Whether you are training for the next triathlon, a new 1 rep max on bench press, or just trying to cut a few pounds, the key to achieving long lasting success is mental toughness. Some find a momentary boost in energy, fueled by excitement, is enough to begin a new regimen, but how long does this really last?
Soon after the initial high fades, when you’re forced to wake up early the first time or sacrifice a night out with friends, you find yourself back where you started.
Here, mental toughness shines, and we are given the opportunity to embrace the grind. Rarely is there a concrete checkpoint or destination. Rather, it’s the process, a mindset, and a belief in self that continuously re-develops and reinforces the power to keep going.
Imagine yourself struggling to accept defeat in a race for which you’ve put in tiresome hours of workouts and training.
Does losing make you feel worse? Or does it change your perspective and refocus your efforts for the future. Herein lies the difference between mental fitness and the untrained, weak mindset.
Mental fitness is so crucial to fostering physical fitness. Just as a healthy pulse returns to its resting rate after some time, a positive mindset stays positive when dealing with negativity or defeat. It’s what allows one to bounce back, stand up, and keep fighting.
The resilience derived from being mentally fit says more about the one’s perspective than anything else. It’s what enables us to visualize the end goal when no one else can. Sure, it’s unavoidable that distractions will arise that pull us away from our goals, but mental fitness, built upon resilience, commitment and focus, keeps us on track. It keeps us focused on the task at hand, and filters out the negative and irrelevant thoughts that push us farther away from our goals.
Carrie Cheadle, Mental Skills Coach and author of On Top of Your Game – Mental Skills To Maximize Your Athletic Performance says “When you are mentally tough it means you can delay immediate gratification and make decisions in the moment that are in service to your ultimate goal.” Similarly, focus keeps us aware of the things we can control, and lets us be absolved of all that we cannot control. Through this freedom we can continue to hone our mental fitness.