Everyone wants to start out the year strong, but it’s finishing strong that’s also important. Many resolutions and goals are never reached because we get caught up in what’s happening in our lives, and because we haven’t developed the mental strength to keep ourselves going when the momentum from the New Year wears off. However, a lot of getting yourself to your goals and surpassing them is about being mentally strong for when those hard moments hit. Discipline is developed, so it will power the continual ability to make great choices toward what you want. Remember, not to sacrifice what you really want for some pleasure now.
Being mentally stronger doesn’t mean it has to be a tough grind, here are a few tips and tricks which can help you. Just like if you want to be stronger physically you have to do exercises to keep the muscles strong, to build mental strength you have to do exercises to help build those habits and beliefs. One of the best ways to build mental strength is to find habits and small tips throughout the day to keep your energy high, mindset positive, and help develop habits and skills which will help move you forward and keep you feeling good about what you’re doing. Meanwhile, you’re building mental strength in a way that won’t leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Set yourself up for a mentally stronger and happier year by applying a few of these tips:
1. Make Your Bed
You’re already accomplishing things and getting off to a great start when you make your bed first thing in the morning. Remember the saying, “The state of your bed is the state of your head?” There is plenty of truth to it. While it may seem like a small step, it has huge benefits.
Research shows people who make their beds daily are overall happier with their lives, more productive, and have a stronger sense of pride and accomplishment in their day for all the tasks they do. This one little thing gets you in the habit of finishing projects right away in the morning. One task down before you’ve even brushed your teeth, what a great feeling!
2. Say Nice Things to Yourself Daily
Make a commitment to cut down on the negative self-talk and pump up the nice things you say to yourself. You may feel ridiculous at first as you become your own cheerleader in your head, but think about how great you’ll feel as you make stronger and stronger decisions about your life. Those same decisions are what will keep you moving toward your goal.
Be mindful, negative thoughts can sneak their way in really quickly, when you catch them, just recognize them as untrue (even if you have to say it out loud) and replace them with a positive thought.
3. Write Down Something Great About Each Day
You can keep it in a jar, a journal, a shoebox, or wherever you want, but write down something great about each day. This helps create gratitude in your life.
At the end of the year, you’ll be able to sit down and look back at the positive things you’ve experienced and accomplished, instead of only the challenges or rough patches which made you want to give up.
4. Write Down the Positive Aspects of Every Challenge
Life is a lot about perspective. Change your perspective and you can change your life.
Instead of griping and being angry or disappointed (indulging in negative self-talk) concerning any challenges which may come up, build up your positive mental strength by writing down positive aspects and things you could be learning from the challenges. Try your best to find something to be grateful for every day.
5. Practice Mindful Happiness While Commuting
Mindfulness is about being in the moment. To get comfortable with being happy, practice being mindfully happy. Take an event or moment or memory when you are feeling good, and let yourself indulge in the feeling. Look at how it sits in your body, how your thoughts change, how your body changes, and what it feels like; see if there are any colors which it may feel like.
Spend some time in your happy mood. At the end of it, notice the feeling of happiness and joy, it comes from you, and it spontaneously shows up when you are mindfully in the moment.
6. Practice Being Your Own Best Friend Daily
This is a great way to become mentally stronger because it teaches us to rely on ourselves, and not need others to pick us up, because we can do it ourselves. Next time something isn’t going quite as planned, or you start to insult or criticize yourself, pause and ask:
“Would I let my best friend treat me this way?” or “Would I treat my best friend this way?”
The answer is probably no, and it’s a great idea to love yourself as much, if not more than you love your best friend.
7. Practice Saying “No” without Explanation
As a society, we’ve decided somewhere along the lines that we have to have a reason for saying no, and not wanting to do something isn’t a good enough reason. If you find yourself in that line of thinking, then throw it out. Learn to say no. You don’t have to explain your actions or validate your decisions to anyone about why you don’t want to do something.
8. Practice 20 Minutes of Self-Care Daily
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you don’t take some time to really deeply care for yourself, you’ll eventually run your well dry and not be able to love and care for those around you. Self-care can be something as complex as having a manicure or spa day, or as simple as locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes just to have some alone time. It doesn’t matter what it is, make sure you create some space and/or activities that leave you feeling full and happy.
9. Do a Hobby or Activity Daily Which Brings You Joy
This is a great form of self-care. See if you can’t find a hobby or activity which you enjoy just because it makes you feel better.
As you become more confident and competent at it, you’ll discover how confidence and self-belief will pool over into other areas of your life. The positive talk you use and the joy you find in your hobby will help make you mentally stronger as you tackle the harder aspects of your chosen goal.
