As I talk to people who are interested in improving their health and wellbeing, I’ve noticed there is a common thread that hold many of us back. We feel the need to prove, to either ourselves or others that we can be successful, and if we don’t reach our intended level of success, we feel like we failed. One of my goals as a health coach is to help people realize that when we are so focused on our end goal and what we think success looks like, we sometimes miss more important things that are happening. I believe the effort and learning that occurs as part of this journey is just as important, if not more, than the end goal itself. So how do we change our way of thinking? It all comes down to what type of mindset we adopt.
Dr. Carol Dweck describes two different types of mindsets through her research: fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset believe that basic qualities, like intelligence and personality, are fixed traits, so they spend their time proving that they possess those certain characteristics. In the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, Dweck writes: “Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?”
In contrast, people with a growth mindset believe basic abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. She describes this type of mindset as:
“In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts…Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Here are a few ways you can work on developing a growth mindset:
Value the process over the end result. When you enjoy the process of learning about yourself and what you’re capable of, you’ll end up feeling more motivated than if you’re focused solely on the end goal. This journey is the ultimate growth experience.
Be curious. Ask my health coaching clients what my favorite phrase is and they’ll likely tell you it’s “be curious”. When things don’t go as planned, instead of feeling as if you failed ask yourself what can be learned from the experience and how that can help guide you in the right direction.
Try different strategies. There’s no one right way to eat healthy or to exercise. Instead of feeling like you need to choose one path and stick to it, try different things to find what works for you. When you find what you enjoy, you’ll be much more likely to stick to it in the future.
Set goals that are just outside your comfort zone…and then set more. We tend to see the most success when we set goals that push us slightly but are still realistic. These types of goals also help us build more confidence that we can continue to accomplish our goals in the future. Having something to work towards will ensure that you keep learning and moving forward.
If you want to work on changing your mindset, set up a health coaching consultation to learn more about how you could benefit from working with me!