habits of mentally strong people

A mentally strong man breaking his shackles and is going to take off through his wings

Mental toughness…

a trait admired by all, but lacked by many.

We all know the importance of willpower in our daily lives, it controls all aspects of our lives, from our financial freedom to our protruding belly, and it is what separates the normal folks from the GOATs. Being mentally strong adds a huge advantage to your portfolio as an individual.

Some Science studies even say that people who are more mentally strong are much more likely to succeed in their workplace, have better grades, have a better job, and can foster better relationships, thus overall better quality of life can be achieved if one can become mentally strong. – Source

So how can we be mentally strong?

This is the question that we will answer in this article, with the help of some science research papers and self-help books to help you find the best exercises and practical advice for increasing your mental toughness.

So, let’s start, but first of all…

What the heck is, mental toughness?

Wiki defines Mental toughness as” a measure of individual resilience and confidence and yadda, yadda, yadda…” which is difficult to understand and is boring to read, so in plain simple English,” Mental toughness is any person’s mental capacity of dealing with a difficult situation.” Many numbers of studies have shown a direct correlation between mental toughness and sports achievements.

According to one scientific study, there are three main themes that affects an individual mental toughness:

1. “Thrive” (basic well-being)

2. “Prepare” (getting ready mentally)

3. “Activate” (what’s happening in the moment)

These factors can impact mental toughness both individually and together.

Researchers also found that mental toughness did change during the training period, supporting the idea that it’s more influenced by current circumstances than being a fixed trait.

How to be mentally strong:

1. System-oriented Vs Goal-oriented

System Vs Goals

James Clear in his book clearly states there are quite a few reasons why your goals don’t matter.

  1. Winners and losers both have the same goals.
  2. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
  3. Goals restrict your happiness.
  4. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
  5. Goals are at odds with long-term progress.
  6. The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building a system is to continue playing the game.

Atomic Habits: Page no. – 24, 25 and summary notes

As a person, if you want to be more mentally strong then you have to focus on the systems and adopt the daily habits of your idols in order to become the person you want to be.

Whatever you want to do, do it with full passion and work really hard towards it. Don’t look anywhere else. There will be a few distractions, but if you can be true to yourself, you will be successful for sure.

Virat Kohli

Your focus should be mainly on adopting desirable habits rather than achieving the goals you want to achieve.

for more information on the difference between goal-oriented and system-oriented click here.

2. Gratitude lists and Jars 🫙

David Goggins is one of the most mentally tough humans on this planet who has won countless ultramarathon races and is a retired navy seal, uses this technique a lot, to push him out of his comfort zone.

Science studies have also shown that gratitude is an effective way to manage stress, and since it can be used as a way to cope and manage stress, it can make a person mentally strong in difficult and catastrophic situations.

“I just want you to know that if you are out there and you are being really hard on yourself right now for something that has happened … it’s normal. That is what is going to happen to you in life. No one gets through unscathed. We are all going to have a few scratches on us. Please be kind to yourselves and stand up for yourself, please.”

Taylor Swift

One of the effective ways to practice gratitude is to make a list of things that you feel appreciated for, for example:

  1. I am grateful for the morning tasty breakfast
  2. I am grateful for the boy who helped me carry the charts
  3. I am grateful that my Mom called me last night.

I think you get the point.

Gratitude increases your happiness, it is a magic pill, that can make a person happier and immune to sadness, therefore reducing demotivation and thus due to thankfulness you always see the world with a light vision.

A gratitude jar is (as the name implies) a jar where you can deposit pictures, items, or written messages representing the aspects of your life you’re already grateful for. A gratitude jar might contain pictures of loved ones, notes describing what you’re grateful for on a given day, etc. A similar item would be a gratitude board, which replaces the jar with a poster or other type of board you can display in your home.

if there is one exercise which can definitely make you mentally strong, it’s gratitude be it in the form of lists or jars.

3. Life doesn’t owe you anything.

Miyamoto Musashi one of the greatest swordsman in Japanese history has given 21 rules to live a life of success in his book, “Dokkodo“. Some of the important one that helps us get a peak visit into his mental attitude and how to be mentally strong as an individual.

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.
  2. Don’t seek pleasure, just for its own sake.
  3. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
  4. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  5. In all things have no preferences.
  6. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
  7. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  8. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
Dokkodo: Page no. – 30, 44, 132, 144, 154, 178, 200, 248

“Life is tough, but so are you.”

Jennifer Lopez

Many of us believe that if we do good, behave well, and do hard work the universe will itself give us our flowers for our hardship and struggle. But that’s not how mentally strong people believe in the world they live. They think the world of as a cruel place, to be completely honest.

4. Accountability Mirror

David Goggins in his book, “Can’t Hurt Me” explains the importance of an accountability mirror

Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eye, and talk honestly to yourself, like if you want to be fit but you are overweight say you are fat, be honest with yourself.

Now there are a lot of personal things you can hold yourself accountable for, from financials to academics it works on everything. An accountability mirror can help improve your consistency and discipline a lot.

Similarly, like an accountability mirror, there is an accountability partner…

An accountability partner is a person who helps another person to keep a commitment, work ethic or maintain progress on a desired goal.

They will often be a trusted friend or acquaintance who will regularly ask an individual about their progress or receive confessions of moral wrongdoing.

“Nobody built like you, you design yourself.”


Accountability partners can interact through regular in-person meetings, through the Internet, or through a mixture of interactions.

There are also many accountability software in the market that help an individual achieve his or her personal goals.

An accountability partner adds extra social pressure, a pressure of not letting the other person let down by our behavior, which acts as a catalyst is pushing us further from our comfort zone.

