One of the most effective ways to ensure you perform at your peak in 2017 is to train yourself to be mentally strong. Here are 10 things mentally strong people practice and you can learn to do too!
1. Count your blessings
By focusing on the positive things you do have in your life instead of counting only the burdens, you can keep a healthier perspective and have a more balanced outlook. Being grateful is a choice you can make, just as you choose to focus on what you think is wrong or lacking in your life. Your sense of gratitude for how your life is blessed with health, family, and friends, will shine through in your mood and be manifested in your behaviour.
2. Hold on to your personal power
This is about resisting the temptation to blame others for holding you back, or dragging you down, or waiting for the world to give you what you think you are owed. By focusing instead on what you can control - even if it's only your attitude - and accepting full responsibility for your life, you can move forward more positively.
3. Accept change and challenges
Instead of fearing change, bemoaning obstacles in your way, or complaining about problems, you can choose to see adversity as an opportunity to learn. By deciding to be flexible and adapt to change or a new situation in your professional or personal life, you can grow as a person. Working out how to solve a problem or overcoming an obstacle will make you mentally stronger and help to reinforce your self-confidence.
4. Practice self-compassion
Being harshly self-critical every time you think you've failed at something is a bad habit that is self-defeating. Showing yourself some more compassion and encouragement on the other hand - the way you would encourage a child, a partner, or a friend - is the way to be your own cheerleader. This doesn't mean making excuses when you fail to hit a target or get something wrong, but simply cutting yourself some slack and being willing to forgive yourself from time to time.
5. Make peace with the past
By all means learn from the past and any mistakes that you've made but determine not to dwell on what's happened, harbour any regrets, or bear grudges against anyone. You can't change what's already happened but you can influence the present and move forward with a positive and productive attitude.
6. Practice perseverance
Failing at something is often only a stage on the way to success and sometimes there can be many failures or near-misses before victory is yours. The key is to try to learn from failures by analysing why something didn't work and then try again, rather than getting discouraged. Practising perseverance and being patient will help to develop long-lasting mental strength.
7. Monitor your emotions
Being mentally strong doesn't mean stifling your emotions, or simply giving in to them, but being more aware of the way you feel and being honest about how this can sometimes negatively influence your thoughts and behaviour. Sometimes, you may have to overcome strong feelings and be willing to tolerate some emotional discomfort, in order to realise your potential. Learning to understand what triggers negative emotions such as fear, insecurity, envy, and doubt will help to make you mentally stronger.
8. Practice being a realistic optimist
Like emotions, thoughts can exert a powerful influence over us, but our thoughts aren't always true and habitually negative thinking needs to be tempered with positive thoughts. This doesn't mean re-casting everything in a positive light, but reframing negativity and refusing to allow it to limit your potential.
9. Manage your time
Mentally strong individuals accept that time is a finite resource and choose to try and use it in the most productive and meaningful way possible. Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself is a waste of precious time, so choose instead to focus on what you can do to make things better. Opt to use your mental energy more wisely and positively this year. Managing your time better also means allocating some more it to yourself, so you can read a book, write down some ideas, or just reflect. Productive solitude is rewarding and is always time well spent.
10. Monitor your progress
While being willing to be patient and work towards your goals and not expect immediate results, it's important to monitor your progress and always seek ways to improve your performance. If this means speaking up for what you believe in, or taking a calculated risk, then commit to doing so!