Building Mental Toughness

May 19, 2021

Ready to build a new habit? Here are the five stages of the mindset cycle that you will go through when you try to cultivate a new skill, add a new habit, or change some behavior in your life!

Sterling shares what people experience when we begin to manage their thoughts and the different phases we move through as we grow.


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Welcome to the Made For Greatness podcast. I’m Sterling Jay, and today on episode 29, I’m going to be talking about building mental toughness. Now I almost didn’t name this episode, building mental toughness because it conjured for me, this idea of people who run obstacle courses or train for marathons. Like I was thinking of the tough Mudder race or the Spartan race. And I thought, Oh, I wonder if they’re not going to love the phrase mental toughness, but I decided that that is exactly what it is. We are getting gritty and we are building mental toughness and it can feel uncomfortable, but man, when you build it, it feels amazing. You feel unstoppable, you feel so powerful. And I just wanted Catholic moms to know that that’s available to them. No matter your personality, no matter what you do in your day to day life, you can build mental toughness and then have this unshakable confidence like, Hey, you can’t touch me.

I manage my mind around this and it may just be around one topic. But today I’m going to share with you the mindset cycle, the five phases of the mindset cycle and help you understand where you’re at in those phases, which phase you’re in. And then I’m going to tell you about the new challenge that we are running called 60 days strong. And the 60 days strong challenge is designed to teach you how to build mental toughness. Okay. So I’m gonna tell you about the mindset cycle and mental toughness. And then I’m gonna tell you about this really fun challenge that we’re going to do to help you build mental toughness. Okay. So first of all, the mindset cycle, there are five phases in the mindset cycle. And it took me a little time to realize what these phases were because when I learned the model, which is the tool that we teach you in masters, and I learned how to even just hear my thoughts.

And then I learned how to shift my thoughts. And as I began to shift my thoughts, my behavior was different. And then my results were different, right? Because our thoughts create our results. So if there’s something you don’t have in your life that you wish you had, we’re going to work on changing your thoughts about that. And you know, at first I thought that was weird and maybe it didn’t work. And then I had some hope that it would work and I tried it and I experienced some success with it. And then I experienced more and more success. And then there were times when I couldn’t do the work is how I would say it. Or I would do the work frantically trying to change something in my life. And it felt like it wasn’t working like, Oh, I did a thought download. I looked at my unintentional model, which is what we think without paying attention to it.

It’s just the thoughts that come up and I would try to create an intentional model. What do I want to be thinking instead? But I would just feel stuck. And so I noticed that this would happen in a cycle. I would get excited about something. I would try it on, I would shift a little bit, but then I would see some progress. And then I would feel like I was slipping back. I also noticed that some things were really easy to shift and something seemed harder to shift. And I was very curious about why. And over the months I realized it was because there were these phases of the mindset cycle phases that our mind goes through when we’re asking it to do something new, something different. And so I want to share those with you. And I want to share them with the understanding that everyone will experience these phases a little bit differently.

You might go straight through one, two, three, four, and five. You might go phase one, two and three, and then back to two for a little bit. And that’s why I like calling it a cycle because I think we can move in and out of these phases. But I especially wanted to share these phases with you so that you knew that if you have progress managing your mind and then you get stuck, that that’s totally part of the process and that doesn’t always happen. I’ve shifted some things, no problem. And then I’ve shifted other things where I thought I had it. And then it was like, Oh, those old thoughts kept coming back. And so I don’t want you to feel frustrated when that happens. I want you to go, Oh, I’m just in that face. And I want you to know exactly how to get from one phase to the next.

Okay. So the model, what we teach in master’s is this idea that your thoughts create your feelings, which drive your actions, which give you your results. Okay? And when you learn this, here are the phases that you’re going to have. The very first phase is hope. You’re going to hear something that I say. Larissa says an email from us. Something from someone totally different. And phase one is having hope that there is a way to solve your problem, that there is a way to get the result that you want. You may think I want to lose some weight. I want to have more stable finances. I want to have more harmony in my marriage. I want to be a mom who doesn’t yell as much. I want to be a person who isn’t filled with so much anxiety and these things. They feel like they weigh us down.

But when we hear something there’s like a small crack in our brain that has hope where we think, okay, maybe what she says is true. Maybe this can help me. I do want this to be different. So I always say that signing up for masters is the first coaching lesson. And I said that before I had done these phases, but now I see that the reason that’s true and I knew it was true, but I have more words to articulate. It is because in order for you to sign up for masters or try anything, or even go to YouTube and put in mindset, coaching or cognitive behavioral therapy, any of it means you have to have hope. There’s a part of you that beliefs, maybe this can help me. And you just have to have a little bit of hope. You can still be suspicious.

