As you already know, functional fitness workouts are punishing. As a result, over time you’re going to develop mental toughness.
Mental toughness begins with self awareness. If you know exactly what you want, you can take on even bigger challenges. Many people look for posts on mental toughness hoping to find a formula on “how to be mentally tough tomorrow.” The truth is, if you believe such a thing exists, you’re just kidding yourself. Getting mentally tough is a process.
Developing mental toughness is a worthwhile goal because it doesn’t just allow you to push further, harder and persevere against any workout but also to anything life throws your way. As you keep strong in the face of adversity, you’ll learn that shifting your focus to your goals will help you stay determined despite the difficulties that you encounter. Here are the steps you’ll encounter as you achieve mental toughness in your training.
- Be clear and honest about what you want to achieve. What are your goals? What do you really want to achieve with your workout? Be specific with the numbers. Do you want to do 30 burpees unbroken? You want to do 10 strict pullups? Do you want to lose three inches off your waist? Are you interested in losing five to ten percent body fat? Write it down and review your goals on a regular basis. People who write down their goals have a higher likelihood of achieving them.
- Manage your expectations. Achieving your goals follow a process and a progression. Establish your current performance levels. If we use unbroken burpees as the example, how many can you do right now? Write it down so you can track your progress.
- Take really small steps forward. You might have heard this more than a dozen times but let me say it just so you’re aware that this also applies to your situation. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It was built brick by brick. So can your growth in the workout. You don’t become mentally tough tomorrow because you decide to. It starts by pushing yourself one or two reps further than you think you can every workout. Make small progress over time.
- Get familiar with your situation. As you keep working out. The difficult part becomes familiar. Corrections to your form are made. Your efficiency with the workout increases. Your breathing gets better despite the tougher workout.
- Use your victories to build confidence. Celebrate your wins. Receive that high five after the workout with pride. Be fully aware that you are making progress and over time you’ll hit your next short term goal and eventually your long term goal.
- Use your failure to refine your strategy. Some days you might bite more than you can chew. That’s okay. You might increase the weight you’re lifting sooner than your body is able. You might run out of gas before the workout timer ends. You might go to a workout without enough sleep and perform less than you expect. That’s okay. Learn to forgive yourself and identify the problem point. Make sure that you pay attention to the lesson because each of these small failures are temporary and at the same time, will make you a better athlete.
- Build a habit of slowly exploring out of your comfort zone. As you collect wins and lessons, your confidence will increase and eventually many of your goals will be met. It doesn’t end there. Exercise is a lifetime commitment. Arnold Schwarzenegger was once asked by an interviewer about complaints because people who stop exercising get fat. To which he responded, “whoever told them to stop?” Don’t set goals for the sake of setting goals. Every person has different priorities. Set targets that genuinely make you happy. That could mean lifting your kids or future grand kids when you’re seventy or feeling like a superhero everyday. Don’t make mental toughness your goal. If you really want it, I’ll tell you the secret. Mental toughness is a by-product of everything that you already do in the box. There’s no need to stress over it or worry about it. You have it. It’ll just grow as you continue to train.
The Navy SEALs have a saying “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” As you learn to push past discomfort, you’ll notice that you can learn how to perform well in your situation instead of escaping from it.