Changing your mindset could be the key to changing your life.
What if I told you that your success has nothing to do with where you’re starting from right now, but is all about having the right mindset?
What is mindset? (And does it really matter?)
Quite simply, mindset is a set of attitudes and beliefs that you know to be true.
We all hold these about every aspect in our lives including family, money, health, friends and work.
When we hold a belief about something, we form habits that are so in-built that we no longer need to think about it.
Whatever gives reward (increased pleasure / avoiding pain) at a time of emotional distress or heightened happiness is when a new attitude is formed.
The attitudes you hold now could be from last week, last year, even your childhood. You reacted to things like hurtful situations, helpful comments or influential people and altered your emotions and actions to develop a new attitude. These attitudes, or beliefs, then effect our existing habits, or turn into new ones.
The two types of mindset:
There are two types of mindset – Fixed and growth.
Fixed Mindset – The belief that ability is fixed. You are born a certain way and cannot change that.
Growth Mindset – The belief that you can develop your abilities through effort and change.
People with different mindsets will have different behaviors, leading them to different results.
For example, do you ever watch someone like Roger Federer, and are in absolute awe of how calmly he sticks to his routine and plan during a match? How he acts is not an accident, it is by design.
Those with a fixed mindset may avoid challenges, not take risks, not see the point of trying, ignore any negative feedback and get jealous of others successes. Usually this holds them back from achieve the things they are capable of.
Those with a growth mindset love a good challenge, don’t allow a setback to stop them, realise that effort is important to succeed and love to celebrate and learn from others successes.
Which of these sounds like you the most?
A fixed mindset will ensure that you stay the same. Same struggles, same situation, same illness.
Whereas a growth mindset will help you overcome anything by deciding to make decisions based on your own research, trying new things, listening to and taking advice from others, taking on challenges and being resilient in tough times.
Mindset in action
Those with a fixed mindset react best to how well they did, and focus on things such as scores or numbers. They are affected by setbacks and question their ability. They generally give up when the going gets tough. (How am I perceived?)
Those with a growth mindset react best to feedback, and focus on how they could improve. They view setback as opportunities to work harder, find a different solution and overcome any problems. (What can I learn?)
Are you more likely to ask ‘How did I do?’ or ‘How can I do this better next time?’
In a recent study, 84 hotel attendants were split into two groups. One group had a 15min presentation and were told that their housekeeping work was good exercise which helped them meet physical activity guidelines. The second group received no information. After four weeks, the group that received no information hadn’t change in weight or body fat. Those who attended the presentation dropped weight, reduced blood pressure and dropped body fat. Say whaaaaat….
A second study of university students given either a decadent or fat-free milk shake found similar results. They were actually all given the same milkshake. Those drinking the ‘decadent’ shake reported feeling full very quick, and those drinking the fat-free shakes felt less full.
Both studies show that it’s all in the mind. Their bodies reacted to not the reality, nor the facts, but their mindset.
Can you remember a time this happened to you? I remember feeling ‘tricked’ when things like this happened, but now know better.
Our perceptions aren’t always reality. We are often deceived by our perceptions.
How to develop a Growth Mindset
The good news, is that you CAN change your mindset. If you so choose…
It’s common to feel held back by your day-to-day tasks. The key is to accept that you can be busy while still making progress towards reaching your goals and dreams.
Whether you know you can do a thing or not, you are right.
Things that we do or say often become habits, but you can change them by realizing them and training yourself in a new way.
- Keep an ear out for your fixed mindset/ego voice. When your ego tells you that you cannot do something (you don’t stick with exercise for very long, why will this be different?), allow the comment and reply with gratitude (thank you for your input, but I am part of a wonderful community and I am getting better at making it to my chosen classes every week).
- Recognize things that cause stress and negativity. We all have specific thoughts or events that cause us to turn to takeaway instead of a salad, or the couch instead of a workout. That’s ok. Accept them, and consider how to avoid them in future. Noticing what you’re doing and stopping that pattern is that start of real change.
- Realize how often you react emotionally. Take time to evaluate, find a solution and use the situation to your advantage. It won’t be easy, but now you have the choice…
- Realize that the way you speak to others and yourself may need some tweaking. It is important to praise progress and process rather than talent or ability.
Fixed mindset – I don’t have the time to attend boxing class today.
Growth mindset – I’m getting fitter every day, I did my best at all three boxing classes this week.
Which one would you rather say to yourself?
- Surround yourself with a group of fearless people on the same journey. Ever heard that you are a blend of the 5 people closest to you? Did you know that if a friend gains weight, you have a 57% increased chance of gaining weight too? Damn… If you are not making progress, have a look at the people around you…
- Just keep swimming. Every workout, every meal, every sleep is an opportunity to improve your health. Even if you don’t see progress, know that today’s workout or that delicious, healthy meal you made were stepping stones for you on the way to perfect health.
- Change the way you see food and exercise. Got a promotion at work? Time to hit the pub until the early hours. Got through the week without ‘cheating’ on your diet? Order some pizza and grab a tub of ice cream on the way home. Then punish yourself by making sure your workout the next day pushes you beyond the limits of intensity. Sound familiar? Start to change the way you view food and exercise; you’ll enjoy both more and make better decisions. Neither are reward or punishments, they are sustenance and movement, both parts of who you are.
- Hard work, effort, and persistence are all important, but the most important is the underlying knowledge that you are in control of your own destiny. Knowing you have control results in better decisions. You and only YOU are in control of your ability. Choosing better dietary options and more physical activity is a choice. Knowing that achieving your next fitness milestone is all up to you makes you more likely to commit to it and see it through.
- And don’t forget to create a vision of your healthy future. What does it look like? What do you do? Who are you surrounded by? Who do you need to be to get there?
Food for thought
That’s right, I’m coming at you with homework.
You can write these out, or just spend time in thought here.
- If changing your mindset was the key to changing your life, what thoughts would you like to have running through your head?
- The key to success is having a growth mindset – knowing that you are in control of your ability. Now that you know you are in control, what could you achieve this month? This year? This life?
- Imagine that you shifted your mindset to accept that it is okay to be busy and that it won’t stop you reaching your goals. How could you take action every day to edge closer to the life you are dreaming of?
- What does a healthy future look like to you? What mindsets and habits do you need to nurture to get there?
No one wakes up great. Not Einstein, not Gandhi. Don’t concern yourself with what might happen in two weeks, two months or two years. You can only control the now. After all, now is all you have ever had, currently have, or will have.
So, read through the homework questions, write down your answers. Know that you have the ability to do this now. Or know that in 5 years time, you will have wished that you did this now…
Have a thoughtful day,