As a parent, coach, or teacher of a young athlete, you want them to be mentally tough. But what does that really mean?
A big part about being mentally tough is being able to take on challenges and persist in the face of adversity.
The Mental Toughness Journal guides young athletes through the process of adopting a 'Challenge Mindset' and bringing courage to their sporting arenas, and life!
The Challenge Mindset means seeing discomfort as a challenge rather than a threat or something to avoid. It means understanding that discomfort helps us grow and is important for achieving our goals. It's like training our bodies to become fit and strong. We need to train our brains too. If it's something that is important to us. Then choosing to go towards fear and discomfort helps us grow and live meaningful lives. When we habitually avoid discomfort it is harmful in the long term and can make things far, far worse!
For example, putting off an important assignment to avoid discomfort may feel good in the moment. Ah the relief of not having to do this right now!
But it can lead to regret and guilt in the long term (and probably more panic as the due date gets closer!) The same goes for many other feelings of discomfort. When we use avoidance as a coping strategy, we reinforce to ourselves that those feelings have control over what I do. Which is a problem because if it is truly important to you, you'll no doubt have to experience discomfort along the way.
The Mental Toughness Journal helps athletes identify the avoiding that gets in the way of living true to our values. It encourages teens to accept there is an urge to avoid doing a hard thing, but the choice to carry on doing what is important ais the pathway to a more resilient mind. By embracing discomfort and taking action, we gain confidence and improve!
It's also important to remember to take time to relax and enjoy the small things in life but ultimately we need to remind ourselves that the decisions that make us mentally tougher are those that align with our values and goals, even when they make us uncomfortable!