Mental toughness is finding fuel in an empty tank
To create, maintain and build mental toughness you must push yourself. This means giving it a bit more even when you feel you have no more to give. There are many times throughout the day when you can give yourself that extra push. Your workout may provide many opportunities. If you are a runner, you may find some days when you don’t have anything left and you still have a quarter mile to go. Reset. Tell yourself you got this and finish with a sprint at the end and, when you do, you will feel SO good. Give yourself more credit. Believe. You CAN do the last two reps. You are capable of finding another gear on your bike that will help you ride those last 3 miles. When your body feels that is has given all you’ve got, find the words to tell yourself you are tough, you have more to give and the will to do it.
SMALL TASK: CLEAN YOUR DISPOSAL Is there a smell coming from your garbage disposal? Have you tried putting a lemon down the drain or some other home remedy and the smell keeps coming back? It could be that it is just dirty and needs you to physically clean it. It’s easy and a bit slimy. First make sure there is no way the disposal can turn on when you are completing this task. Next, remove the rubber guard that you put your food through that covers the disposal. This needs to be clean. Run the water over it while you scrap the slime off either with your fingers or a small brush. Now, run your fingers or a brush around the rim of the disposal. Lastly, get your fingers or a brush inside and clean underneath the rim. This should make the smell away!
SMILE MAKER: KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP There is so much uncertainty and unrest in the world right now making this an exceedingly difficult time. You may have times what you feel depressed and isolated. Here are a few tips that could help. Create a routine. This will bring structure to your day and give it purpose. Each morning provides a fresh start. Give yourself something to look forward to in each day. Go outside as often as possible if the weather permits. Eat lunch outside. Go for walks. You can easily socially distance and the Vitamin D from the sun can help fight depression. Take on a project that will make you happy. You don’t have to finish it all at once. Find pockets of time to work on it to break up the day. Stay in touch with friends. You can call them, Skype, or Zoom and even go to an outdoor restaurant. Make the effort and reach out. Personal interaction with people you love is such a blessing. Create an environment at home that is peaceful and happy. Carve out a space just for you. Light candles. Meditate. Play music. Dance!
Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.
We all have used the excuse “I’m tired” and in many cases we are! However, try not to use this as an excuse to stop. You could feel tired because you are bored or because you have hit a roadblock, or it could be because of truly not enough sleep. Instead of halting your efforts for the reason of being tired, set a more realistic goal at the start and don’t stop until it is accomplished. Push yourself to finish. There is such power in completing a task and, conversely, a feeling of powerlessness when you stop before you are finished. This saying is especially true when working out. Pace yourself and if you feel like you are getting tired then it’s time to dig deeper. If you are lifting weights, maybe it is wise to break the reps up. Instead of doing 4 sets of 15, do 6 sets of 10. You certainly want to avoid injury, and this could help. You are still completing 60 reps. If you are setting out to run 4 miles, start off a bit slower and build when you are past the 2-mile mark and don’t stop until you are done.
SMALL TASK: CHECK YOUR SPRINKLERS You may notice some dry spots in your grass or plants that are looking droopy. If you have a gardener, they may be watching out for this too, but if yours is like mine, they are not taking the time to adjust or change out sprinkler heads, so I fix the sprinklers myself. First, I would suggest purchasing markers. The ones I use are actual flags attached to a thin metal rod that is simply inserted in the lawn. If you don’t want to get these then find something else that you can stick in your lawn and is easy to spot. You can turn each zone on either by the timer box or manually if you prefer using the valves. The tools I would suggest using are a small screwdriver, a trowel, and your markers. Now, turn on the first zone and get to work. If the head needs redirecting, either turn it with your hands or use the screwdriver. If the head is covered up, use the trowel to clear the grass away. If the sprinkler doesn’t work at all or if it is clearly broken, use your marker and come back to those at the end. You may need to make a run to the hardware store. This is a get wet, get your hands dirty project. What fun!
SMILE MAKER: SEND YOUR FAVORITE BOOK Think of a book that impacted you in some way. Did it make you laugh out loud, did it change your thinking about a topic, or did it provide an incredible escape every time you picked it up. Now pick someone that you believe would also love the book as much as you did and send it to them. Explain on the card why you are sending it to them and how it affected you. Everyone can use a good book and it is so personal to give the gift of the written word.
