How to face challenges head on and feel good about it.

I discovered early in my life that maintaining a positive mental outlook is essential to success. All of us are confronted with challenges and problems on our way to our goals. If we want to consistently reach goals, we need to stay strong and upbeat when challenges arise, not crumble like an old cookie the moment adversity touches us.

Like many people, I used to think that the ability to maintain motivation through trials was a genetic trait that a few, hardy people inherited, and the rest of us missed out on. Thankfully, I’ve learned that this is absolutely not true. In fact, all of us have the capacity to endure trials and setbacks with a positive mental attitude.

How can we develop this attribute? It’s simpleunderstand that while feelings can influence actions, actions can also influence feelings. The truth is that it is far easier to “act” yourself into feeling better than it is to “feel” yourself into acting better.

So try it sometime. The next time you find yourself wanting to give up, choose a positive action. Don’t think about it—just act. As you do, you’ll feel your motivation returning; you will love the sense of control you obtain over your own feelings. All of us have probably experienced this phenomenon more than once. Just think of times when you have set out to exercise when you didn’t feel like it and saw your attitude transform halfway through your training. Or think of times when you decided to help others even when you perhaps secretly felt like they should be helping you. In the process, did you feel your attitude transform and your worries disappear?

Yet unfortunately, although we all may experience these episodes, far too many of us don’t detect and apply the pattern. These are not lucky one-off incidents—they are manifestations of an ongoing pattern that we can apply whenever we need to change our own feelings or motivation. Try it, and see what you can do.

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