Leadership

5 ways mentally strong people set themselves up for success

Mentally strong people appear to go through life with relative ease. They rebound from failure, overcome hardship and look challenges square in the eye without getting their feathers ruffled.

They weren't born with large mental muscles, however. They worked hard to build strength over the course of many years.

So how do they manage to crush their goals, exceed expectations, and live their dreams without looking frazzled and worn out? They proactively set themselves up for success.

They create lifestyles that allow them to devote their attention, time and energy to the things that matter most. They eliminate anything that distracts them or threatens their ability to succeed.

The Dalai Lama.
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The Dalai Lama.

That's not to say they don't encounter obstacles. But setting themselves up for success means they're more prepared and better equipped to handle whatever challenges life throws their way.

Here are five things mentally strong people do to set themselves up for success:

They focus on daily objectives

It's hard to reach big goals. How do you lose 50 pounds when all you can think about is having a snack before bed? Or, how can you pay off your mortgage early when you're eager to buy a luxury car?

Mentally strong people succeed at reaching their long-term goals by focusing on their short-term objectives.

They establish realistic daily goals, like hitting the gym for 20 minutes or putting another $10 in the bank. Each small success motivates them to keep working on their bigger goal, one step at a time.

They make it harder to give into temptations

Some people seem to think that you should be mentally strong enough to resist even the most irresistible temptations at all times. But resisting temptation wastes mental energy.

You only have so much willpower on any given day. Surrounding yourself with junk food when you're on a diet and browsing items you want to buy when you're on a tight budget will cause your willpower gas tank to run dry.

Rather than waste their mental power trying to "be good," mentally strong people remove temptations from their lives. That could mean surrounding themselves with kinder people so they don't waste energy biting their tongues. Or it may mean opting out of a shopping trip when they're on a tight budget.

With as many temptations as possible out of the way, they have more strength to devote to reaching their goals.

They make it easier to engage in healthy habits

It's easy to create change when you're motivated. However, it's much harder to stick to your good habits when your drive begins to fizzle.

Mentally strong people make it easier to engage in healthy habits. Someone who wants to start running before work may leave his running outfit next to the bed so it's easier to get going in the morning. Or, someone who wants to save money might find a budgeting app that keeps her on track.

Mentally strong people know that ambition waxes and wanes. They find simple strategies that will give them the extra push they need on the days when they lack gumption.

They track their progress

Looking back at how far you've come can be instrumental helping you persevere when the going gets tough. Mentally strong people draw strength from their progress.

They don't need fancy charts or graphs to highlight their improvements. A simple checkmark on the calendar that marks each trip to the gym, or a jar filled with marbles that represent each book that has been read, can give mentally strong people tangible proof of their headway.

They plan for obstacles

No matter what you're trying to achieve, there will be obstacles in your path at one point or another. The busy holiday season may make it difficult to stick to your diet — and your budget. Or, extra projects at the office may interfere with your ability to launch a new endeavor.

Mentally strong people know that the path to success is a rocky road. They think ahead toward the challenges they're likely to face and they create plans for overcoming the stumbling blocks they anticipate encountering.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and an international best-selling author. Her books include "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do" and "13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do."

Video produced by Jon Fazio

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