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Mental Toughness

Updated on August 8, 2016

Wake Up!

Beep, Beep, Beep. Damn, Monday Morning? Why is this alarm so loud? Did I even Sleep? There is no possible way I can workout or run today. I have so much to do, so little time. Breakfast? Who has time for that? I can make it to lunch for sure. Running? No way Jose. Don't even get me started on lifting weights? That is for the birds and last time I checked I do not fly.

The above thoughts and self talk has gone through everybody's head at some point. Especially athletes, like myself, or just your average fitness enthusiast. What makes working out and running so hard? Why do we have to hate it so much?

First and foremost, you don't. You and I are among the millions of people everyday that workout or run or do some sort of fitness. Even the top Olympic athletes have days where they would want to be anywhere but the gym. That being said, they still do it. This takes a certain will power that not every person has, yet. I say that because anybody can be mentally strong.

As a future Army Infantryman and retired baseball athlete, i get a lot of my motivation from Rangers, SEALs, and Special Forces. These are the guys that wake up every single day and piss excellence. Even on their worst days they are still men among boys. Just to be considered to try out for these teams you must already be on the top of your game. But that is for another post for another day.

After reading and researching extensively about these men there is one common saying used by all the guys. Don't Quit. That simple. It is funny how simple that can sound but how hard it can be. It is a basic statement with huge meaning. You are on day 2 of your new workout plan? Don't quit, make it to day 3. It has been a month and you are not losing the weight you thought you would be losing? Don't quit. Keep going. I have read that most people quit right before greatness is achieved. It is amazing what you can do to the human body. It responds to most anything that you can put it through. Your 2.5 miles in to a 5 miler at 12 p.m. in the Mississippi heat? Don't quit. Keep going and you will forever be rewarded. Mental barriers are made to be broken.

Second, the 40 percent rule. Another Navy SEAL story. Sorry, get used to it. These men are awesome. Reading one day I came across a story of a runner who was trying to break mental barriers. He was doing a 100 mile relay race with 4 team members. There happened to be a Navy SEAL there running the whole damn thing by himself. Crazy right? The man went up to the SEAL after the race and asked him what made him mentally tough. This is where the 40 percent rule came into my life. He told the man that when your body is telling you that you are done and have had enough, that you have only used 40 percent of what your body is capable of doing. 60 more percent is still there? It is crazy to think that your body is telling you to stop when you have so much more left in the tank.

Finally, Suck it up and get going. When the alarm goes off get up, brush your teeth and get your day started. You will thank yourself later. Don't be negative. Monday is the first day to a week where you can kick ass. Write your goals down and meet them. When you get done with those goals write new ones and beat them. Just go! Be great in everything you do. Live how you want to live and conquer things that you didn't think were possible. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, it is up to you to choose what you want to do with them. Don't be the gazelle, be the Lion!

© 2016 Alex Shermer

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