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Strategies Used to Enhance Mental Fortitude

Written by Professional Triathlete, Morgan Chaffin

A question I often get from my athletes is, how can I develop the mental fortitude to overcome anxiety, fear, discomfort and setbacks? In response, I’ve recently been listening to numerous podcasts on positive mental self-talk strategies. One of my favorites is used by the Navy SEALs, who adhere to this powerful saying: when you feel that you’re completely wiped out, you’re actually only 40 percent done and have 60 percent in the tank.

This means, we can absolutely train our brains to be as mentally strong as we are physically. I’ll discuss two methods, R.I.S.E (power of the reset) and the four C’s, that will assist you in strengthening your mental fortitude.

Mental Fortitude Reset

  1. Recognize your thoughts

  • Are they true?
  • Is your thought black and white without any in between?
  • Are you seeing only the negative side to the situation?
  • Acknowledge the thought quickly and then move on

   2. Identify emotions

  • What feelings am I aware of having (there are often many)? What is the most prominent? Try to describe it to yourself. When did you become aware of this feeling?

   3. Switch focus

  • Tap into previous results, positive experiences, and past challenges
  • Create a positive mantra!

   4. Excute steps to create a better path

The 4 C’s of Mental Toughness

  •  Control

          o Recognize attitude and inter-dialogue

          o Control effort

          o Work through emotionally charged situations

          o Focus on what you can control (not what others are doing, your competitor(s), times)

          o Processes in your own box equals a better position!

  • Commitment

          o Set small process goals and achieve them

          o Commit to finish: As long as you finish you’re getting something out of it, build on it, everything has a purpose!

  • Confidence

          o Have self belief in your ability

          o Be comfortable in handling objectives and overcoming adversity

  • Challenge

          o See it as something you can do!

          o “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right!” -Henry Ford”

          o Tap into previous success to feel validated (realistic challenge)

                - Life success, races, academia, career

          o Embrace change

          o Except risk

          o View it as a chance to learn and grow

To make these steps successful you must practice consistently, be aware in training and career, and have any action plan!

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