You can still think. I’m not sure if this will work for me. I don’t know. But you have to have just enough hope to try whatever you need to think. I’m willing to try. So phase one of the mindset cycle is hope. And then once you’ve already learned these tools, phase one will look like you being willing to try the tools in a new area of your life. So maybe you come in and you want to work on, you know, being a mom that doesn’t yell as much and you have some success with that. And then you think, Oh, I wonder if this could help me with my relationship with my sister-in-law because that’s kind of strained. And so you’re in phase one. When you use the tools you already know to tackle a new area of your life, phase one is hope. And the thoughts you’re going to have are something like I’m willing to try.

Maybe this can help me. And I want to be happier in my life. You have to want the change. That’s part of the whole face pain. And then your actions are going to be to start managing your mind. To me, that means, you know, joining masters or learning the model and beginning to do thought downloads and models. There’s many ways that you can learn how to manage your mind. So in the hope phase, it ends with you doing something, learning something, practicing something. Okay. Phase two is awareness. Okay. So now you’ve had hope, right? It’s like, you’ve sharpened your pencils and you’re sitting at the desk and you’re like, okay, I’m ready to try. Phase two is awareness. Phase two is where you begin using the tools. So in phase two, you’ve got a lot of unmanaged thoughts, but now you know, that they’re thoughts. So instead of telling yourself that they’re just truths, you’re like, Oh, I have a lot of thoughts going on in there. I’m reading the ticker tape of my mind and I’m willing to slow down and examine them. Okay. This is the phase where you begin to think about your thinking and you start to ask, is this thought true?

And you might ask, is this thought serving me? And you’re just noticing when I have this thought, it leads me to do this behavior. I’ll use a food one, cause this is, you know, common. And we do a lot of coaching on this. So it’s in the evening and you’ve just put some amount of kids to sleep. It’s been a long day. You’re feeling tired and stressed and you have this thought, it would feel so good to eat a bowl of ice cream right now. Sometimes the thought is, Oh, I just want to check out the thought might be, Oh, I’m so done with today. And then you’re going to have a feeling maybe of resignation, maybe of numbness, some feeling that drives the action of going to get the ice cream. And maybe you’re in the process of losing weight. And so you have this thought, Oh, I don’t even care. It doesn’t matter. And then you feel resigned, maybe embarrassed. You’re gonna have a feeling and it’s going to drive the action of I’m going to get the ice cream. Anyway. Then you eat the ice cream and you beat yourself up. Maybe you’re short with your husband. Maybe you go to sleep kind of hating yourself. And maybe you wake up in the morning and you feel kind of hopeless

And your result will be a reflection of your thought. And so if your thought was, Oh, it just doesn’t matter. Anyway, you’re going to act in a way that shows you that you don’t matter, that you don’t matter to yourself, that you’ve stopped paying attention to what you wanted because in the, in the phase where you had hope, you said, I want this to be different,

But in this phase of awareness, we just notice, Oh, I’m having this thought and it’s driving my behavior to eat the ice cream. And it’s like, I’m creating the result in my life of not caring about myself that I don’t matter. So phase two is just about awareness. And that may feel when you guys hear me talking, maybe be like, Oh, that sounds terrible. Or I do that. It feels yucky to hear it said out loud, but it actually feels pretty good in the awareness because we see it. We’re like, Oh, that is why I have been unhappy. That is why I have been stuck. That is why I think I’m working so hard. But I see now that I’m having these thoughts and these thoughts are creating these results in my life that I don’t want.

So again, phase two is where you just begin to think about your thinking. We’re not even trying to fix anything yet. You’re just going, Oh, that’s in there. We like to say, it’s like going into your messy spare room or closet or basement and turning the light on. And you’re like, Whoa, there is a lot of mess in there, but we’re just going to notice it. It’s fine. These two is awareness. Okay. And then phase three is love. Because even once you have awareness, sometimes we stay in judgment. Why are you doing this? Why are you thinking this? You can’t even do this. Right? Right. We just like judge our thoughts or we try to talk ourselves out of them. You shouldn’t be thinking that, you know, that’s not even true. We get very logical about it. But when we move on to phase three, where we have love phase three is where you are ready to learn how to have self compassion, because it is pretty difficult to reach our goals without self-compassion. You totally can. Right? You can yell at yourself and tough love yourself to success. I used to be very good at that. And it would work for a little while. And it’s why on paper, my life looked pretty good. But behind the scenes, I was filled with a lot of self-loathing and depression and nobody likes me and all of my successes and really real. And it doesn’t count. Right. I shared that story with you.

