I’m sure everyone has heard of the phrase, “It takes 21 days to develop a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. Now, think of a time you wanted to develop a habit and a lifestyle change? What was the habit? Did it become part of your lifestyle? How challenging was it for you to start this habit? Was it out of your comfort zone?
We as humans, are used to daily routines, developing habits, go by a schedule each day, and make appointments. This is easy for us to do because it is usually done through our comfort zone. So, have you ever developed a habit that scared you a little or created a knot in your stomach? This is the best way to develop mental toughness skills. Now, why is this important to practice and how do you practice? We are going to start with creating a 30 day mental toughness challenge.
How to start a 30 day mental toughness challenge:
1. Where is your comfort zone?
Think of your comfort zone as the basketball court. If you are a point guard, you are most likely the most comfortable at the top of the three point line. Guards, around and slightly in the three point line. Forwards, around and inside the paint. Centers, inside the paint and around the block.
2. Push yourself out of that comfort zone.
As an athlete, you have to push yourself so you can develop and grow as a player and as a person. Get yourself uncomfortable. Guards, get into the paint. Forwards, don’t be scared to take a shot around the foul line. If you aren’t growing, You’re dying.
3. Write it down.
Each day during the month, write down something that is mentally and emotionally challenging for you. It doesn’t always have to be physically exhausting or it doesn’t have to be sport related. Try singing in front of people on open mic night, asking someone out, sit with new people in the cafeteria. Try something that you have never done before or have thought about doing but never got to courage to do it.
4. Prove to yourself you are a mentally tough person.
Your coaches, parents, teammates, teachers, friends, family, etc. already know you are mentally tough. But, have you proved it to yourself? After the month is up, now you have 30 days of evidence that you are. When you feel like your mental toughness is low, refer back to this calendar to reassure that you are in fact mentally tough.
5. Practice competing.
Athletes that are the most mentally tough compete the most because they aren’t scared of the competition or know how to push through those feelings. Start practicing like you are about to compete. Wear the same uniform, get some teammates together, get a referee, and get the clock running. If you can’t get a scrimmage going, challenge someone to a sprint off or a defensive stance challenge. Get creative and challenge yourself and others.
Build the habit, make the habit your courage of the day, and it will be easy to go through this discomfort.
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