10 Habits and Actions That Develop Mental Toughness

Developing mental toughness is a process that involves cultivating resilience, perseverance, and a strong mindset. Fortunately, if you aren’t born with a natural sense of mental toughness, you can develop this characteristic within yourself. In fact, developing mental toughness is something you can continually strive to do throughout your entire life! Consider adopting these ten habits to build a stronger sense of mental toughness within yourself.

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1| Set and chase after challenging goals that push you to work hard.

Define clear and challenging goals for yourself. Rather than choosing “safe” or “easy” goals, challenge yourself to go after something truly difficult and challenging to pursue. Going after big goals that push your limits fosters mental toughness as you overcome obstacles and setbacks along the way. Not only will you work hard, but you’ll become much stronger because of it.

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2| Embrace feeling uncomfortable.

Step out of your comfort zone regularly. Face discomfort and uncertainty willingly, as doing so helps build resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges. Many people like to spend all their time cooped up in their comfort zones…unfortunately, no growth or learning happens there. Every time you exit your comfort zone, you get a little bit tougher.

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3| Cultivate a growth mindset within yourself.

Many people see setbacks, mistakes, or failures as the “end of the road.” Instead of immediately giving up when something goes wrong, adopt a growth mindset by viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Embrace setbacks as part of the process and focus on continuous improvement – not whatever went wrong.

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4| Develop more resilience.

Learn to bounce back from setbacks and failures instead of letting them define your whole experience. Cultivate resilience by reframing negative thoughts into more positive ones, maintaining a positive perspective, and finding solutions to challenges rather than wallowing in self-doubt or self-pity.

Read also: How To Embrace Self-Compassion For A Better You

5| Practice using lots of positive self-talk.

Monitor your inner dialogue and replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. If you speak to yourself negatively, those harsh words will tear away at your mental toughness. Positive self-talk can enhance confidence and help you feel better about yourself when times are tough. 

6| Find ways to manage your stress levels effectively.

Stress is going to happen – how you manage it means everything. Develop effective stress management strategies, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or regular exercise. Find strategies that work best for you and use them frequently. Learning to cope with stress enhances your sense of mental toughness.

7| Build more mental endurance.

Train your mental endurance by gradually exposing yourself to challenging tasks. Don’t let yourself keep doing the “same old, same old” and stay within your comfort zone. Instead, push your mental limits a little further each time to build more mental toughness, resilience, and valuable life experience.

8| Focus on what is actually within your realm of control.

Nobody will ever get to have 100% control over their lives; it’s a simple fact of life that can be difficult to accept! Instead of stressing over everything outside your realm of control, concentrate on aspects of situations that you can control. Let go of things you can’t control. This mindset helps prevent feelings of helplessness and promotes a sense of personal agency.

9| Learn the valuable lessons a setback can teach you.

Failing or making a mistake stinks. However, you can improve these types of experiences by analyzing them objectively and extracting valuable lessons. Use setbacks as opportunities for growth and improvement rather than bad memories you constantly ruminate on or use as fodder for overthinking. Changing your perspective on a setback can make you far more mentally tough than focusing on the negatives of it all.

10| Identify and stay committed to your core values.

Identify and stay committed to your core values. Many people go through life without really understanding their core values, which is disappointing – knowing your own values well can serve as a sturdy foundation for your entire life. Having a strong sense of purpose and alignment with your values can provide the motivation needed to navigate challenges, which is great for your mental toughness. By understanding what matters most to you in life, you can make meaningful and confident decisions for yourself.