Grit, science says, is more important than innate ability when it comes to achieving success. Maybe that’s why a post I wrote back in October listing psychotherapist Amy Morin’s habits to break if you want to be exceptionally mentally tough seemed to strike a chord with so many readers. A follow-up piece with advice from Morin on how to tell if you have above average levels of grit was equally popular.
Mental toughness, it seems, is something nearly everyone would like to have — and which many of us think we could benefit from working on. So if you’ve tested your own level of resilience to see where you stand, and kicked the bad habits that Morin called out in her first piece, what’s the next step to pumping up your mental toughness? According to the latest bit of advice from Morin, it’s adding good habits to your routine.
What behaviors should you engage in every day for greater grit? Morin listed nine when she spoke with Business Insider on the topic. Check out the complete post for the deep dive, or read on for a handful of her suggested habits to get you started.
1. Monitor your emotions
Contrary to popular belief, mental toughness isn’t about suppressing your emotions, it’s about monitoring them, Morin asserts. The truly mentally tough “monitor their emotions throughout the day and recognize how their feelings influence their thoughts and behaviors. They know sometimes reaching their greatest potential requires them to behave contrary to how they feel,” she says.
2. Practice self-compassion
Nor is mental toughness about being your own harshest critic and strictest taskmaster. Instead, those with exceptional resilience speak to themselves with kindness and compassion, not hectoring and insults. “They respond to their inner critic as if they were standing up to the schoolyard bully. They forgive themselves for mistakes and cheer themselves on as they work toward their goals,” Morin tells BI.
3. Be realistically optimistic
When it comes to the right outlook for optimum resilience, it’s all about balance. Pie-in-the-sky optimism will only lead to disappointment, but knee-jerk negativity will ensure you never even try to reach your full potential. To maintain just the right amount of optimism the mentally tough “strive to re-frame their negativity,” replacing “exaggeratedly negative thoughts with a more realistic inner monologue.”
4. Set healthy boundaries
You can’t be mentally tough if you don’t take responsibility for your own situation. That means being firm about what is and is not acceptable to you instead of letting others influence your behavior and mood in ways that you don’t agree with. The mentally tough, in other words, “refuse to let other people dictate whether they’re going to have a good day or a bad day.”
5 Accept responsibility
You can’t get better if you don’t admit your weaknesses and you can you learn from mistakes if you refuse to accept responsibility for them. “Rather than make excuses for their mistakes or failures, [the mentally tough] seek explanations that will help them perform better moving forward,” Morin asserts.