Never Give Up
This statement applies to everything you are passionate about in your life. Never give up on yourself. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on anything that you really want or anyone that you genuinely care about. If the path you are on isn’t working, take another one. You will regret it if you stop trying when you get frustrated or when it gets a bit hard. There could be a fitness goal that you have always wanted to achieve. Start with a more attainable goal and work your way up to that success. Dig deeper. Maybe what this saying means to you is a career aspiration that you have your sights on. Talk to your boss, if they will listen, and let them know what you want your future step to be and ask what they believe it would take to get there. No matter what they say, Never Give Up. You get one life. Make it the absolute best it can be by going after what you want and don’t give up until you get it.
SMALL TASK: REDO YOUR WORKOUT MUSIC I use an iPod for my workout music. You may use your phone or some other device. I find it helps boost the motivation to delete and add to the musical selection every so often. When you find you are drifting off while you are working out, then maybe it is time for a change. Make a different playlist or delete and add those tunes that will get you in the zone. Find the tune that best fits the exercise you are doing and set your rhythm to the beat. You will most likely find the exercise easier and be able to do more reps than you thought you could!
SMILE MAKER: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE There is a quote that illustrate this so well. “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Do it. Try a new style, go to a restaurant or the movies by yourself, introduce yourself to someone you don’t know or finally give that manuscript to your boss to look at and critique. There are a million things that you normally don’t do or that you have always wanted to do. Take that step. You can just eat a new food or go bigger and start with a different morning beverage and go the whole day making decisions out of your comfort zone. It will be, no doubt, a bit awkward and it will also be liberating. Your comfort zone is a self-imposed restriction. Change it. Take away the boundaries you have put on yourself. Be willing and okay with being uncomfortable. It will eventually feel good as you move from the uneasy to the comfortable as you reach your new level. It may take time, but the results will be worth it. Those moments when you choose to grow are the most rewarding moments of all.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you
It is easier to go through each day making the decisions that you always do which produce the outcome you always get. So, if you want a different result, challenge yourself. Change your response, craft a new reaction, and create a new path that will not only challenge you, it will change you. It may not feel as comfortable, but don’t let that stop you. Strive to Be Your Best You.
Oprah Winfrey’s 10 Rules for Success certainly apply here:
SMILE MAKER: DROP OFF A MEAL Buying, preparing, and cooking meals can be a very monotonous and arduous task for most. Give someone a break and drop off some eats. It can either be homemade or store bought because it is truly the thought that counts. Maybe it is for a friend who would certainly appreciate a dish from their favorite restaurant or you can drop off sandwiches and cookies at lunchtime for a family with kids at home doing online learning or deliver food to a neighbor that would love to taste some of your homemade chili. What a wonderful surprise to get food delivered to you by someone who cares.
Commit yourself to constant improvement
Be someone who wants to grow in all areas of their life. It is deeply meaningful to pursue a life of development and betterment. It is through improving yourself that you will get the most out of life. Here are a few suggestions:
SMILE MAKER: YOU ARE IN CONTROL Own the decisions that you make. As hard as it can be sometimes, make every step you take a stride in the direction that you want to take your life. Happiness doesn’t just happen to you; you have to work for it. Choose your own path and don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.
There will certainly be days when this is easier said than done. You know your limits, although you may be surprised how much farther you can stretch them. I hope you use this saying to repeat to yourself when you need it. There could be many times in everyday where you are exhausted either physically or emotionally or both. These occasions could be a frustrating moment with your children, a work project that has hit a road block, a boss that is micromanaging you, a partner that is being unreasonable or maybe it’s a moment in a workout when you need to remind yourself that you got this! Your inner strength will allow you to raise the bar and push through. You will be amazed at what you can do when you dig deep and Stay Strong.
SMALL TASK: SAVE VOICEMAILS OF LOVED ONES If you have this opportunity, do not delete a message left by someone who is special to you. There may be an occasion that you want to listen to their message for a pick me up or hear their voice because you miss them terribly. The sound of someone’s voice is a precious memory that can never be replaced. If your mailbox is filling up, there is a way you can save them to your email to free up the space so you can keep it forever.