So phase three is where we slow down and we have self-compassion of course I’m thinking that that’s exactly what the world has taught me to think. Of course I am eating. Instead of feeling my feelings, no one taught me how to feel my feelings and the ice cream feels a lot better than feeling like a failure or feeling hopeless and trapped in my own life. This is where we also begin to think that you are worth the time to work on this because in the hope phase, you had enough hope to sign up for something or to learn something. And this is true of any program that we do. But then sometimes we don’t think we’re worth the time to actually do it.

So we had enough hope to say yes, but then we tuck it away in our email and we don’t do it. And it’s deep down because we have this idea that we are not worth the time, or we do not trust ourselves. When you spend 30 years breaking trust with yourself, it’s hard to try again. Or we have this thought that it’s hard to try again, or it feels scary. I want to offer to you guys. Change can happen in an instant. You can just decide, Oh, I’m a person who trusts myself now. And so that’s, what’s happening in phase three, phase three, where we begin to have self-compassion. We begin to see that we are worthy of this work. It is worth the time and the energy to do this work

And that we rebuild trust with ourselves in this phase. And we learn how to love ourselves. A lot of us really dislike ourselves and it’s lurking under the surface. We’re not even really conscious of it. But when I begin to slow down your mind and show you awareness in phase two, you’re going to see probably a really mean you are to yourself.

There’s not a lot of self-love there.

And I don’t mean self-love in the, I think I’m better than anyone else, ego kind of way or prideful, miss kind of way. I mean, just believing that you are a daughter of the King,

He loves you so much. He died so that you may have life and you may live it abundantly. You are not a mistake. You’re not a poor copy of what he wanted for you. And this phase of love is just helping you to live in alignment with how God sees you. And from this place is where we have. You make your goals, whatever it is that you want to do, we have you write a letter from future. You who’s already accomplished this and then you make a plan, but you do it from a place of worthiness and trust and love.

This is phase three.

After phase three, we move on to phase four, which is the redirect phase. So now you’ve had hope. You have awareness of your thoughts and you love yourself, or you’re working on loving yourself. Right? You can see that that’s important. Then we’re going to talk about changing your thoughts, redirecting your thoughts. Cause all the negative thoughts are still going to pop up, but we’re going to just begin addressing them and choosing different thoughts, practicing different thoughts. So in the redirect phase, we begin to notice the thoughts that aren’t serving us. Some of the thoughts we have service very well, but you’re going to notice that some of the thoughts like thinking, Oh, it doesn’t matter if I eat this ice cream or I’m just going to give up. It doesn’t matter anyway. And you notice that that thought is making you feel yucky and driving your behavior of eating the ice cream. And then you are not mattering to yourself and you see that model and you’re like, huh? I don’t think that’s serving me. That’s certainly not getting me to the result that I want of losing weight and having a healthy body and being a woman who controls what sheets.

So some of the thoughts that you’re going to have are, Oh, we brain. We don’t think like that anymore. We think like this instead, because your mind is going to be like, you’re exhausted. You deserve the ice cream. And then by the way, your result from that thought is going to be, you deserve the weight on your body. That may feel yucky to some of you, but that is what’s happening, right? You’re creating a world and you’re eating in such a way and acting in such a way that it’s going to show on your body.

So instead your brain is going to offer you this thought we’re exhausted. You should eat the ice cream. It doesn’t matter. Anyway. And then you’re going to pause and you’re going to go, Oh, brain. I see why you’re saying that you were just trying to protect me. You were just trying to keep me from the discomfort of feeling like a failure or feeling sad or feeling hopeless, whatever feeling was driving, you, wanting to eat instead of feeling your feelings. And it happens the most in the evening, but it can happen anytime. And it happens with my husband a lot. We were just driving in the car yesterday and I forget what he was upset about, but I, my brain offered up to me. See, he doesn’t care about you. And I was able to just respond to that in my brain and be like, listen, brain, I’m tired. He’s tired. That man cares about me so much. He loves me so much and we are learning how to communicate better with each other. And we are learning how to have a happy marriage. So when the redirect phase, we haven’t fixed everything, but we notice that don’t serve us and we redirect our brain.

And so in the weight loss example, you would redirect your brain and you would say, yes, I know it has been a long day. You really did show up. Well, today This ice cream is not going to make us feel better. Remember that goal? We have, remember what we wrote in that letter, from our future self. We want that instead.

