I often say “simple, but not easy.” The steps are simple, but it does take hard work, a few mental skills, and some luck. I am fortunate enough to have achieved these milestones and simply want to share the (3) simple, but not easy strategies how to run a marathon, write a book, and make a hole-in-one.
Write out your bucket list for mental toughness.
In college, I heard about Ted Leonsis writing down 100 things he wanted to do before he died, and I simply did the same thing. When I was teaching Sport Psychology at the university, I had my students write out their list, except they had to frame the list so they would see it every day.
You have to get lucky… I had my first hole-in-one… If I hit it close, it was a good shot, but it went in, so I was lucky (irony). I am happy that I actually achieved one of the goals that Ted Leonsis hasn’t had yet, a hole-in-one.
What is it that you want to achieve, experience, visit, or accomplish? It’s easy and fun to start, but can get tough later on: because do you really want to party with Jay-Z, or ride across the United State on a Harley? Think big when writing out your list, but only write down what you really want to do.
Use a mentor or guide for mental toughness.
One of my athletes stated the “he” got better because he saw what the great players did and would simply repeat their behaviors, practice habits, etc. Writing my book, I used two mentors, Malcolm Gladwell and John Grisham.
First, I followed Malcolm Gladwell’s books and his writing style. He starts off every chapter with a story, and infused research thereafter to back-up the claims. Perfect! I can do that! I used John Grisham as a guide, because he would write every day before going to the courtroom. When my daughter was born, I would take the early morning feedings, and she and I would then open up the coffee shop for and hour and half of writing, while she slept.
Make mental toughness a habit
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”-Aristotle
Starting graduate school, I needed discipline in my life, so I began running. Slow and short at first, not many miles per week , or much of a pace, but I was consistent. I then witnessed the finish of a Philly Marathon, followed point #1, and I made it a goal.
I already had a small base of running underneath me, so I just upped the mileage, talked with experts, read a book, and ran…. I ran 6 days a week for four months of training, and ran a respectable 3:32 marathon.
The best part was when my second marathon came around, I knew how to train, what worked, what didn’t, repeated the behaviors, and ran faster, a 3:22 marathon…
It’s also a big reason why I merely signed-up and completed a 1/2 Ironman…
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness