When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

It's a phrase we've heard innumerable times and, yet, one that many--myself included--have a hard time applying to my own life. Persevering is always hard, but it is undeniably more difficult to force yourself to keep going when life keeps throwing the punches.

This scenario, however, can ultimately be dealt with as a case of mind over matter.

My old tennis coaches used to chide me for thinking that a move was automatically incorrect just because it hurt. Over time and many practices, they drilled in my head that many things are very difficult to do, but still able to be executed. If you put your mind to it, anything can be executed--and yes, it's supposed to burn.

The act of increasing our personal tolerance of pain allows us to understand how to address the larger struggles we have to face in our lives.

Although each person is born with a certain amount of pain tolerance, this threshold can actually be changed over time. We can create a greater ability to persevere through struggle by actively attempting to increase our pain tolerance bit by bit every day.

Take, for example, a normal day where you work out at the gym. You're in the middle of your squats, feeling like you cannot continue. You consider taking a couple weights off; you considering decreasing the amount of reps you have to complete.

While this is a completely normal reaction--and one that should be your course of action if you feel physically unwell--we cannot let this attitude of coming up short color our daily habits and lives.

Instead, we should practice the philosophy of setting goals and, no matter what it takes, meeting them as best as we can.

A little pain might hurt in the moment, but the disappointment that comes from giving up lasts forever. So, with all that being said, eat a little more spicy food, do a couple extra reps at the gym, and meditate through struggle. Work day by day to better how you deal with your pain--how your life changes after may surprise you.

Published on: Oct 23, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.