And so the action items in this phase will be more thought downloads using the model, practicing new thoughts and getting different results. So you’re going to try on new thoughts, like jackets. You’re going to think, okay, I’m becoming a woman who doesn’t struggle with food and you’ll get to that first evening and you’ll want the ice cream and you try it on like a jacket. I am becoming a woman who does not struggle with food and it may fall totally flat. Your ma your brain may be like, I don’t believe that

We were like, Oh, okay. That thought did not create the result that I wanted. She’ll just be curious. And you’ll try on another one and you’ll try on another one. And that’s what the redirect phase is about. It’s about noticing the thoughts that aren’t serving you and giving you the results that you want and trying on different thoughts to see if they give you different results. Okay. Phase five is the growth phase. This is where you’ve been redirecting your mind and having some success. And now you’re really ready to take it to the next level.

I don’t know that we’re ever done with mindset work. Like I’ve shared my cleaning poopy diapers. And in my mind, I just think, Oh, I’m cleaning out the generational sin in my house. There are still days where I’m just like, Ugh, poopy diapers. So I would say that it’s not like even though I came up with that, and that helps me most of the time. And most of the time, I really am willing and happy even to change the diapers. There are still moments when I’m not, and that’s okay. So that’s why we didn’t make phase five to be like completed or finished. It’s just growth. Phase five is where we have found thoughts that are creating the results that we want. And we just practice those. So in the redirect phase, we’re discovering the thoughts that will help us in phase five. We’re just practicing them a lot and more and more and more, but there is no sense that we’re done. And then it’s over Phase five often leads us to phase one because we have hope that we can tackle something else in the same way. So in phase five, we may have thought I use my thoughts to create my results. Or when I think this, it leads me to lose weight. We feel confident about those models

And our actions are that we purposefully practice thoughts to create the results that we want. And we practice them until they become a new belief. Until you believe that you are a woman who doesn’t struggle with food, or you believe that you are becoming a woman who has a happy marriage. I believe that about myself, even though I’m not done yet, I’m not there yet, but I see all the evidence that I’m working on it. And I know that I’m using my thoughts to create my results. So these are the five phases, hope, awareness, love, redirect, and growth. This is how we build mental toughness. And so Larissa and I have created this challenge called 60 day strong. And it’s co so it’s a little bit like the fit and Holy challenge for those of you who did that for the last few years, Louis around this super popular challenge called fit unholy.

So it’s kind of like that. It’s a little bit like this other challenge that we saw called 75 hard was 75 days. And it had these really challenging things that you had to do every day. And we wanted it to be a little bit less intense than that. So like more intense and fit and Holy but less intense than 75 hard. And we wanted to create a container for you to experience these five phases. We wanted to create a situation where your brain was forced. I mean, obviously it’s your choice, but we’re, we’re creating it to go through these phases because here’s what the challenge is about. Okay. So it’s 60 day challenge. And we chose that on purpose because a lot of you are like, I could do something for 30 days, right? Whether we do it or not, we have this idea in our mind like, Oh, 30 days, that’s no big deal. And we wanted it to feel like a bigger deal than that. We wanted it to feel like a stretch, like we’re growing. Like we’re, we’re shedding some part of ourselves and becoming a new version of ourselves. So we thought 60 days was a really good amount of time.

And in this 60 days, you’re going to do four things every day. Okay, you’re going to drink 64 ounces of water. You’re going to do one model per day, which means finding a thought and modeling

It out.

If I have this thought, what does it make me feel when I have that feeling? What are my actions? And when I do these actions, what is my result?

And then 15 minutes of prayer and then a daily goal that you choose.

So the purpose of this challenge is for you to pick something that you want to cultivate, maybe as a habit, maybe you just want to practice something for 60 days to know that you can. So it may not even be something that you want to continue doing every day, but this is a daily challenge. Whatever you choose, you will do it every single day. And the purpose of that is because your brain is going to freak out. Your brain is going to be like, no, we can not do something every day for 60 days. It doesn’t even matter what it is, right. Especially if you’re a mom or you have little kids or a busy schedule, your brain is like, no way, man. There’s no way that we can do something for 60 straight days. And that is the work. The work is how we are going to find those thoughts that your brain offers to you and your brain is going to say it like, it’s true. Oh, we couldn’t possibly do this. You can’t make it for 60 days. And those are the thoughts we’re going to model out

Because you absolutely can do something for 60 straight days. Now we are going to recommend that you pick something that’s achievable. So I actually have been practicing this. I wanted to practice it before I did it with you guys. So I’ve been practicing it for the month of may. And I created this workout schedule because the thing I want to do is I want to become a person who moves her body every day. I’ve been a very sedentary person in my mind. I really love sitting in a chair and reading books. I don’t love moving my body. I think I don’t like exercise. I have a lot of stories in my mind about that. So I wanted to try exercising every day. And I tried to model it after a coach that I was following and something she was doing where she did cardio one day and then strength training the next day, cardio and strength.

