5 Tips to Get Mentally Strong Like a Navy SEAL

What does being mentally strong mean?

It means taking obstacles and making them opportunities. To get focused on what you can do in the middle of a big problem.

It means not letting that problem kick you down and keep you there.

It means letting yourself acknowledge things suck, but moving forward anyway.

Check out what Cain Velasquez said after reclaiming his MMA heavyweight belt.

“It got easier a bit as the fight went on because the pace of the fight tired him out,” Velasquez said. “It was the pace [that took its toll on dos Santos]. That wrestling pace, carrying someone’s body around for that long, it’s tough, man. I’ve been doing this my whole life, and it’s a thing you have to do for so long. Mentally, it gets you so strong.”

It means thinking like a champion instead of a loser when things get hard. Even @#%&-ing hard.

So how do you get mentally tough? Check out these tips.

Check out these tips on how to grow your mind and body.

Tip #1: Put Your Self in Situations Where You Are Stressed More and More

Get out of your comfort zone.

Get yourself to the gym and push yourself.

Sign up for an event you’re not ready for and then train for it. When is your next 5k run?  Have you ever done a Spartan Race? Find something to push yourself.

But when you do, make sure you train in a way that’s going to propel you forward, even if you hit setbacks.

If you hit a setback, acknowledge it, acknowledge you’re frustrated or pissed off—but then get yourself focused on how to create a solution to the obstacle.

Tip #2: Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities at All Times

Recognizing weaknesses is not the same thing as doubting yourself. Finding where you’re weak means you have an opportunity to grow. To push yourself and get better. Rise above your current position.

Just because things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed outright. As in you’re permanently stuck where you are.

When things go wrong, adapt. Figure out a solution. Maybe you need to train more. Maybe you need to break down your big goals to smaller ones.

Know that the bad times (or situations) are temporary and the tide will turn for the better in the near future.

Also, don’t listen to what other people think about you or your abilities. Their negativity has nothing to do with what you believe you can do.

When someone is telling you, “That’s impossible” or “You’ll never get there” what they’re doing is saying “It’s impossible for me and I’ll never get there.”

Don’t make their negative thinking about themselves become yours.

Tip #3 Never Quit

If you quit you will never get through the bad to get to the good. Your best self is waiting for you right around the corner–but you must not quit.

Maybe the goal you aim for doesn’t get realized, but that doesn’t mean you failed.

Sometimes goals we shoot for aren’t right, and that “failure” is meant to turn us towards what is a better fit. That’s still success, even if you have several “failures” in a row.

Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Why do you think that might be?

Think about it.

You train your a** off for Goal A, you try your hardest but don’t reach it. Yeah, it’s disappointing. But now you have a foundation to either train better for it and try again, or switch to Goal B.

That means all that work wasn’t a waste.

You may be starting over, but you’re starting over with experience, knowledge and lots of training under your belt. That means you’re starting fresh. Not over—as in all the way back to the beginning and losing all that training. You have a  foundation—one you didn’t have before.

That foundation makes you stronger and lifts you higher, making your next goal easier to reach.

So decide on a big, hairy goal and bust your a** training for it. Not trying just because you might not reach it is the only absolute way you’ll fail out.

Tip # 4: Get With People Who Are More Skilled Than You

This will make you play the game at a higher level. It’ll be harder—but that’s what I mean by getting into situations where you’re more stressed.

If you’re around people who have the skills you want, you’ll be creating the chance to learn. You’ll find your weaknesses. And when you find your weaknesses, you can train them.

Lots of people take finding their weaknesses as failures they can’t do anything about.

You can choose to think about them that way, sure.

But then you’re not seeing that everyone who is more skilled than you decided to look at their weaknesses as opportunities to grow.

Are you looking to push yourself to your next big goal? Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to set daily habits to help you grow 1% a week.

Tip #5: If You’re Constantly Struggling, Take a Look at Your Mindset

Struggle is sometimes normal—it just means you’re in a challenging situation.

But constant struggle can mean you’re not working towards your goals in the best way possible. But there’s a big difference between being constantly challenged and constantly struggling.

Constant challenge = you’re focused on keeping yourself moving forward by putting yourself in situations where you can grow. This creates momentum forward, even when things feel really challenging.

Constant struggle = you’re focused only on problems and how hard things are and how miserable things are. This creates stagnation and misery.

It comes down to mindset. That’s why they say BUD/S (or any goal you want) is 80% mental and 20% physical. Even 90%/10%.

If you’re mentally weak, you’re looking at it the wrong way around. Meaning you’re only giving your goal 20% of your mental focus. You’re making it 80% harder.

Bonus Tip: If You’re Still Constantly Struggling, Check to See if Your Goal is SMART

This is connected to Tip #1.

Are you training in a SMART way? SMART means Small, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

  • Are you training in way where you create micro goals to allow growth and momentum?
  • Are you creating micro goals so you can feel and measure your momentum?
  • Have you created a goal or goals that are actually achievable/reachable?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Have you given yourself a healthy deadline?

Here’s an example. I frequently get emails from guys who want to go to BUD/S and they say things like, “I haven’t done much working out and want to go to BUD/S in a few months. Can I be ready by then?”

The answer is no. That’s not a SMART goal. Even someone who’s been heavily into athletics all their life probably wouldn’t be ready in a couple of months.

You’re setting yourself up for disappointment and making it real easy for you to quit.

A big part of mental strength comes from being patient and creating a SMART path towards your goal.

The more time you allow, the easier it will be to reach the goal. Partly because you’ll have more time to work around obstacles that come up.


bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness. After passing Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp at BUD/S, he failed a math test and was kicked out of training. A year later, he returned, graduated, and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams.

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.

Proceeds from this website help raise funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation.



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