Mental Toughness – Tools and Exercises

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Mental Toughness is about how effectively individuals prepare for, deal with and recover from stress, pressure and challenge. It describes the mindset that every person adopts in everything they do and is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience and grit.

Positive Thinking Planner

At the end of the week:

Write a list of:

  • 3 positive things that happened to you that week
  • 3 things you achieved that week
  • 3 things you are grateful for
  • 3 people you will reach out to the following week to create social connections
  • 1 thing that you will do to make your life easier and less stressful the following week

Do something nice for yourself

Make a list of 10 things you could do for yourself. It does not have to be anything big, but something that brings you positive feelings.

Complete at least 2 a week!

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What will I do next?

Think of everything you need to achieve by tomorrow or the day after. Write down each of these goals on separate post-it notes and put them up somewhere you can see them easily.

It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can be simple but most importantly, it needs to be achievable.


At the end of each day, have a look at your post-it wall and replace any that is completed by a new note describing how you feel!

Turning Automatic Negative Thoughts into Positive Enabling Thoughts

On a piece of paper, write down an activity you may be at risk of not doing.

Split your paper in 4 quadrants.

  • In the top left quadrant, write down all the justifications and excuses you may be thinking about before doing the task (those automatic negative thoughts).
  • In the top right quadrant, reflect on the consequences of those negative thoughts – for you, for others, for your state of mind and feelings…


Now let’s look at changing those negative thoughts:

  • In the bottom left quadrant, write down anything you need to tell yourself to get into action, to turn the negative thoughts around.
  • In the bottom right quadrant, list the benefits for achieving this task – for you, for others, for your state of mind and feelings…


On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you feel about hitting the goal now?

5 x 30 Exercise

bullet journal habits

The goal of this exercise is to create a 30-minute habit for 5 times a week.


Write down the habit you wish to take – it might be running, cycling, reading, cleaning at home, anything really…

For the first week, make it to 5 minutes a day for 5 times and keep a log in a journal or on your phone.

For the second week, increase this by another 5 minutes. And keep going every week until you reach your 30-minute goal for 5 days a week!


Maybe even reward yourself once you go there!

Confidence Booster Exercise

Write down 10 things that you will take up that might take you just outside your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be anything really big, just stretching you a bit.


Every day, complete one item on the list. And at the end of the day, write down: “Today I was confident and I did …………. and tomorrow, I will be confident and I will achieve ……………!”

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4-2-1 technique – Chunking Goals

person splitting goals into chunks and bullets

Take a goal or activity you want to achieve and write it down on a piece of paper. That’s your big goal!


Now, define when you wish to reach your goal and describe in details what needs to be achieved and what might get in the way of achieving it by the end. That’s 100% of the goal!

Next, describe the same – what needs to be achieved and what might get in the way of achieving it – but this time by 50% of the period – when would that be?

Finally, do that one more time – what needs to be achieved and what might get in the way of achieving it – but this time by 50% of the period – again, when would that be?

Off you go! You have now set yourself up for success!

More tools

Random Acts of Kindness, Visualisation exercises, Breathing and Meditation, Reflecting on your heroes and heroins in life, Reframing perspective by thinking what advice a friend would give you …

There are many more tools to develop Mental Toughness!