Mental Toughness – Deciding on New Habits

Mental Toughness – Deciding on New Habits

By:  V. Lynn Hawkins

Have you ever considered yourself to be mentally touch? Or, are you one who gives up easily and then beats yourself up because you stopped 3 feet before the finish line?

Did you know that the level of your mental toughness is directly related to your habits? 

I thought I was mentally tough and powered through much of my life achieving much success. I also experienced some devastating failures, admitting to stopping just short of the big goal. I’d felt the final obstacles were too great to surpass or felt beat up, beat down and beat sideways such that it was no longer worth the push of the last few feet, opening the door to beating myself up because I wasn’t strong enough to keep going.

While it’s hard to admit, it’s a reality many of us experience. 

Not many people are aware that the level of your mental toughness is directly related to your habits. Instead they think that being mentally tough is something you were born with. It’s not.

Anyone can easily develop and improve their mental toughness. It begins with having a desire to do so and deciding to do it… Do what? Change. Change thinking. Change behavior. Change your life.

Change is not easy and can be a very scary place for some. For others, complacency has set in and change isn’t a desire. 

So, let’s examine what it would take for you to be kicked out of the room of complacency or face your fear of changing. Is it a catastrophic illness, a major financial hit, a loss of some sort, a job or a loved one? Is it having that 1 person who believes in you and inspires you to push on, even when you don’t and can’t?

I believe that change is inevitable. Struggling not to change is the infliction of pain that is optional. You can struggle and be in pain or you can decide, desiring something else, and change. It is the desire to change for yourself alone.

A habit is a routine that you follow each day, almost without thinking. No one has to tell you to brush your teeth each morning, it is a habit. Unless, you’re not doing it and then it requires a change. You’ve got pain in your mouth with many symptoms that can possibly even lead to stroke or a fatal heart attack. Knowing that, would change be welcomed?

How would you rate your mental toughness? Answer the following: 

  • Do you give up on exercise when it gets tough? 
  • Do you find excuses for everything?
  • Are you stuck not losing weight regardless of what you do?

If you answered yes to any of these then your mental toughness needs a little work.

When you allow excuses to stop you, you’re only hurting yourself. It is not really your lack of motivation or willpower it is your lack of mental toughness. 

When you have mental toughness you don’t allow obstacles or excuses to block your way. Instead you battle through regardless of any circumstance. You’ve decided on change for the better and this is the journey to get there and it generally involves aligning in new habits.

The easiest way to improve your mental toughness is by developing your habits. Pick one thing that you want to become a new habit and design the steps to work on it. 

Most say it only takes 21 days or about three weeks to master a habit and have it to become engrained in your mind. While that really isn’t that long, approaching new habits in the way may make change harder than it needs to be. 

Some experts have proven that it can take as little as 5 days to create and align with a new habit. It’s something I recently learned about from Coach Marjorie Leon. They are called ‘Tiny Habits’ and I think it’s a novel concept that touches mental toughness in a way that may create greater success. 

It takes into account more of an alignment strategy instead of just a mental strategy. It is an alignment with the mind and the heart that creates change. Mental toughness is really a heart thing because the heart is the center of who we are and the things we do. 

Change is tapping into the heart’s desire to do things differently, or it is a hurt heart that will have someone want to stay in the old instead of embracing change and something new and better.

If you want to lose those last 10 pounds but haven’t given up your daily sodas yet, you could get tough mentally and stop drinking them so you can lose those last few pounds. Another strategy is to give up one soda a day, substitute it for something healthier, like water or tea. That’s creating a tiny habit that can translate into huge results.

Another example is wanting to run in a 5K but you haven’t yet. Identifying what it is that is stopping you is a good beginning. More than thinking about how much you want it, think about what you could do as a result of doing this, or making your change. If you desire the result, you are more willing to do what it takes. When you desire the result with all of your heart and soul you will do what it takes to achieve it. 

It’s the actions leading to the result that create a different connection to running the 5K or losing the last 10 pounds. You can even find a joy in doing the actions because it is in the expectation of seeing the results that your heart and brain align.

In the 5K example, when you have that alignment, you will find time to fit in your training runs. Even if it means beginning with the walk, then the walk/run, then the short runs and so on. Moving along this line of progress will fill you with a sense of accomplishment. The fulfillment you have brings a sense of joy.

What all of this boils down to is how determined you are. Napoleon Hill said, “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Add to that what he called his formula for success consisting of: ‘a burning desire’, a ‘definite purpose’, an ‘organized plan’, and a ‘relentless spirit’, you have taken your habit to a level of success because it goes beyond the simple want and it becomes a reason for what you desire and you believe you can achieve it.

To succeed, you need the perseverance to keep on going and that comes from one additional ingredient in Napoleon Hill’s formula, ‘decide’. This means scheduling and planning out your runs and putting tools into place so you can succeed. This comes first with a decision that you will do what it takes to achieve what you desire. I believe it is in the deciding to realize a thing and believing it is possible that the real magic happens.

To become a mentally tough person you need to be willing to stay true to the result you desire. This entails not going off track and be willing to find a way to get things done, which is energized through deciding.

Decide, believe and you will see the result of what you desire. Encourage yourself and ask for help if and when you need it. You will find those who will help and if you don’t, dig deep within yourself to go the last 3 feet. You deserve the success!


Lynn Hawkins is a certified business acceleration coach, consultant and small business funding strategist, specializing in helping entrepreneurs with online marketing to grow business and revenue. As CEO/Founder of the P3 Academy of Social Entrepreneurship, she coaches her signature 5 Tiers of Accelerated Business Development, courses and programs her audience is asking for. Lynn teaches how to raise capital using crowdfunding and is host of the Crowdfunding Hacker Show, now the Positive Impact Makers Show. She is an author, speaker and an advocate for growing women entrepreneurs and their businesses and is often caught saying “when you earn more revenue, you can do more good in the world”. She believes in creating a living legacy through your work. Her “Goddesspreneur DIAMOND Mastermind” and “Women Empowering Women” live events help women express their vision, vibe, voice, and visibility to live victorious legacy lives, creating and growing legacy businesses.


Business, success strategy, business building, strategic planning, P3 Academy SE, content marketing, story, marketing, organization, organizational strategy,