As martial artists, having mental strength can make all the difference in our martial arts journey. In our daily lives, mental strength is equally important, helping us achieve our goals no matter how cumbersome they may seem. Thus, it is important for us to build our mental strength to help us keep going through the toughest times in and out of the gym.
Here are some tried and tested ways to help you develop your mental strength:
1) Martial arts
The more dedicated you become to practicing martial arts, the bigger your goals become. Whether it’s becoming a competitor or simply leveling up, there’s always a reason for us to add to our arsenal in order to achieve our goals. For martial artists, one of the most essential qualities to have is mental toughness. Being at the top of your game requires you not only to be strong physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well.
2) Set short-term achievable goals
Because our brains are used to setting and achieving goals, we should make the most out of this reflex by setting goals that will allow us to test ourselves. However, we should give ourselves time limits and make these goals realistic. The more achievable they are, the more likely we’ll push through with them.
3) Get uncomfortable!
Most of the time, choosing the easy way out of a problem seems like the best solution. After all, it’s fast and virtually pain-free. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to build your mental strength, the easy way isn’t the best choice. To build mental strength, you need to get uncomfortable! Learning how to deal with discomfort will give you the confidence you need to conquer the impossible. Trust us!
4) Don’t set yourself up for failure
Just because you’re building your mental strength, it doesn’t mean that you should make life difficult for yourself. Make life a little easier by removing temptation away from your environment. For example, if you want to start waking up earlier, you can set several alarms so you have no choice but to wake up. If you want to save money, you can download a financial tracker app so that you can note down your finances. The easier you make it for yourself you achieve your goals, the less mental energy you waste fighting the urge to do the opposite.
5) Be more optimistic
Whether we believe it or not, positive thinking does work. The more we tell ourselves something is possible/doable, the better the chance we have of actually achieving that goal. Although everyone has their bad days, and can’t help but think negative thoughts, we can replace these thoughts with more realistic expectations to help us stay on track.
6) Work hard
Nobody is more familiar with the term “mental strength” than UFC fighter Chael Sonnen. In an interview, he mentioned that if you inconvenience yourself and do the things you hate, and do them consistently, you will develop a “genuine expectation of winning for the price you had to pay.” In short, the harder you work, the more confident you become about succeeding. In fact, because of all the hardship you’ve experienced, you expect nothing less than success.
7) Push yourself a little bit further every time
Mental strength isn’t just something that you develop overnight. It takes time to grow and develop. If you don’t consistently push yourself in different ways, tough times will hit you really hard. Choose to do an extra rep each time you drill with a partner. Choose to walk instead of driving everywhere. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. By making these choices, you’re proving to yourself that you have what it takes to conquer whatever obstacle may come your way.
8) Stop making excuses
When you fail to meet your goal, dig deep and find out what went wrong. Think about how you can do it better next time but don’t make excuses about why you weren’t able to achieve anything. Being mentally strong means you accept your shortcomings. You acknowledge that only you are to blame and that only you can fix what’s wrong. By doing so, you’ll have a better chance of learning from them and avoid repeating them later on.
9) Get those emotions under control
The less control you have over your emotions, the more upset you become when things don’t go your way. You may not know it, but this definitely affects everyone around you. When you’re mentally tough, you don’t let your emotions get the best of you. You understand that certain things are just beyond your control. Having this mindset will not only keep you focused on your goal, it will also prevent you from doing/saying something that you may regret later on.
10) Give yourself the benefit of the doubt
In line with the idea of positive thinking, giving yourself the benefit of the doubt will convince your brain to stop underestimating your potential. The next time you feel unsure about your abilities, prove yourself wrong. Make it a point to actually get in a few extra rounds of bag work or skipping rope when you feel like you can’t. Remember the phrase “mind over matter”? By proving to yourself that you can get through your workout without passing out, you’ll always feel this way, no matter how tired you are.
Anyone can develop mental strength. All it takes is one’s initiative to apply the tips we’ve mentioned above into his/her daily life. So what are you waiting for? Start today and let yourself reach your full potential.