Your Daily 10-Minute Mental Toughness Routine
Today, businessmen are training like athletes and athletes are training like businessmen. Because at the end of the day, mastering a sport is just like mastering your own life and business or career.
Success in any area is about the fundamentals. One of the big components of achieving anything at a high level is making sure you’re mentally tough enough to persevere. Because without a strong mindset, it’s easy to quit and give up.
Luckily, you can upgrade your mindset in as little as 10 minutes per day with these five strategies.
10-Minute Mental Toughness Routine
Jason Selk is the author of the book, 10-Minute Mental Toughness. After reading the book and implementing a lot of the strategies myself, I’ve been impressed with the results (as have a ton of people around the world).
Use these five strategies to upgrade your mental toughness and set yourself up to achieve massive success.
1. Optimize Your Breathing
Nerves are part of life, but they don’t have to hold you back anymore… as long as you can learn to control your breathing.
This one tip can change your life whenever you feel nervous. Being nervous is an inevitable part of our biology, whether you’re competing in game 7 of the World Series or making a big presentation at work.
As Jason said in the book, “From a scientific standpoint, one of the first things that occurs when a person feels pressure is the acceleration of the heart rate. The increased heart rate frequently causes people to rush what they are doing.”
To combat these nerves, he suggests taking a centering breath to calm your nerves. This isn’t a normal deep breath though, instead, it’s a cleansing breath that slows your heart rate.
Use his formula of 6:2:7 for best results - breathe for six seconds, hold for two, and breathe out for seven seconds. This will help calm your brain down and get it out of survival mode so you can perform your best.
The key here is to count the full 15 seconds, not just focus on the breath itself.
2. Create a Performance Statement
Did you know that 80% of all your thoughts are negative?
According to a 2005 study from the National Science Foundation,
- The average person has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day.
- 8 out of 10 thoughts that enter your brain are negative, not positive.
- 95% of those thoughts were the exact same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
Needless to say, it’s vital that you control your self-talk to offset the negative perception we’re all programmed with. As Jeff said in the book,
“Self-talk is one of the most influential agents for honing self-confidence. Extensive research in the sport psychology world confirms that an athlete's internal dialogue significantly increases performance.”
But if you aren’t an Olympic athlete, you too can benefit from positive self-talk to achieve more in life or business.
The key is to create your own performance statement - an easy-to-remember mantra to use when your mind is giving you negative thoughts.
This one statement is simple, easy to remember, and a reminder of what you need to do to perform your best. The important thing when crafting your statement is to not use the word “don't.”
For example, if you have a sales job and you want to get better at cold calling, you wouldn’t want something like “Don’t screw up” in your performance statement. Instead, your statement would be something like “I am a confident, successful salesman.”
A positive performance statement will help you perform your best and offset your natural negative thinking with enough repetition.
3. Create Your Own Highlight Reel
While a positive performance statement is effective, I love this trick he talks about called “The Personal Highlight Reel.” If you’re like most guys, you love watching Sports Center’s top 10 best plays of the day.
Well... why not make one for your own performances too?
Creating your own highlight reel is a form of visualization that can help you program your mind for success.
Seeing really is believing.
As Psychology Today said,
“Psychologists have been using visual imagery for years, as a way to help people enhance performance at skill-based activities, create desired emotional states, and achieve life goals. In other words, being able to do something in your head, greatly increases your chances of being able to do it in real life.”
Success in anything starts by first seeing in your mind. Here are some of his tips to effectively start visualizing what you want to achieve.
- Add as much detail as you can in your mental video. Pay attention to 3-5 senses to maximize your visualization exercise.
- Make your visualization times brief. There is no need to try and sit there for 10-15 minutes at a time. Even 1-3 minutes can help program your mind for success.
- Emotionally, feel the way you want. During your visualization exercise, try to tap into the emotions that you will feel when you’re in the act of doing.
- Repeat it. Don’t expect to do this exercise once and get results. The key to learning anything new is repetition, so stick with it.
- Congratulate yourself after the session. A mental pat on the back will help you stay consistent and not get discouraged in the long run.
4. Create an Identity Statement
While a performance statement is great for when you’re in the moment of a specific task, he also recommends an identity statement. This type of statement is designed to improve your self-image and improve how you view yourself in life.
As he said in the book, “Self-image is a proven agent of behavior control. When you truly believe in your abilities, the self-image motivates the behaviors needed for you to live up to your expectations.”
The power of your self-image is a common principle that is taught by top personal development leaders like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy. In fact, a lot of what they learned and now teach about the self-image is from Dr. Maxwell Maltz.
As Dr. Maltz said in the book, Psycho-Cybernetics. As he said in his book, “The self-image is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change your self-image and you can change your personality and behavior.”
To create a powerful self-image that will make your success more likely, you need to decide who you want to be and how you want to live. Then, keep telling yourself that you have what it takes to become that person.
Here is Jason’s strategy to help you create an easy to remember 2-part identity statement:
- First, indicate a strength that you have or want. Make sure this strength works directly in helping you achieve your biggest goals.
- Next, make sure your statement addresses what you want to accomplish.
A good example from the book was, “I am fast and strong; I am the most powerful running back in the league.”
It’s simple, easy to remember, and follows the two rules to make it effective. Use this statement whenever you feel those negative thoughts or self-doubt creep in.
Eventually, this will begin to reshape the reality that you want.
5. Tap Into the Power of Goals
The final tip to help you 10X your mental toughness is to make sure you’re using goals to reach your potential. Specifically, use three types of goals in your mental workout:
- Ultimate goals: These are long-term goals that are well out in the future.
- Product goals: These are results-oriented goals that are easy to measure.
- Process goals: These goals are the smaller steps to achieve the product goals and eventually the ultimate goals.
For example, if you’re in sales, your ultimate goals might be to be the #1 salesperson in the company and run the organization. The product goals would be to make X number of calls per week with an X percent close rate. While the process goals are doing the mental workouts and blocking off each morning to prepare for your client appointments so you’re more prepared.
Once you get clear on them, make sure to write down your goals.
As Jason said in the book, “The act of writing down as well as talking about your goals makes them more of a part of your reality. The more you can see and recite your goals, the more steadily they move from your subconscious into your awareness.”
Finally, make sure that you have a personal reward system for when you achieve your goals. Just like athletes get bonuses for strong performances, you should too. This pat on the back is a great way to celebrate your goals and also incentivize you to hit them again.
These could be small or big rewards, but the important thing is to celebrate them. Whether it’s buying a new car, hiring a personal trainer, or treating yourself to a new TV, don’t forget this step.
As Jason said, “The solution is to search for something meaningful that can symbolize your accomplishment. Choose an incentive that will bring you pleasure, but do not present yourself with that reward until you complete the goal.”
Remember, success starts with the mind, whether you’re in sports or business.
All it takes is 10-minutes or less to go through these powerful exercises that can lead to a ton of mental toughness. Make sure to:
- Optimize your breathing
- Tap into the power of goal setting
- Use the highlight reel visualization technique
- Create a performance and identity statement
Hopefully, you will be able to then persevere through the tough times but stay on track to achieving your goals.