And then one day she did yoga, but I was just stretching. I just found some stretching exercises to do. And so I tried that and I noticed that that bar for me was a little high to go from literally zero working out to doing that was a little much. And I’m so glad that I practiced it because I was able to learn, Hey, we need to have what we’re going to call a minimum baseline. That feels really achievable. Your minimum baseline should be something that you feel pretty confident that you can achieve every single day. So your minimum baseline could be, I’m just going to do like 10 pushups, 10 squats, that’s it. Or if you were wanting to lose weight, a lot of you are going to do this challenge to lose weight. And I’m really excited to help you with that. Your daily goal might just be to plan what you’re going to eat the next day. So we’re not even saying that it’s going to be about what you actually eat, but you’re going to cultivate the habit of writing down either the night before the morning of the day, what you’re going to eat for that day, every single day. Now we may have stretch goals that we’re trying to do, but the point of the 60 day strong challenge

Is to do something every day. So we want it to be achievable. So I have changed mine. And what I’m going to do is just do 10,000 steps every day. And then I’m also going to have that strength training and that those cardio goals, the same ones that I had, but they’re not going to be my minimum baseline. My minimum baseline is going to be walking 10,000 steps a day because naturally I walk about five. Like I really have to push myself to get out and to get up and to be moving, to hit 10,000 steps. So that’s what I’m going to focus on. And then if I do the strength training things, cause I was enjoying it, but those, those things are just going to be extra, but I’m becoming a woman who moves her body. And for me, that’s going to include doing these 10,000 steps every day. Okay. And for you, it might be 5,000 steps and you’re like, you know what? I’m less than that. If I could just get to that, that’d be huge progress. Your brain is still going to throw a pouty pants party about that. Whatever you choose your brain’s going to be like no way.

And that is where we’re going to do the work. We’re going to do it together. We’re going to have a Facebook group. That’s just for this challenge. We’re going to do live videos or sent I’ll pop in there and tell you how we’re doing with our goals and what it looks like and how we manage our minds about Carol will do it too. She’s going to listen to this and be like, Oh, okay. I guess I’m doing that. But we’re all just going to pick one daily goal. We’re going to work on it

And it’s going to be so powerful. And it’s going to show you how your thinking creates the results in your life. And that is the ultimate goal of the challenge is to really, really understand that our thoughts create our results. Some of you may go through all five stages. Some of you may not. Some of you may go into the stage of redirecting your mind and then you kind of crash a little bit and you’re like, it isn’t working. I knew it wasn’t going to work. And then you have to go back to the hope stage. You have to pick yourself up and be like, no, no, maybe this will work, right. I just need to go back to having a little bit of hope and then awareness and then love. Maybe all you have to do is go back to the love stage and go, am I loving myself through this process?

But the container of 60 days and knowing the five stages is going to show you what the mindset cycle looks like in action. And when you know that you will be able to apply it to any area of your life. So in a way it is like a training ground. It is like a bootcamp. We are going to teach you a very specific skill that you will then be able to use for the rest of your life. And you can give yourself 30 day challenges in the future or 60 day challenges. I love to set 90 day goals. That’s a container I really enjoy, but you will have the skills and you will have awareness of the phases. So then when you start moving through them, you won’t think anything is wrong. You will just go, Oh, I’m in this phase now. And I know exactly what I need to do to get to the next phase.

All right, ladies. So if you want to learn more about the challenge you can go to www.madeforgreatness.co/60daysstrong

I’ll put a link on our homepage as well. All right, come join us. Let’s tackle something. You’ve always wanted to change, and I will show you how to do it. And you will do it together with a bunch of women who are all going to get very, very excited in the hope phase. And then we’re going to have a lot of mind drama. Our minds are going to be like, [inaudible], you cannot do it. And we’re going to say, listen, brain, I’m the boss of you. It’s not the other way around. I can do it. And they will. All right, ladies, come find out what you’re capable of because you are made for them.



Lorissa Horn & Sterling Jaquith

Sterling and Lorissa are very different moms. Lorissa lives in town, her family loves playing baseball, and she’s proud to send them to Catholic school. Sterling lives in the country, her family loves camping, and she unschools the kids.

The thing these women have in common, an unyielding devotion to Christ. Seriously, if you hang out with either of them, they’re gonna talk about Jesus, a lot. He’s the center of their life.


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