While most people know what exercises will make them physically strong, few people understand how to grow mentally strong. In fact, many people aren't even sure what mental strength is.
Mental strength consists of three parts—thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Becoming mentally strong involves regulating your thoughts, managing your emotions, and behaving productively.
And while I spend most of my career talking about how to give up the bad habits that rob you of mental strength, it's important to know what healthy habits will build your mental muscle. Here are 11 things mentally strong people do regularly:
1. They create their own definition of success.
Mentally strong people don't engage in unhealthy competition. They work toward their own definition of success and they know everyone's path is unique. They strive to become a little better each day without comparing themselves to others.
2. They challenge themselves every day.
Whether they're working on becoming a more patient parent or they strive to reach a new fitness goal, mentally strong people constantly challenge themselves to become better. They have clearly defined objects and they're persistent in their attempts to reach their goals.
3. They reflect on their progress.
Mentally strong people take time to honestly reflect on their progress. They evaluate where they're doing well and they identify the changes they want to make.
4. They identify their emotions.
Whether they're embarrassed or sad, they don't mask their hurt feelings or minimize their uncomfortable emotions. Mentally strong people are aware of their feelings and they know how those emotions influence the way they think and behave.
5. They reframe their negative thoughts.
Mentally strong people aren't immune to self-doubt and catastrophic predictions. But they don't allow those thoughts to overpower them. They reframe their negative thoughts into more realistic statements.
6. They tolerate pain for a greater purpose.
Mentally strong people don't have anything to prove to anyone but themselves. So they aren't interested in tolerating pain just to prove how much they can endure. Instead, they tolerate discomfort when it's in line with their purpose.
7. They use their mental energy wisely.
Mentally strong people know that time and energy are finite—so they use their resources wisely. They don't waste time worrying about things beyond their control or rehashing things they can't change. They use every ounce of brainpower to become better versions of themselves.
8. They acknowledge their limitations.
Mentally strong people aren't afraid to admit their weaknesses. They acknowledge when they need help and they aren't afraid to delegate tasks.
9. They sharpen their skills.
Mentally strong people are more concerned with sharpening their skills rather than showing them off. They are willing to do things where they might fail and they keep practicing to improve.
10. They accept full responsibility for their lives.
Mentally strong people seek explanations, not excuses. They recognize how their behavior affects the outcome and they know they're in charge of how they spend their time, who they spend their time with, and how they feel.
11. They stay true to their values.
Mentally strong people understand their core beliefs. They keep their priorities and decisions in line with their values.
Build your mental muscle.
Just like people aren't born with physical strength, no one is blessed with incredible mental strength at birth. Instead, mental strength can be developed over time by establishing good habits and ridding yourself of the unhealthy habits that will hold you back.