Anyone who has made a commitment to their fitness will tell you that it hasn’t only changed their physical body but it’s manifested in more mental toughness too. That mental toughness is known as grit.
Here, we’re exploring how fitness helps build mental grit. It’s the hidden benefit of an active lifestyle that bleeds into every aspect of your life and building grit is only for the better.
What is grit?
Grit is the mental toughness that allows you to continue doing something even when you don’t want to do it. It’s that tenacity to power on, especially in the face of setbacks, adversity, and struggles.
It’s so important to develop grit because, let’s face it, anything in life worth having is difficult to obtain. Grit is the only way to get there.
The combination of discipline and resilience found in grit is the key to success. Not only in fitness and health, but also in our relationships, careers, parenting, and self-development.
Grit, as explored by Ph.D. Angela Duckworth, MacArthur Fellow and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance found through her research that in every group she studied, from the military to salespeople to high school students, grittiness mattered most. Intelligence, luck, talent - none of it predicted success as consistently as grittiness.
So, how can we develop grit through fitness?
Fitness makes you stronger both physically and mentally.
Let’s say you’re out on a run and you approach a steep hill that you weren’t expecting. Almost immediately, you’ll probably notice your mind telling you to turn back and forget it. There’s no way we’re getting to the top today.
Someone with grit can push through, despite those little voices, and more often than not, our bodies can handle a lot more than we think they can. That small decision is a lesson in grit. Your brain remembers those moments when you quieted the negative voices.
Or perhaps you’re making a comeback from a month-long workout rut. At first, you were super motivated to turn on your kickboxing app and start sweating it out. But soon, that motivation died out and you find it ten times harder to kick things into gear.
That’s why each and every time you put on your sneakers and get to the gym, you’re building mental grit. Your fitness routine is making you not only physically strong but mentally tough. Soon enough, you’ll start to see this mental toughness help you in every aspect of your life.
You’ll be able to push through that difficult conversation with your spouse. You’ll be able to handle stress better at work. You’ll be more patient with your kids while they’re screaming in the grocery store.
Fitness is all about overcoming adversity. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to clear your mind, quiet the voices in your head, and power on. Each and every step you take on your fitness journey is a step toward grit.
So, the next time you’re avoiding a workout and you’ve skipped a kickboxing session one too many days in a row, consider all the grittiness you’re giving up. Instead, embrace the challenge and face it head-on. You’ll thank yourself later.