5. 40% rule

In the book, “Living With A SEAL” the author describes his experience of how a Navy SEAL lived with his family for a month to teach them the lessons of being mentally strong.

And one of those lessons is a rule called the 40% rule.

So what exactly is the 40% rule?

It is when your mind screams that you’re at your limit—exhausted, drained, unable to take another step and when you believe you have given your 100% —you’ve given only 40% of your physical and mental capacity at that moment.

“I always believed in myself. I always believed in my heart, If I work hard 120% every day of my life, I’m answerable to no one who doubted me.”

Virat Kohli

Our abilities to confront adversity, setbacks, and difficulties aren’t solely determined by our inherent capabilities but by our mindset and thought patterns in the face of adversity. And it is what separates that top 1% from the rest of the pack.

Winston Churchill rightly said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Entrepreneurs, too, embody this spirit. We stumble, we learn, and we persist.

6. SMART goals and, systems too🤞

We need to develop S.M.A.R.T. goals as this helps us in creating effective goal-setting and objective development.

This framework is commonly applied in various fields, including personal development, project management, and employee performance management.

  • Specific: Targeting a particular area for improvement.
  • Measurable: Quantifying, or at least suggesting, an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable: Defining responsibility clearly.
  • Realistic: Outlining attainable results with available resources.
  • Time-related: Including a timeline for expected results.

Like for example, a normal goal would I want to be rich through blogging.

And a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be, I want to earn 20k per month using blogging in two years.

But this is just goal oriented, we can even take this one step further, like what will happen if it uses the same strategy for creating S.M.A.R.T systems:

like, using the same example, I will blog daily from 4 PM to 6 PM on my study desk after coming from work and to check and measure my work and I am using a habit scorecard.

Now this is called Implementation Intention, which is a very effective way to cut off procrastination.

Also, the other thing I use is a habit scorecard, which is just a scorecard to measure your habit consistency, it makes you more self-aware and improves your consistency. You can read in-depth scientific ways to use habit scorecards for habit formation here.

7. Coping with stress

“No such thing as a life, that’s better than yours.”

J. Cole

Coping with stress is essential because in the time of adversity, it is your mental attitude which saves the day for you and forces you to give it a try.

The great has the ability to do boring things daily, even when no one is supporting them, even when the chips are down, even their hard work isn’t working out just because they have a strong mindset, the only soly motivation they have and they ever need.\

Lower levels of stress is very essential if you want to run the race for a long term, stress increases your chance of quitting long before it had even been started.

So here are some stress management exercises to lower your level of stress, choose anything which feels better:

1. Watch an A.S.M.R. video on YouTube
2. Go for a nature walk
3. Meditate for 5 minutes.
4. Drawing, doodling, painting anything!
5. Write a freeverse, freewrite, or use a thoughts dump journal.
6. You can try masturbation 😎.
7. Exercise, Workout, Gym. I don’t give a f…

let’s revise…

  1. Use systems instead of goals to be more mentally tough, focusing mainly on your hard work and process rather than the goals.
  2. Practicing gratitude daily by using a gratitude list or gratitude jar.
  3. Encompassing some mindset shifts: such as, Life isn’t fair, and it doesn’t mean that if you have done good, you will receive good.
  4. Using an accountability partner or accountability software for your goals.
  5. Believing that whenever you have given your 100%, you merely have given your 40%.
  6. By creating S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  7. Use meditation, affirmation, and other relaxing exercises to cope with your stress.

Is it even worth it to be mentally strong?

Mental toughness is quite an important aspect of an individual because it includes how effective an individual is in stress management, and generally, people who are mentally strong have fostered more positive self-image of themselves thus raising their overall perceived quality and standard of life. Also, one important thing is, mentally tough people are able to create much better relationships. If you want to read in detail click here.

Does Genes matter?

Well, scientists are still debating over whether Mental Toughness depends on genes or not. But one thing is for sure, it doesn’t depend entirely on genes – study. So, an individual still has the ability to be more mentally strong no matter how much shitty hand he had been given at his birth. Your habits and mindsets can influence a lot of things around you like do you perceive failure as a roadblock or a learning opportunity.

Now, what the heck is grit?

Grit is the combination of passion and preservance for achieving your long-term goals.  

Grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait that drives individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their objectives. It’s not just about talent or luck; it’s about sustained effort and determination.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth introduced the concept of grit. She defined it as the passionate pursuit of long-term goals. Duckworth’s research highlighted the importance of grit in educational achievement, military persistence, and spelling bee success.

Think of grit as how Thomas Adison kept on working to find the light bulb even after 1000 bad inventions.

How to develop grit?

Passion: Do you have enough passion? Ask yourself, to be still be producing music even if you are completely broke even if you are socially isolated by society or being treated as a nuisance, Are you still going to do the work that needs to be done?

Preservance: It what’s separates the hard-working from the greats. Hard work needs time to make you great and that only comes with preservance. Preservance is a skill that is hard to conquer but gives results in dividends.

The last word

Mental toughness is a feat only achieved by the ones who are ahead of the curve. The marshmallow test has clearly shown that those who are mentally strong live a far better life than their counterparts. That is because the game of success doesn’t on how much faster your sprint is. But rather on how much longer your marathon is. The will to continue despite losing everything is what counts…. after all, eventually.

About the Author

Abhinandan Thakur


Abhinandan Thakur is a renowned blogger and the founder of Celeb Chronicles, a popular platform dedicated to celebrity news, entertainment, and lifestyle. With a passion for writing and a keen interest in the world of celebrities,he has established himself as a prominent figure in the digital media industry.

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