SMILE MAKER: SEND A CARE PACKAGE TO A SOLDIER There are several organizations that could help match you up with someone that could benefit from your generosity. Blue Star Moms is a place to start. Think about what would bring a smile to someone in the military that is stationed away from their home and loved ones. Be creative. Put together some practical things, some comforting items and maybe even some special gifts that were handmade. Let this admirable individual know that you appreciate them. Here are some suggested items:
Socks, Soap, Shampoo, Body Wash, Face Wash, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Floss, Deodorant, Lip Balm, Foot Powder, Baby Wipes, Sunscreen, Hand Sanitizer, Pain-relieving Topical Cream, Vicks VapoRub, Hand Warmers, Sewing Kits, Lens Cleaning Cloths, Reading Material, Handheld Video Games, Board Games, Deck of Cards, iPod, Thumb Drives with Movies or Music, Puzzles, Plastic Model Kits, Baseball Gloves/Baseballs, Batteries (AA or AAA), Pencils, 3M Wall Hooks, Hot Sauce (Taco Bell packets work), Water Flavoring Packets, Beef Jerky, Slim Jim’s, Protein Bars, Gum, Sunflower Seeds.
Complete the package with a handwritten and heartfelt note. It will fill your heart with joy and most surely bring a smile to the face of the soldier!
Strive for excellence, not perfection
Aim high when you undertake any action, project, job, or relationship. Do your best to make each accomplishment a work of excellence. Whether it is a small task like the laundry or a much larger one like writing a grant proposal, do top notch work every time. You should be proud of every one of your completed tasks. The difference between excellence and perfection is attitude. If you are merely concentrating on perfection you will lose sight of the journey and the joy of it and will instead be focusing on the nuances of every detail and action. You will find yourself comparing each step to what you feel is a higher standard when, in fact, the choices you are making could be even better and the best part is, they are yours. Your best is excellent!
SMALL TASK: ORGANIZE YOUR TUPPERWARE DRAWER I know I have a drawer with all types of storage containers in them and maybe you do too. It seems like it stays organized for no more than a week. So many different sizes and shapes and then there are the lids. Take the time this week to give this another shot. I have found the best way for the many different types in my drawer is to put the containers together and stacked in the best way possible and then put all the lids together all lined up by size. If you have a better way, do it and better yet, share it with the group. Get the frustration out of finding the matching container and lid forever, if it is possible.
SMILE MAKER: MAKE A LIST OF YOUR LIFE PRIORITIES This is a particularly important task and one you should think about very carefully. You can make a list of the top 5 or even the top 10. Who and what do you put first in your life? Make this a list of the people and tasks and dreams that you value. It is your definition of Priority. You can be as specific or as general as you want. It is your list. My hope for you is that you are somewhere on that list. I would argue that you should be first. The power of making yourself happy and the importance of putting value on yourself and all that you have to offer is critical to feel joy and spread love. This is a project that should make you smile, will make you reflect and also, most likely, make you reassess the direction and focus of your life, your emotions, and your energy. This is something you can do once a year for yourself. The list will change as your life and circumstances change. There will, undoubtedly, be some constants but be sure and be open to shifting your priorities as you grow. Always, however, put yourself on that list at or near the top!
Enjoy all you have while pursuing all you want
It is time for self-reflection. What in your life brings you joy? When you wake up each day, what brings a smile to your face? Enjoy it. Love every aspect of your life that you cherish. Whatever your circumstances are, there is always happiness to be found. It may be in a small form or you may have it in abundance. Whatever the case, take the time to appreciate all you have. While you are taking the time to value the good things in your life, you should also be mindful of areas where you may be settling or being merely complacent. You can both enjoy what you have and keep pursuing what else you may want. There may be little or quite a bit you want to change in your life. Never stop growing and challenging yourself. Your dreams could be your reality. Keep pursuing!
SMALL TASK: MEND STUFF. Get out your needle and thread. Make sure you have many colors of thread so you can do multiple projects. Now, gather all the shirts that need buttons reattached, any pillows with a hole in them, pants that need the hem secured and anything else that could use some repairing. Put on some good music or a show that you have seen before (so you can concentrate on the project) and enjoy the satisfaction of completing all these little fixes!
