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6 Ways To Build The Mental Resilience You Need To Get And Stay Healthy

08/15/2016 11:25am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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All I wanted to do was give up.

With a barbell balanced precariously over my head, I tried getting down into a squat.

I was scared. My knees were going forward and buckling in. The weight above my head was a mere 45 pounds, but it felt like a spine-crushing 450.

I was afraid that my shoulders would give way and the barbell would come crashing down on me.

My coach was on my right, doing his best to correct and motivate me.

I'd done this so many times before, but today, I wasn't doing it right. I didn't feel right. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and it was showing.

All I wanted to do was to let the barbell fall to the ground, give up, go home and crawl into bed. But if I did, it would be a first in a long time. And once there's a first, there's a good chance that there could be a second, and I didn't want to make giving up a habit.

So I kept going.

He lightened the load on my barbell so that I could focus on my technique, and I set a goal to complete one rep at a time, until the buzzer went off.

Relief seeped into every cell of my body when it did.

I was disappointed in myself, but I got to the finish line, and I didn't break. I kept trying, and that's all that mattered to me.

I know things would've been very different if I'd transplanted a younger "me" into that situation -- a "me" who had given up on herself and was ready to wave the white flag, until a close friend forced her to open her eyes.

This is why Amy Morin's 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do means so much to me.

In her book, Amy breaks down the essential qualities and habits that mentally resilient people have, and although I'm nowhere close to having them all, I've started working my way there and wanted to share the ones that I think anyone who's trying to get and stay healthy, should zero in on:

Focus on what you can control and let go of the things you can't
You can't control the weather, but you can have an indoor body weight workout ready if the rain's put a damper on your run.

You can't always choose where you and your friends go to have dinner, but you can take control of how you eat by slowing down your meal and listening to your body.

You can't make your body lose weight at will, but you can choose to work on making your healthy habits stick anyway.

You can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

Stop wasting time feeling sorry for yourself
It can be tempting to wallow in a solo pity party when things aren't going your way, but as someone who's made this mistake one too many times, I can promise you that all it does is trap you into becoming a victim.

And what do victims do? They blame everyone else but themselves for what's happening to them and take no responsibility for their actions, giving their power away.

Embrace change instead of avoiding it
Walking into that exercise studio for the first time can be frightening and intimidating.

Changing how you eat can be unsettling and uncomfortable. Trying to replace a destructive habit with an empowering one can be frustrating.

Changing your life is never easy, but there's one thing I know for sure: Keeping my arms open to it helps make sure that I'm able to keep evolving to be better tomorrow.

Stop making the same mistake over and over again
I knew that something was wrong when I couldn't stop eating. I'd promise myself that tomorrow would be different after every binge, but the next day, I'd reach for the food again. And again. And again.

This went on for over 10 years until I realized that I it wasn't the food that I had a problem with. It was me.

And it wasn't until I dug deep to find out why I was making this same mistake over and over again, and came up with a plan to break past it that my eating habits (and life) truly began to change.

Learn from your failures instead of using them as an excuse to stop trying
Picking up the pieces from a painful mistake that you've made is never easy, and often, it's just easier to leave them on the floor and walk away, never to return.

Big mistake. Doing this repeatedly just programs you to think of failure as a bad thing and stops you from trying again.

A better (and more productive) option? Analyze your mistakes to find out why you failed so that you'll be able to avoid making the same ones in the future.

Stop expecting immediate results
We all want to take the quickest way to our destination. That's fine. Life is short and it makes sense to want to shorten the boring, tedious or even difficult journeys that are an inevitable part of life.

But the thing is, unlike computers or travel, not everything can be 'hacked' or fixed in 5 seconds, or comes with a secret shortcut--especially not your body.

The most important lesson I've learned over the years about reaching for my health goals? That the best results come when I forget about the destination, and focus on the journey.

Are you ready to finally put a stop to your yo-yo dieting and emotional eating? Join my FREE 'Lose 4 Pounds in 4 Weeks Without Going On A Diet' course to get started.

This article originally appeared on michelelian.com

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