10. Set a Goal to Practice More Gratitude and Less Complaining
Getting caught up in the cycle of complaining can make you hard to be around, but it also can take quite a toll on your mental health. Instead of just endlessly complaining about a situation, try and find something to be grateful for.
11. Set a Goal for at Least 8 Hours of Sleep a Night
This is huge! You’ve seen small children lose their minds when they are too tired. Adults are the same way, only we don’t usually end up eventually passed out in the middle of our dinner plate. When you’re too tired, you make poor decisions, your mental strength goes down, your rational mind turns into a 6-year-old’s, and your body responds by upping stress hormones.
Make sleep a priority this year to help you stay mentally strong. A minimum of eight hours is essential, if you’re any type of athlete, the more the better. If you’re stressed, make sure you are giving yourself sufficient time to rest and relax before going to sleep in order to allow your body to maximize the sleeping hours.
12. Set a Goal to Eat Clean Food Daily
New research is showing the link between your gut health and your mood, and one of the things which directly relates to your gut health is the food you put in your body. By reducing inflammatory food such as any food allergies, grains, dairy, and alcohol, you can reduce the stress on your digestive system. A healthier digestive system means fewer sick days, more energy, and can also improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
13. Cut Your Social Media Time in Half
We tend to put our best foot forward on social media, and this can end up with us trying to compare our lives to the highlights reel of another person’s life. Doing so can leave you feeling awful and discontent about where you are in life and the great things you’ve accomplished. It can also cause you to forget how many great lives you touch throughout the day by being the amazing person you are.
Half your social media time and spend the time reconnecting with people you love, reading a book, or practicing the hobby you enjoy. Whatever you decided to fill the time with, make sure it’s something that lifts you up.
14. Put up at Least Three Inspirational Quotes to Read Daily
When things get tough and you feel like you’re not making progress, uplifting words can go a long way toward keeping you on track. Take the time to post a few inspiring quotes or pictures (maybe even a vision board) somewhere you’ll see it every day. Words of encouragement and motivation can go a long when you’re in a bad place.
Check out some of these powerful quotes: 50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Overcome Life’s Challenges
15. Visualize Your Goals for 10 Minutes Daily
Take the time to visualize the end result of your goals and also the challenges you’ll overcome in between. Practice visualizing how you’re going to solve potential problems. See yourself where you want to be, and feel how great it feels to accomplish your goals.
16. Let Go of the People Pleasing Tendencies
In an effort to be a good person, we often over-extend ourselves and commit to things we really don’t want to do. Embrace the fact that you can’t please everyone. Let go of the need to let others’ happiness and goals overrule what’s best for you, your health, and your happiness.
17. Set a Monthly Budget Which Includes Something Fun
Anything fun should do, it doesn’t have to be big. It could be buying a new shirt, going to a movie, or getting yourself your favorite bubble bath — something you don’t normally let yourself reach for, something which will make you smile and feel wonderful when you come into contact with it.
Whether it’s lighting your new candle, soaking in a tub with your favorite bubble bath, let yourself enjoy a small splurge every month or a few weeks.
18. Stop Indulging in Relationships or Activities Which Drain You of Energy
Go where you’re celebrated. Do things that leave you feeling joyful. Make yourself mentally stronger by building positive relationships and letting go of toxic ones. Letting go of toxic relationships or places isn’t easy but, you have to make a commitment to being stronger. Without the mental and emotional drain, you’ll find more energy and more happiness throughout your day.
19. Cut the Word “Should” from Your Vocabulary
Think about when the last time you thought you should do something. Wasn’t exactly fun and exciting thought was it? “Should” usually comes with feelings of obligation and heavy responsibility, and rarely a feeling of joy. “Should” has a tendency to come with self-criticism and harsh judgment, neither of which support the foundation you’re building this year to become mentally stronger.
Instead of using “should,” re-phrase your sentence into something you look forward to doing. For example, “I would like to be mentally stronger.” or “I would like to be physically healthier.”
20. Journal for Three Pages or Five Minutes Morning And/Or Night
If you choose to journal in the morning, write about your dreams, dump all your worries or concerns on the page, to creatively express anything which may have worried you the night before. It’s also a great way to write down your goals and inspirations for the day, get a feeling for what you want to see happen, and an action plan. If you choose to journal at night, unwind about all the things which may have stressed you out, and celebrate all the things you did right. No matter what approach you take this year, remember:
With consistent positive practice, you can strengthen your mental muscles and over time, you’ll become mentally stronger!