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First things first: Soulcon will continue for the next two weeks, as will my training for the Spartan race. This challenge is not meant as a replacement, but rather a supplement in some cases and a renovation in others. This post is inspired by this quote: "You want to improve your mental toughness? Try this: Be tougher." The construction of the challenge is based on a post by SealGrinder PT titled "10 Tips to Increase Mental Toughness." So, without further explanation, let's do this! 1. Focus on the Present Be mindful of where you are and what you're doing right now. Focus on taking the next step and the next step and the next step. Make small present decisions that take you closer to your bigger goal. Don't stress about the future or moan about the past; be here now and do what you can right now (even if that doesn't seem like much). If you find yourself "lost" in the chaos, pause, take a deep breath, and focus your mind on the present. 2. Have a Short Memory Don't dwell on past mistakes; learn from them and move on. Forgive yourself and forgive others equally. Don't hold on to past hurts either inflicted upon or inflicted by you; learn from them and move on. 3. Stay Positive Take control of a tough situation by driving out negative thoughts reinforcing the positive. Laugh out loud even when you don't feel like it; as a bonus, make someone else laugh and join them. Watch a positive motivational video/movie. Listen to uplifting music, something that reminds you to stay focused and not quit. Read articles/stories about people overcoming negative situations by staying positive. 4. Become a Ritual-aholic Be faithful to your morning routine: 4:45 am wakeup (or earlier) Prayer/Bible reading/quiet time with God -- There is no compromise with this; it is THE most important thing on this list. Take Minnie outside Pushups or burpees (at least 30) Cold shower Brush teeth Get dressed Make bed Drink a tall glass of water Evening Routine (to be modified later) Write down at least 3 things from the day for which you are grateful. No cell phone/iPad/Macbook after 9:30 pm. Read every night. Brush teeth In bed by 10:30 pm with almost no exceptions (work, time with family, etc.) 5. Enjoy the Battle Find joy in the struggle. Like this: If you have to, tell yourself you are enjoying the struggle and force yourself to smile or laugh even as you sweat and grunt and push through your challenges. Listen to music that gets you fired up and helps push you along (see "Stay Positive" suggestions). 6. Visualize your Future Self Similar to Steve Kamb's Level 50 idea, imagine the self you want to be after this challenge. Create a full mental picture as detailed as possible, a full "character study" (physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral). Role play as your future self while completing your challenges, even if you aren't yet able to achieve all that you want your future self to achieve. 7. Hang Around Winners Spend time with people (irl more than online) who are either at or above the level you want to be; this includes both physical ability and spiritual walk Have mentors: men who are more mature and experienced with life's challenges; utilize these men as often as possible by asking questions and spending time with them to watch and learn how they navigate the trials of life. 8. Repeat Affirmations Memorize Bible verses that serve as promises and affirmations from God. Repeat positive affirmations in your mind or out loud that help you focus your heart or mind. Abba, I belong to you. I am a warrior, not a quitter. I am stronger than I know. I am the one Jesus loves. I am an adopted son of God, brother of Jesus, husband and father, teacher, friend, and mentor. I will do this. What we do in life echoes in eternity. When trouble smiles, I smile back. Read and memorize quotes by men who have come before you and overcome challenges and adversity 9. Read Good Books Read at least 10 pages total every day. Choose books that contain and/or teach examples of mental toughness, either fictional or real. Examples: Extreme Ownership -- Jocko Willink Fearless -- Eric Blehm The Way of the Seal and/or Unbeatable Mind -- Mark Divine Spartan Up! -- Joe De Sena Matterhorn -- Karl Marlantes Unbroken -- Laura Hillenbrand Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- Richard Carlson A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini 10. Calm Yourself Meditate daily using the Insight Timer app. Practice breathing techniques (WHM, box breathing, etc.) Incorporate yoga and stretching into your day. Do at least one thing every day that brings you joy: sprint across the field, take a barefoot walk, go for a swim, hike deep into the woods and soak it up, sit in silence and do nothing.