More useful than talent is stamina. To achieve the goals and dreams you desire is hard. In fact, success is so hard that less than 9% of the population achieve the things they want. The research would argue that most people don’t accomplish their goals because they lose momentum and give up too quickly from lack of physical and/or mental stamina. A strong mindset takes more than will power. It requires intentional hard work. To have a strong body, you must strengthen your muscles with physical exercise. Your brain is the same. If you want to be mentally tough, you have to work your mental muscles and be intentional with the things you choose to do.
Using S-T-A-M-I-N-A as an acrostic, here are 7 exercises to improve your mental strength.
Think of kiss. Not in the way of using your lips, but K-I-S-S as in – keep it simple silly. In a complex world, simple is rare. We tend to over complicate most things. Simplicity isn’t about how much you give up or lose, it’s about how much you gain because of it. Simple is easier, so it takes less time. Simple is less stressful, so there is a lot less worrying and anxiety. Simple makes it easier to focus, so you can stay on track and see what needs to be done quickly. Keeping it simple, makes everyday life, work, and even your challenges easier to manage. Too much mental clutter can cause you to burnout and not be able to keep going under pressure.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. In other words, unless you track your results, you can’t know if you’re successful. Without clear goals and a plan of action, it can be tempting to analyze success based on emotion. If I feel like I’m doing great then it must be good, but if I feel like it’s bad, then it must be bad. Making decisions based on feelings is usually not a good idea and rarely gets the results you desire. When you track results, you can make educated decisions and make them quickly. You will know when you fail, and you will know when you succeed. Remember, failing isn’t bad. Failing is a part of success. Failing allows you to learn, grow, and redirect. When you clearly define what constitutes a win, you can take out the emotion and make objective decisions.
Be open to different ideas and willing to change if necessary. There are times when you will experience unexpected and unpleasant situations, and your ability to adapt and adjust will be a huge difference maker. Sometimes, your willingness to be flexible, is the only thing that will keep you afloat when life’s adversities try to drown you. If you’re willing to adjust at times, instead of wasting your energy on things you can’t change, you will work on improving yourself. This will allow you to thrive in whatever situation you find yourself in.
Keep your thoughts positive and have a grateful heart. Maintaining the right mindset is a very important exercise to strengthening your stamina. Talents and skills are wonderful to have, but many people who have all the talents and skills in the world are not successfully achieving their goals and dreams. Your abilities will only get you so far, then the mindset kicks in. This is where most of us quit on the things we want in life. We make it so far, but without the right mindset to keep going when things get tough, we give up. Success is hard, you must maintain the right mindset.
Visualization is important because it helps you to prepare and teaches you how to respond to a situation before it happens. It conditions your brain to see, hear, and feel what success can be like. When you use your imagination to visualize what you want to accomplish, you are making a conscious decision to look for information and resources that will improve your overall outcome. Visualizing is training for your mind the same way that practice is training for your body. Take time to imagine your end goal and what success will feel like, but also visualize every step you will take along the way. If you can see it, you can achieve it.
Take care of yourself. Nothing is more important than your self-care. Having good daily habits of exercise, hygiene, and sleep is the most important mental exercise you can do. To nourish means to promote healthy growth. You nourish your body with food, but what are you feeding our brain? So many people feel as though it is an act of selfishness to put themselves first, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Taking care of yourself is the least selfish thing you can do. If you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually strong, then you will have the endurance to take care of others and serve at a much higher capacity. Fuel yourself first, then you will have the energy to take care of everything else.
It is okay to ask for help. You can’t do it all alone, nor should you. When you allow others to serve you, you’re allowing them to serve and be fulfilled. It is a win-win! Accept help from those who are willing to provide for your needs. It is better to give, but there will be times when you need to receive. Allow yourself to be humble and accept the help when you need it. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. Don’t allow pride to keep you from having the mental stamina you need to accomplish the things in life you desire.
Of course just like physical activity, mental exercise is just as hard. It’s easy to read, but much harder to put into practice. Don’t expect to be perfect at each of these exercises from day one. Mental stamina takes time and it’s a skill that will take intention and work to become good at. However, if you keep at it and keep working, you will build your mental capacity and be able to overcome whatever life throws your way.
Kim Martin, Founder of I’ve Decided, INC.