Anyone who has ever attempted a fitness and nutrition program understands the importance of mental toughness. Those who succeed tend to have a unique mindset that allows them to endure intense training, cope with stress, commit to the task at hand, and ultimately, get the body they desire.
Whether you are just starting your journey, well on your way, or in the maintenance phase, here are two markers of mental toughness that will help you look and feel your best.
Marker #1: Want success more than you fear anything else
We all experience fear from time to time: fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of the unknown, and fear of maintaining success. Have you ever been concerned that you won’t be able to say no to dessert at a dinner party? Have you ever been worried that you may hurt yourself in your attempt to push your limits? Did you ever feel nervous about starting a new workout DVD? Or, perhaps once you get the body you want, you’ve thought about whether or not you would be able to keep it? These are all common fears. What successful people learn to do is effectively prioritize them. Their desire to be healthy, fit, and love who they see in the mirror takes precedence over any fear.
I used to be a closet chocolate chip eater. When watching television with my family, I would make my way to the kitchen and bring back a small handful of chocolate chips, but not before eating two larger handfuls while hiding in the pantry. In those moments, my fear of not being able to make it through the night without chocolate trumped my desire to be healthy. It wasn’t until I changed my priorities that I was able to realize my goals. I made the conscious decision that having a fit body was worth a few nights of unsatisfied cravings.
In moments of weakness and fear (which we all have), it’s essential to ask yourself what’s more important: giving in to your fears or having your ideal body and your health? When you choose your body, not only will your fears be less daunting, but you will give yourself the best shot at ultimate success.
Marker #2: Commit to excellence, not perfection
A common “aha!” moment for my clients is when they realize that being healthy and fit is not about being perfect. In fact, the most dedicated people can miss and fall short of some goals. What separates successful people from everyone else is that they strive for perfection, but never demand it of themselves to the degree that they give up if they don’t achieve it.
Demanding perfection only makes you more anxious and feel worse about yourself, and that makes fitness no fun at all. Striving for perfection, on the other hand, is about committing to excellence. It’s about doing your best without the added, unnecessary pressure of needing to be perfect all the time. It’s about exerting every ounce of effort you have, in that moment, to the task at hand. It’s about learning from your mistakes and celebrating your achievements.
People who demand perfection often put off their training when they don’t feel 100%. And one cheat meal can be an invitation to giving up, as they’ll say to themselves, “Well, this week’s ruined. Guess I’ll start again on Monday.” This is the yo-yo effect at its finest and it simply doesn’t work.
Successful people, who strive for perfection and commit to excellence, will give whatever energy they have that day to complete their training. When they eat something unhealthy, they pick up right where they left off and focus on what they can achieve during the very next meal.
For the rest of your day, I challenge you to adopt these markers and see how successful you can be!