(The following excerpt from 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin recently appeared on psychologytoday.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)
We often hear advice like, “Think positive, and good things will happen,” or “Try your hardest, and eventually things will work out.” While such words of wisdom certainly have merit, these well-meaning suggestions won’t help you reach your goals if you’re simultaneously engaging in unhealthy behavior. Recognizing and replacing the unhealthy thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that may be sabotaging your best efforts is the key to building mental strength.
Try comparing mental strength to physical strength. While a bodybuilder maintains his physique with good habits, like going to the gym, it’s equally important for that bodybuilder to get rid of unhealthy habits, like eating junk food. An exercise regimen won’t be effective in building lean muscle unless unhealthy eating habits are also eliminated.
Similarly, building mental muscle requires hard work, dedication and exercise. In addition to adopting healthy habits, avoiding detrimental habits — like negative thoughts, unproductive behavior, and self-destructive emotions — is also essential.
Whether you’re working on becoming a more patient parent or you’re striving to become an elite athlete, building mental strength will help you reach your goals. Learn to identify the common pitfalls that you’re prone to and practice exercises that will help you become your best self.
Here are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do:
1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves – Mentally strong people don’t waste their time and energy thinking about the problem, instead they focus on creating a solution.
2. Give Away Their Power – Empowering yourself is an essential component to building mental strength and creating the kind of life you want to live.
3. Shy Away From Change – The more you practice tolerating the uncomfortable feelings associated with change — whether it involves taking on a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship — the more confident you’ll become in your ability to create your future.
4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control – Pay attention to the times when you’re tempted to worry about something you can’t control — like the choices other people make or how your competitor behaves — and devote that energy into something more productive.
5. Worry About Pleasing Others – Doing and saying things that may not be met with favor takes courage, but living a truly authentic life requires you to live according to your values, even when your choices aren’t popular.
6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks – You don’t get to be extraordinary without taking risks, and learning how to accurately calculate risk will ensure you’re making the best choices.
7. Dwell on the Past – Making peace with the past so you can live for the present and plan for the future can be hard, especially if you’ve endured a lot of misfortune, but it’s a necessary step in becoming your best self.
8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over – Mentally strong people don’t hide their mistakes or make excuses for them. Instead they turn their mistakes into opportunities for self-growth.
9. Resent Other People’s Success – When you’re secure in our own definition of success, you’ll stop envying other people for obtaining their goals and you’ll be committed to reaching your dreams.
10. Give Up After Failure – Mentally strong people view failure as proof that they’re pushing themselves to the limits in their efforts to reach their full potential.
11. Fear Alone Time – Mentally strong people create opportunities to be alone with their thoughts, reflect on their progress, and create goals for the future.
12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything – And everyone has gifts that can be shared, regardless of whether they’ve gotten a “fair deal” in life.
13. Expect Immediate Results – Mentally strong people know that true change takes time and they’re willing to work hard to see results.