Mental Toughness Techniques

Published on 1/25/2024 by Jingxiang Mo

Since last year, I’ve spent a lot of time pushing myself outside of my comfort zone by skydiving from a plane, running a marathon, and solo backpacking around the world. David Goggins [1] has been a role model for me, and here are some of the main techniques I’ve learned from his books and podcasts to help me overcome hard things.

1. Eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Some goals seem impossible, but you can break them down into manageable chunks. For example, you can break down a 42.2km marathon into four 10km segments and focus on completing each. This technique could also be applied to big projects or difficult programming/math problems.

2. Mental visualization. Before a big presentation, competition, or event, I visualize the potential problems I will face and myself succeeding. This will boost my confidence and help me perform at my best.

3. Positive self-talk. In a difficult situation, it’s easy to feel like giving up. But you can overcome these negative emotions by instilling positive self-talk. Some phrases I repeat to myself are “I can do this” or “I will dominate this.” Changing my self-talk usually pushes me to go further and not give up.

4. Emotional control When there’s a crisis, take 5 deep breaths. Things you think are hard or impossible are usually not as scary as we make it out to be.

5. Mental Cookie Jar The cookie jar are things that you went through your life that you overcame, positive and negative. When you’re feeling like giving up, remembering tough things you’ve done in the past will help you take back control of your mind and keep pushing forward.


[1] David Goggins wrote two amazing and motivating books. You can find his books here: https://davidgoggins.com/book/

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