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14 Things Mentally Strong People Do Differently To Be More Successful

14 Things Mentally Strong People Do Differently To Be More Successful

We’ve all had our moments in life when we feel like we just can’t take it anymore. Life gets us down. We feel beaten, broken, and like there’s no way out. But what is the difference between the people who can turn it around and make lemonade out of lemons? It all lies in how you think. If you are mentally strong, you can be happy in many different situations. If you want to be one of those people, here are 14 things that they do in order to be successful:

1. They control their emotions.

Mentally strong people don’t let their emotions control them. That’s not to say that they don’t have emotions. They do. They just don’t let them overwhelm them in any given situation. They have the ability to step outside themselves and put their logical side in the driver’s seat, while keeping the emotional part of themselves on the passenger’s side.

2. They re-frame the situation.

Instead of looking at obstacles as problems, mentally strong people see them as learning opportunities. They don’t see tragedy, they see triumph. They realize things could always be worse. They know that other people are worse off than them. So they immediately (or eventually) re-frame the situation in more positive terms.

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3. They stay calm.

If they are facing a crisis, they don’t freak out for very long. For example, if they find out that they are going to be laid off from their job, they don’t sink into a deep depression or start crying and screaming about it. They simply breathe, center themselves, and decide that everything will turn out fine. Then they take action immediately to solve the problem (like starting to apply to new jobs).

4. They accept things they can’t change.

You have to pay taxes. You can’t change that. You have to pay your mortgage if you want to keep your house. You can’t change that. You have to get along with your spouse or co-workers. And you can’t change them. So all you can do is accept the things you can’t change. That’s what mentally strong people do. They know the difference between what they can and can’t change. And they simply accept it because to do otherwise would only be putting more negative energy into the situation.

5. They appreciate what they have.

I know a lot of people who have absolutely wonderful lives but the do nothing but complain about what they don’t have. Mentally strong people don’t do that. They know they are lucky. They look at what they do have and give regular thanks and appreciation for it all. The emotion of appreciation has one of the highest vibrations, and it brings more goodness into your life.

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6. They don’t dwell on the negatives.

Instead of seeing the glass as half empty or even half full, mentally strong people see the glass as always full – half liquid and half air. They focus on solutions. For example, if they have marriage problems, they focus on what they love about their spouse, not what they don’t. Then they work with the other person to find solutions.

7. They take personal responsibility for their thoughts and actions.

If something goes wrong in their life, they don’t point the finger at other people. Mentally strong people know that they are the only ones who are in charge of their successes or failures. They never see themselves as a victim.

8. They love themselves.

A lot of people think that self-love is the same as being conceited or having a big ego. That is far from the truth. People who truly love themselves don’t go around telling others how great they are because they don’t have to. People already know they are awesome because they see their greatness. And mentally strong people love themselves and believe they are capable of doing anything.

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9. They learn from the past.

Many people like to put their heads in the sand and ignore the past – especially when it is painful looking back. But mentally strong people know that their past has made them into who they are today. They look at what did and didn’t work in the past, and they do it better in the future. As Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.” Mentally strong people don’t see the past in terms of ‘mistakes’ or ‘failures,’ they see these things as ‘lessons learned.’

10. They change what they can.

As I said in point 4, some things you can’t change. But most of the things in life are changeable. So if a mentally strong person doesn’t like their job, they look for a new one. If their relationships aren’t up to par, they talk to the person so they can work on it. They don’t settle for being stagnant. They keep moving forward by implementing positive change.

11. They are self-reflective.

Mentally strong people continually examine themselves to understand why they are the way they are. It’s a skill that can be developed by almost anyone, but mentally strong people have mastered it. They know who they are and how their behavior is affecting their life and their relationships. You can’t change what you don’t recognize, and they know that.

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12. They have self-discipline.

Sure, we all have things we dislike doing. But while many people go into avoidance or procrastination mode, mentally strong people train their minds to do what they need to do. They don’t shy away from taking actions that might not be pleasurable if they need to be done. They welcome the challenge and hold themselves accountable.

13. They don’t get jealous of other people.

The ‘Green-Eyed Monster’ can be a terrible thing. Many people are constantly comparing themselves to others and thinking they are inferior. People who are mentally strong don’t do that. They appreciate what they have and realize that everyone is different. Everyone has their own path. They celebrate everyone’s success – including their own.

14. They keep going.

Mentally strong people never give up. They never see themselves as a failure. If things aren’t going according to plan, they just make a new plan. They don’t get stuck. They are always moving forward toward making a better future.

If you think you’re not mentally strong, don’t worry. You can get there. All it takes is the desire to actually do it. And practice. But it can be done. So make a decision right now that you not only can – but will – become mentally strong.

To your success!!!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is a communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

What Is a Relationship Timeline and Should You Follow It? Dealing With Anxious Attachment: Advice from a Relationship Therapist Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner) How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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