|Yesterday I defined mental toughness/willpower as “using your mind or your will to do something that other parts of you do not want to do. It is being tough or overpowering that other side of you that wants to go a different direction.” |
I briefly covered the topic that mental toughness can be thought of as a tool (specifically, one of state management).
There does seem to be a small fraction of the population, I would say 1% give or take, that seemingly can simply will themselves through anything. They have seemingly unlimited supplies of willpower that they can tap into.
Maybe. Some may think me to be one of these, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I do not have unlimited willpower.
I imagine that many other people that seemingly have unlimited willpower would argue the same of themselves.
But let’s just assume some people do. That’s great for them. What about for the rest of us?!?
First of all, know that mental toughness is a skillset. As such, even if you feel like you have none now, it can be developed.
Yes, you absolutely can increase your willpower.
That is arguably one of the big benefits of any sort of strength training or other fitness programs. In addition to the physical benefits, there are mental benefits too.
However, I would argue it’s not a simple skillset to develop. It has a lot to do with your thoughts and feelings. Most people have little awareness about these things, especially understanding the reflexivity of them. (Meaning your thoughts about other thoughts, your feelings about other feelings, your thoughts about your feelings, your feelings about your thoughts. Complicated! Yes…but very important for mental toughness. More on these later.)
Second of all, there are whole other pathways besides mental toughness to getting to what you want.
For instance, do I need to be mentally tough in my workouts? Some of them, absolutely. Others, not so much.
But do I need to be mentally tough to workout in the first place? No. In my mind, I “get” to workout. It is fun for me. It is self-fulfilling. It is rewarding, not just in the long term but in the short-term.
The fact is, I would need to utilize mental toughness to NOT workout! But this hasn’t always been the case. Long ago I did need to use my willpower to workout.
Notice that this is an example of changing both my thoughts and feelings regarding doing a thing.
If I “hate working out” => it will take willpower to do it
If I “love working out” => no willpower needed
Understand that. It doesn’t take willpower to do something you enjoy and get pleasure out of. That’s a big key.
By definition, willpower is used to do something that is hard or you don’t want to do. If we can bypass this completely then you don’t need willpower. And it’s easier to not need it.
This easier path is something I explored at length in:
Free Video Series on Habit Change
Full Habits on Demand Master Class
More on a different route around mental toughness tomorrow…and then we’ll be on to exploring mental toughness in depth again.