There’s a huge component of mental toughness that I don’t see often talked about. That is time.
Mental toughness is a slippery topic. So is time. Combining the two, well, let’s see how this comes out!
I refer back to the example of physical training to start with.
There is short-term mental toughness that is needed in a given exercise. Lately, I’ve been doing six second isometrics, and some even longer. This takes both physical and mental toughness to continue to push or pull with all my might.
There is medium-term mental toughness. This might be the subject we talked about before where you need toughness to start the workout in the first place, and then keep going from set to set and exercise to exercise through the whole thing.
There is long-term mental toughness. Here you can think in terms of weeks, months, even years. Maybe you train actively for a while but get side-lined by an injury. Do you continue while rehabbing that? Do you get right back on the wagon when you’re able?
Notice that even though it is helpful to think in terms of time frames like these, that ultimately it is all about DECISIONS in the moment.
Do I continue to push in this exercise?
Do I continue doing the next set?
Do I workout today?
Do I figure out a new training program? When do I get started?
There are ways of pre-deciding (again super important for habits as covered here) that can make those decisions in the moment easier. In a sense this is bypassing willpower as we’ve discussed. Even so, these involve decisions in moments of time.
Ultimately, what we want to achieve is alignment between the time frames.
Because the results are reinforcing of each other. Your short term mental toughness helps you to be mentally tough in the long term. Your long term mental toughness helps you to be mentally tough in the short term.
These concepts hold true if we’re talking your mental toughness regarding diet. Or with work. With money. With learning. With so much more.
Being mentally tough in the moment helps you to become a mentally tough person…which helps you to be mentally tough in the moment.
Alignment in time, and all the way from behaviors to deep inside to your core identity.