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Four Reminders to Increase Your Mental Toughness

By Dr. Rob Bell

Dr. Bell is a Mental Toughness Coach and Certified Consultant of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.  He consults with hundreds of athletes, coaches, and teams and has served as the mental coach for PGA tour winners, USTA Champion, and Olympic Medalists.  He is also the author of several mental toughness books. For more information about Dr. Bell and his services visit

We have more knowledge today literally at our fingertips than ever before. We do not need to search our minds for an answer, or even ask our friends, it’s right there on our phone.

Knowledge is not the problem.

We know how and what to eat to be healthy, but we still have an obesity epidemic.

We know the benefits of exercise and movement, but heart disease is still at an all-time high.

It’s not for a lack of knowledge.

We just choose the easier route. It’s easier to have the milkshake than it is to be in the salad bar line. It’s easier to NOT workout than it is to hit up that spin class.

In our own performance, we know what we NEED to do to become our best. We can’t claim that we don’t know what we don’t know.

Knowledge won’t increase your mental toughness.

Wisdom is what increases our mental toughness and the only way to get wisdom is through experience. That’s why mental toughness is caught more than it is taught.

Experience is built upon action, living, taking part, and being in the game. Once we experience overcoming adversity, we can rely on our life reminders.

If we don’t hold up mental toughness and continuous improvement as a priority and to be the BEST at getting BETTER than it doesn’t happen. It’s not a priority.

Here are 4 reminders to increase your mental toughness
1. Gratitude
2. Just one more
3. Faith
4. Be in the moment

I don’t believe in an attitude of gratitude, it’s an action of gratitude.

Gratitude is a muscle.

We need to take certain steps to exercise our gratitude! I once fell off an 80-foot cliff and I am thankful every day that I am still able-bodied!

It’s tough to be hateful and grateful at the same time.

Once we start counting all that we are thankful for, it gets tough to stop. We all have tough patches in life and we all go through slumps. That’s life.

Then, we see a child who has to receive weekly cancer treatments or someone who just had a life altering injury and can no longer walk.

When we are in that space of thankfulness, perspective, and positivity, we share it with others.

Just One More
When people look for “the secret” or the magic bullet, there really isn’t one. But, there is one technique that comes close to build your grit.

It’s called just one more.

Here’s how it works:

Whatever we are doing, we all reach that finish point. This strategy plays when we reach the end of our day, the finish of our workout, or even the completion of a task.

When we reach that point where we are “done”, then we need to push ourselves to just do one more. Write one more paragraph, make one more call, do one more rep, or one more sprint.

It will increase your mental toughness because “just one more” is how we push ourselves past our current limits and it guarantees that we finish every task strong!

There is an illusion of control in all of our lives. We think we have more control than we actually do.

The individuals on earth who actually have a precise idea about our own lack of control are in fact institutionalized. The illusion of control provides us an elixir that enables us to operate. If we thought about how little control we actually had, it would consume us, much like those souls in institutions.

Ahh, and that is what happens. We focus on things that are out of our control.

We think about other people who drag us down and we get sad. We think about our current circumstance or issue and get upset. Or we get bogged down in all of the things that we need to do.

We are the actor in our own play, but we are not the director. There are too many external variables in life and our performance that we have absolutely no control over.

Faith is what we need to overcome the temporary setbacks and defeats and negativity. Faith is the belief that “it” will work out. I can’t overextend my energy or force myself to make “it” happen, I just have to have faith and believe.

Besides, we don’t need to work harder, we just need to believe more!

Faith = Flow

When we have faith that we will be successful, we relax. When we know and have trust that our needs will be met, we relax. And when we are at ease and relaxed, we only focus on what’s in our control. Faith gets into the state of flow.

Lastly, I believe that there is a God and I know that I’m not it.

It makes no difference to me what your higher power is, because the example we set is louder than the words we speak. My own faith rests in Christianity and the grace that God and Jesus Christ promises us. That’s my faith.

And faith isn’t really faith until it’s all you’ve got.

Be in the moment
The sexy term is “mindfulness” which is just the buzzword for being in the moment.

Question for you: When you are truly in the moment, how miserable can you actually be?

All of our fear and anxiety is because we are thinking about the future or we are still rooted in the past. That which we fear is next month, next week, tomorrow, or even later today, it is NOT right now!

When we remind ourselves to focus on this moment, this breath, and just for today, we are being mindful.

In order to increase your mental toughness, we need to focus on the now. That’s it, this breath!

We can’t read the directions and expect a cake to appear.

These four reminders to boost your grit are action items. They must be exercised before adversity strikes during times of struggle and after coming out of hardships. Return to the simple tasks and exercise these four reminders…