lives in the past, while champions look towards the future. Pros habitually focus on the present while creating their ultimate vision for, and landscape of, the future. This future orientation allows them to dream of grand visions and unlimited possibilities. It also keeps them motivated and moving forward by keeping the proverbial carrot out in front.

The bottom line: turning your goals into reality comes down to discipline, persistence and willpower. If you’re mentally tough enough, anything is possible.


Steve Siebold HeadshotSteve Siebold is author of the international bestselling book 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class. He is a mental toughness consultant to Fortune 500 Corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Toyota.

Featured photo by The U.S. Army

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