Life is not a sprint, but a marathon. I’m sure you know this expression already. The only catch is probably that a marathon is much, much harder than a sprint. Honestly, if you have the choice between a 100m sprint and a marathon, what would you go for? Most of us would obviously choose the “easy” or quick run. Especially as nobody has said what time you need to achieve in a sprint. Under this premise we can run the 100m pretty quickly. Therefore we can achieve our goal much faster. THE goal. But is it  YOUR goal too? I’d like to say that we all define our own goals and work on them subsequently. If I WANT to run a marathon, then I will work towards that. I train. I prepare. And I won’t give up halfway through and say “ah well, a half marathon is still pretty good!” No, I want to run the whole marathon! In most cases, giving up has to do with a lack of willpower.  
“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

Anyone who has strong willpower…

…can last longer. Furthermore:
  • You can keep calm more easily in difficult situations and not rush, but you can act in a considerate and calm manner. As a result you will find a solution to your problems.
  • You will be able to relax more easily and not be so easily influenced or affected by stress.
Top athletes train their mental strength especially in order to be able to call on their abilities in the heat of the moment. Determination, fighting spirit, courage, endurance, perseverance and above all the passion and enthusiasm for the sport are very important keys to success. Stress, fear and insecurity, however, lead to failure. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” (Henry Ford)  

How to train your mental strength

  1. Define your goals. Without a clear goal, you can’t develop the motivation to achieve a specific task. If you don’t have a plan, then you cannot prepare yourself. Therefore everything begins with a goal. What do you want to achieve?
  2. Preparation. “Think big, start small” or so the saying goes. You have your goal in mind, now it’s time to start preparing. Step by step. Create some “If-then plans,” which have already been proven to be successful.
“You don't get what you want, you get what you work for.”
  1. Autosuggestion (Self-control). Negative thoughts and negative attitudes have a direct influence on your success. Anyone who is afraid of failure is bound to fail rather than someone who waits for success. This is a simple matter of attitude. The more positive you think, the more probable it is that you will achieve your goal. Get to know your strengths (and weaknesses), learn to assess yourself correctly and fulfill your potential!
“Your body is in better shape than your mind thinks it is.“
  1. Visualise. Think about your goal, and concentrate on positive emotions and imagine how it feels to achieve your goal. Have you ever seen an athlete just before a big match/race? They often go through the course mentally first.This helps later implementation when it really counts. Indeed, the mere thought of a movement or an activity activates the same brain areas as the movement or activity themselves.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.“ (Henry Ford)
  1. Deal with your fears. Are you afraid to fail? Do you not trust yourself to complete the task? What could go wrong? Negative thoughts and fear have a negative effect on your attitude and reduce the likelihood that you will achieve your goals. Deal with these fears. Solve your problems and convert your thoughts into positive ones.
“Don’t let your mind bully your body.“ – Joe Tomaso Wood
  1. Calm down. Shortly before the challenge it helps to completely switch off and go into yourself. Professional swimmers for example often listen to music, others pray. This (inner) peace helps your concentration.

Bonus Tips

  1. Leave your job stress at work. One obstacle on the way to achieving your goal is often stress at work. Sure, the whole concept of a job means it will be stressful, but if you want to pursue your goals outside of work then stress has a negative influence on your performance. Don’t think about it when you leave the office. Develop thought rituals to leave your worries behind you (e.g. “As soon as I leave the office I am free for the evening and I will not think about work”). Even doing some sport directly after work can help to relieve stress. This is how to motivate yourself.
  1. Pursue a goal together. Whether that be with a mental coach, a training partner, family, friends or partner. With someone who believes in you by your side, it is much easier. ;-)

Conclusion on mental strength

Integrate these exercises into your everyday life. A Chinese proverb says “Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” In this sense: Good luck!