When Life is Hard

When Life is Hard- The Mental Toughness Way to Just Keep Going

Do you know how to finish a marathon?

JUST one step at a time.

JUST a half-mile at a time.

Then JUST one mile at a time.

A yard is hard, and a mile is a trial, but an inch is a sinche. 

Life is not a sprint, It’s not a marathon either. It’s much harder! It’s a 100-mile trail run! 

Since life is hard, remind yourself- So am I…

The mental toughness way to never giving up and to keep moving forward when living is hard is to do just that. Keep moving forward! 

Just keep going becomes the end game and it’s the defining line of reaching your goals.

It boils down to this simple, but not an easy task when life is hard.

JUST KEEP GOINGThere are just many things that get in the way of that goal —expectations of ourselves and others, failure, and more repeated failures.

The game of life and success is actually one of attrition. IF you NEVER give up, then you will be successful. If you stay in the game long enough, you will make it; sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

Remember, even slow walkers arrive.

Pain, sadness, regret, poor self-concept, lack of focus and failure can all be overcome if we JUST KEEP MOVING.

So, when life is hard- here are three strategies

 1. Write Out The Training Plan.

There was once a lunch reception for a golf event, with a buffet line. Normally in buffet lines, there are two lines, one of each side of the table moving in the same direction. Well, this line was interesting because of the flow of the guests getting their food.

Yes, there were two lines, but the organizer of the set-up put one set of plates at one end and another set of plates at the far end.

Picture it for a second because people were meeting each other in the middle. The layout may have made sense looking at it, but it just did not work.

Our training and preparation is the same way.

Writing down your training plan means putting your plan into action. Write out the training plan for the next two weeks and everything you need for when life is hard. 

What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done. We need to see our plan, how we will prepare, and what adjustments to make.


There are too many variables that are inherent with life, but having a written plan is not one of them. Life does get in the way, but if you have a plan, then you can adjust the plan.

Writing out the plan for the week allows you to see what the time and work look like, and anticipate any issues that you may have during that week.

I didn’t even own a bike for my ½ Ironman training or race and no clue on how to best prepare, so I had to write it all out.  For example, I had to do two a day workouts because there was such little time to prepare. I had to fit in two workouts a day around my schedule with teams and athletes.

This is required detailed planning on overcoming the potential obstacles.

2. Develop Your Daily Routine.

The first hour of the day sets the rudder for the rest.

A good routine saves time which leads to focus, which leads to being in the moment. Besides, you already have a routine. First, we create habits then our habits create us. Is your routine effective and productive or do you mistake action for achievement?

William Penn once said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”  

All successful people get up early. Maybe that’s the mental toughness way? 

Maybe it’s 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, or 6:30. If time is your excuse, make it your reason and just start rising 30 minutes earlier. You can do that, for the next two weeks, get up 30 minutes earlier.

However, if you organize your routine in the morning, make it a routine. Do you meditate, write out the daily goals, pray, exercise?

Start your own routine on your own schedule; you are the one in charge to develop your routine.

One of the parts of our routine is making a commitment to help others. It can be as simple as writing out the five people who we will reach out to today. The more people we help to just keep going, the tougher it gets for us to quit on ourselves. 

3. Start With The Hardest.

One of my PGA Tour players that I worked with taught me tons about mental toughness.

Before Scott Stallings won his first PGA Tour victory, we were at an event and we made a little wager that he had to complete a putting drill. This wager took place on the putting green and there was one very difficult putt. I figured he would save the toughest putt for last.

He pointed at the Rasputin of all holes and said, “I’m starting with that one!”

He won the bet. 

Tracy Thorsell attended the Naval Academy. She graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and speaks five languages. She took Chinese in high school because it was the toughest language to master.

Too often, we start with and only want the easy tasks. The idea for starting with the easy tasks is to create momentum in our day. However, we are actually just spending energy.

Get uncomfortable and build our mental toughness by starting with the hardest task first. That’s the mental toughness way! We get confidence and momentum from accomplishing the most difficult first.           


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.