SMILE MAKER: SHOP FOR SOMEONE. There are many people that are unable to go to the store due to health reasons or they may be anxious to go because they are in the high-risk category for contracting Covid 19. It would be wonderful to reach out and lend a hand. It could be once a week or just a one-time act of kindness and, either way, it will be appreciated. The grocery store is usually the most necessary and requested errand. Volunteer to get their list and deliver to their door. Make sure you understand what they are asking for as they may have specific brands and sizes for various reasons. They will be grateful for your attention to detail. Check the local nursing homes or even Next Door to find someone who could use your services. So many people do not have the benefit of family or capable friends to help them and, chances are, they feel very helpless. Imagine how happy you will make someone if you do this and you might even make a new friend!
To Amaze is to “surprise greatly”, “fill with astonishment”. Consider the amazing feeling you would get if you did that for yourself! Think of the joy of stopping yourself in your tracks and saying “Wow” I DID THAT! Surprise yourself with how many sit-ups you can do, how well you can write, how productive you can be, how fast you can run.....there is an endless list of ways you can amaze yourself everyday if you give each day your best. Did you give it your all or do you give it even more? Elevate your game with every move you make. Set your goals throughout the day a bit higher so you stretch yourself to do something extra. You certainly don’t have to do a monumental feat. You can amaze yourself by doing anything you didn’t think you were capable of in that moment or day or year. Strive to have an accomplishment to that degree in every day. I am sure there are many times all of us can recall that we were impressed by something someone else did. Now, make that someone YOU!
SMALL TASK: LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE. This is easier than you may think. I am doing it using an app called Duolingo. It is free and very user friendly. (they are not a sponsor) I am sure there are other good programs, but this one I have found to be very user friendly. You can do just 5 minutes a day! How many times have you thought about learning a new language or even reviewing a previously learned one? This program lets you choose what you want to learn and how you want to learn it. There are hints along the way if you are making a reoccurring mistake which is helpful. You also have a choice to use the word bank or, if you are feeling confident, type in your answer with no help. You feel you are making progress even after a truly short session. Rewarding and useful!
SMILE MAKER: OFFER TO BABYSIT. If you have kids, you know how much this would be appreciated. Do you know someone that really needs a break? Is there a friend that would love to be able to go to the store without the children in tow? Offer. Insist. Take an hour or two out of your day and give a friend some much needed time for themselves or maybe a date night with their partner. Maybe you could take the kids to the park with a picnic lunch or just be at the house when the baby naps so your friend can take some time away or even just sit and read a book. So many times, people do not know how to ask for help, so put a smile on someone’s face by suggesting a date and time when you would like to provide this valuable service. If you are flexible, leave it open ended. Let your friend know how much they mean to you by giving them the gift of uninterrupted time.
Be Happy. Be Bright. Be You.
Own you. You are enough. Believe in you. Smile when you look in the mirror. Be the best version of you. This saying is a reminder to be content with the person you have become. You have been working on it and you need to enjoy the progress. Each day brings a new opportunity to learn and improve. If you seize each circumstance that comes your way and grow from every one of them, then feel confident that you are doing all you can. Stand tall. Exude joy.
You are smart. You are kind. You are important.
SMALL TASK: TIGHTEN EVERYTHING. You would be amazed at how many screws and nuts and bolts are loose everywhere in your house. Get a Flat and Phillips screwdriver as well as a wrench and a hammer. Start at one end of the house. Check every door, drawer, chair, and anything that would loosen over time. Tighten all fittings. If additional work is necessary, take the time to do it now. It is so satisfying knowing that bolts and handles are secure and that all is as sturdy as it can be. Be the master of your space.
SMILE MAKER: WORDS OF WISDOM. This is a very unsettling time in the world right now. Covid-19 is still very much a threat and now millions of people across the country have taken to the streets in response to the racially charged vicious killing of George Floyd. Unfortunately, many of these protests have also become violent leaving innocent people hurt and businesses destroyed. I have found several quotes from Barack Obama that are I hope will inspire and motivate you during this tumultuous time.
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America – there’s a United States of America.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
“Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.”
“We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort.”
Be the change you want to see in the world.