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Feb 28

Mental Toughness Part 1: Excellence is a habit

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Most of the focus during the lead up to the Endeavor Team Challenge is on getting physically fit and acquiring or fine-tuning the necessary skills that will be tested during the event. Most training regimens, however, are lacking in one area – preparing mentally for such a long and demanding event.

Mental toughness is an individual’s resilience against, and ability to cope with, difficult situations. It is often incorrectly treated as an innate trait – either you have it or you don’t. Fortunately, that is incorrect and developing mental toughness isn’t only possible, it’s of paramount importance for obtaining higher performances in stressful events. As competing without training physically would be ill-advised, the same approach should be taken with mental toughness.

To build a mentality that will power through the toughest tests the Endeavor Team Challenge has to offer, it must be repeatedly worked on so that it becomes as much of a habit as any other skill being trained. A way to do this is through regular exposure to uncomfortable or difficult situations that require sustained mental energy to power through. This could be as simple as taking cold showers or as demanding as doing one more set, lap, or circuit when fatigue has taken over. Some competitors are mixing in pre-dawn workouts, frigid water plunges, and fasting to simulate conditions that will be faced during the Endeavor Team Challenge. Whatever strategy is used, practice pushing mentally so that your mind is accustomed to continuing on during uncomfortable situations. That way, when those situations inevitably arrive during those 30 hours and the body wants to quit, continuing won’t be up for question – it will be a habit ingrained into the mind. Continuing will be the only option.

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