In Insanity: The Asylum, Shaun says something that hit me the other day.  He says that your body will tell you that you are tired, but you have to control your mind to tell your body that you indeed can push harder.  It got me thinking about that "little voice in your head" that so often takes control. Have you said this to yourself recently?


"I'll hit the snooze button one more time."

"I'm kind of hungry, I'm going to just buy something really quick at the gas station while filling up my car."

"There's only 5 seconds left, I'm going to sit out those last couple reps, I'm basically done."

"I should get a side salad, but I'll just get fries this one time."

"I can't do any more power jumps!"

"I'm just going to stop at 8 reps, I'm a little tired today."

"I wonder what's in the cabinets...Oh look!"

"Yes, we'll have more bread at our table."

Sound familiar?

If you want progress, you have to commit to controlling that voice.  By listening to the voice, you are cheating yourself out of reps, you are snacking when you don't need to, and you aren't going as hard as you need to to get to the next level.  The money is in the tough decisions we make on the spot - in those last few reps and in those smart eating moments.  Follow these steps to stay on track and KILL the voice!

1) Identify
Know the difference between hunger and boredom.  Know the difference between true exhaustion and comfortable tiredness. If the voice pops in your head, you must realize it's there first.

2) Confront
When you identify the voice, there is one word you say in your head or out loud, "NO."  Physicalizing that word in your vocal cords is showing the voice that it has no control over you and that indeed you are in control.

3) React
If it's a matter of food intake, react - don't go into the food mart, don't open the cabinet, order the salad, or say no to the second round of bread for your table.

If you're in the middle of the workout, race, or competition, you defy that voice by going even harder.  If you are completely tired, set a goal - a number - in your head and complete that number.  Say, "I'm going to do 8 power jumps right now," or "I'm not going to stop at 8, I can get 10 curls, I'm feeling great today," or "5 more seconds, don't you dare stop until time is up!"

You want to know what mental toughness is? It's identifying, confronting, reacting, and DEFYING the voice in your head.  Nobody but you can do it.