5 Uncomfortable, yet Practical Ways David Goggins is so Mentally Tough

5 Uncomfortable, yet Practical Ways David Goggins is so Mentally Tough

David Goggins has achieved so much with his famous mental toughness. He has qualified for the US Navy Seal and two other special forces. He's run over 60 ultra marathons and has written two best-selling books. Busy guy, huh?

But you probably know that the real question is, 'How is David Gogins so mentally strong, and how can you do it, too? I have read and studied his two books; here are the ways David Goggins is tough and how you can too.

1. Have a Clear purpose and reflect on it

Goggins helps people realise their potential by sharing his stories of overcoming doubt and mental weakness to acheive great things.

We are all great. No matter if you think you're dumb, fat, or have been bullied, we all have greatness. You gotta find the courage. It will be hard work, discipline, and non-cognitive skills — hard work, dedication, and sacrifice — that will set you apart. David Goggins

What's your purpose in life? Well, if you're not sure, try writing it down. It's much more challenging than you expect, but you need to go deep and ask these questions:

  • What do I want my legacy to be?
  • Without limitations, what is the best version of myself?
  • How can I positively impact the people and world around me?
  • What is my superpower?

Importantly, it would be best to reflect on your purpose in a vision statement or something similar. For example, if you want to go further with it, say it aloud daily and journal about it regularly. Build these habits, and your Vision Statement will be carved in stone.

2. Build daily habits

David Goggins has built some serious Atomic Habits, wakes up early and runs at least ten miles, regularly stretching and meditating to balance himself.

"It's a lot more than mind over matter. It takes relentless self-discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day." David Goggins

So here's my recommended list of morning habits

  1. Get to bed early
  2. Wake at sunrise of before
  3. Drink water
  4. Cold shower
  5. Stretch
  6. Meditate
  7. Journal
  8. Plan the day
  9. Workout

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, recommends these four rules to make habits stick: (1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying.

3. Pursue stretch goals

Goggins has a purpose and the habits of success, but he also seeks new challenges and avoids getting comfortable. This idea of always pursuing new challenges is key to his energy source and mental toughness. But, through new challenges, he is constantly growing.

"We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training." David Goggins

You can set stretch goals too. They shouldn't be crazy because if they are too ambitious, you'll find it hard to stick with them and feel disappointed.

As a rule, I would never set a stretch goal of 10% or less than your current performance. Nor would I develop a plan that is 100% on where you're today. I think the sweet spot is 25%, and if you set new stretch goals like this, you'll experience the magic of compound interest over time.

An excellent framework for managing your goals and objectives is OKRs, and you should read Measure What Matters by John Doer if you're interested in this.

4. Be resilient and preserve

Goggins does not give up. Goggins has faced many setbacks and failures but has always persevered and continued to work towards his goals. He has spoken about the importance of not giving up and striving for success, even in adversity.

"I don't stop when I'm tired. I stop when I'm done." David Goggins

Your goals, purpose and daily habits will be the system that helps you preserve. But there is one other thing you can do. Make a promise to yourself that you will not give up when you face hardship.

Cookies!?! You say. Indeed, build a cookie jar - it's a list of achievements from your life. This list will be something you need to remind yourself of what you have already achieved in life.

"Whenever you feel down, you need to go down in the cookie jar and remember who you really are. You are not the weak person your mind may be trying to tell you, you are the person that has survived tough times in the past." David Goggins.