1. Waste time feeling sorry for yourself.
Self-pity keeps you focused on the problem and prevents you from developing a solution. Hardship and sorrow are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice.
2. Give away your power.
No one has power over the way you think, feel or behave. Changing your daily vocabulary is one way to recognize that the choices you make are yours. Rather than saying, “I have to work late today,” edit that sentiment to “I’m choosing to stay late.”
3. Shy away from change.
The world is constantly changing, and your success depends on your ability to adapt. The more you practice tolerating distress from various sources, the more confident you’ll become in your ability to adapt and create positive change in yourself.
4. Squander energy on things you can’t control.
Complaining, worrying and wishful thinking don’t solve problems; they only waste your energy. But if you invest that same energy in the things you can control, you’ll be much better prepared for whatever life throws your way.
5. Worry about pleasing everyone.
Trying to make other people happy drains your mental strength and causes you to lose sight of your goals. Think about your top five values and focus your energy on staying true to them, even when your choices aren’t met with favor.
Read: 6 Things True Leaders Do
6. Fear taking risks.
If something seems scary, you might not take the risk, even a small one. On the contrary, if you’re excited about a new opportunity, you may overlook a giant risk and forge ahead. Emotions cloud your judgment and interfere with your ability to accurately calculate risk. You can’t become extraordinary without taking chances, but a successful outcome depends on your ability to take the right risks. Create a list of the pros and cons of taking the risk to help you make a decision based on a balance of emotion and logic.
7. Look back at the past.
While learning from the past helps you build mental strength, ruminating is harmful. Constantly questioning your past choices or romanticizing about the good ol’ days keeps you from both enjoying the present and making the future as good as it can be.
Make peace with the past. Sometimes doing so will involve forgiving someone who hurt you, and other times, moving forward means letting go of regret. Rather than reliving your past, work through the painful emotions that keep you stuck.
8. Repeat your mistakes.
You may have learned from a young age that mistakes are bad. So you may hide or excuse your mistakes to bury the shame associated with them, and doing so will prevent you from learning from them.
Set aside your pride and humbly evaluate your mistakes you’ve made. Use that knowledge to move forward better than before.
9. Resent other people’s successes.
Watching a co-worker receive a promotion, hearing a friend talk about her latest achievement or seeing a family member buy a car you can’t afford can stir up feelings of envy. But jealousy shifts the focus from your efforts and interferes with your ability to reach your goals.
Write down your definition of success. When you’re secure in that definition, you’ll stop resenting others for attaining their goals, and you’ll stay committed to reaching yours. Have you ever recognize that when other people reach their goals, their accomplishments don’t minimize your achievements…?
10. Give up after your first failure.
Some people avoid failure at all costs because it unravels their sense of self-worth. Not trying at all or giving up after your first attempt will prevent you from reaching your potential. Almost every story about a wildly successful person starts with tales of repeated failure (consider Thomas Edison’s thousands of failures before he invented a viable lightbulb, for instance).
Face your fear of defeat head-on by stretching yourself to your limits. Even when you feel embarrassed, rejected or ashamed, hold your head high and refuse to let lack of success define you as a person. Focus on improving your skills and be willing to try again after you fail.
11. Fear “alone time.”
Alone time is an essential component to building mental strength. Carve out at least 10 minutes each day to gather your thoughts without the distractions of the world. Use the time to reflect on your progress and create goals for the future.
12. Feel the world owes you something.
We like to think that if we put in enough hard work or tough it out through bad times, then we deserve success. But waiting for the world to give you what you think you’re owed isn’t a productive life strategy.
Take notice of times when you feel as though you deserve something better. Intentionally focus on all that you have to give rather than what you think you deserve. Regardless of whether you think you’ve been dealt a fair hand in life, you have gifts to share with others.
13. Expect immediate results.
Self-growth develops slowly. Mental strength will give you the resilience to push through the challenges, and the great news is that everyone can strengthen his or her mental muscle. Practice being your own mental strength coach. Pay attention to areas in which you’re doing well and figure out where you need improvement. Create opportunities for growth and then challenge yourself to become a little better today than you were yesterday.