To clarify, self-efficacy is a belief in your capability to organize and execute actions that will lead to a specific outcome. Makes sense right? If you believe that you are able to do something, and you organize the proper actions that will lead to the outcome desired, you will be successful. For some context, you know eating Burger King daily is bad for you, and you also know that if you were to make yourself a salad with chicken and veggies in the morning before work, and didn’t go to Burger King on your lunch break, your overall health would benefit. However, if you believe and convince yourself that you are completely incapable of making a salad in the morning for lack of time, lack of skill, lack of anything that can be an excuse for you not to do it, it will not happen. Mental toughness begins with self-efficacy, holding yourself accountable, and believing in yourself that you are capable of achieving a goal – as long as you take the right steps to get there.
Now, if you’re reading this, you are clearly looking to make a difference in your own life by changing your mindset and the way you think about working out and dieting, which is awesome! Some of you might already have a personal trainer who gives you workouts, weekly motivational speeches and tells you to do your 20 minutes of cardio, but they are doing the mindset work for you. They hold you accountable and make sure you know what you’re supposed to be doing, but if we don’t push ourselves that extra rep after they told us to stop, or the extra couple of minutes on the bike after we’ve reached our goal time, will we ever mentally improve? Maybe, but not to full capacity. To be mentally tough is to push yourself past your comfort zone, without fear of failing, because we know that if we fail then we only have to try harder the next time to get where we want to be. The driving force behind this mindset needs to be meaning. Find meaning. Meaning manifests in our life due to desire, because we deeply care about something. Meaning translates directly into effort and priority. Maybe you invest time into working out because you want to avoid surgery, prevent diabetes, get stronger, or live to see your grandchildren grow up. Whatever it is that you truly care about, use that meaning to light a fire, hold yourself accountable, and push yourself past where you’ve been before because you sure don’t want to retreat back to where you came from.