Have you got a fixed mindset or growth mindset?
One problem we see with goal setting and therefore long-term success with health and fitness comes down to mindset and how you approach your goal.
After decades of research on achievement and success, world-renowned researcher and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University Carol Dweck concluded that the power of our mindset has a great effect on our achievements in life.
Dweck introduced us to the idea that there are two types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
With a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. These people document their intelligence and talents rather than working to develop and improve them. They also believe that talent alone leads to success, and effort is not required.
Alternatively, in a growth mindset, people have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. When people believe they can become smarter or better at something, they realise that their effort has an effect on their success, so they put in extra time, leading to higher achievement.
In her book ‘Mindset – Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential’ Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She also makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success.
With the right mindset we can reach our goals – both personal and professional. Dweck reveals how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset
In a nutshell, these are the differences between a person with a fixed mindset and a person with a growth mindset:
But how can mindset help me achieve my health and fitness goals?
With a fixed mindset, you’re usually only focused on an outcome or achievement.
It might seem like it’s OK to concentrate on a single endpoint, like running a marathon, having a six-pack or shedding ‘x’ amount of weight, but the chances of completely losing motivation when you hit a bump in the road are way higher with this kind of goal-orientated thinking.
The contrast to this approach is to foster a growth mindset. This way of thinking concentrates on the process rather than the end result.
Where someone with a fixed mindset might give up after failing, the person with the growth mindset sees failure as a chance to reflect and learn.
It might seem like a subtle contrast, but this process-orientated thinking can be the difference between long term success and failure.
Rather than wishing you could be ‘x’ weight in the future or deadlift ‘x’ amount of weight, start the daily behaviours that will get you there from today and be prepared for plenty of hurdles along the way.
Instead of setting an incredibly difficult goal for yourself, focus on adding one more rep in the gym, improving one of your meals, moving a little bit more at the weekends, and so on. With small improvements and impeccable consistency, great things can happen.
The right mindset develops positive habits
Having a growth mindset is important to develop positive habits. Having fixed beliefs about yourself will hold you back from making changes. If you have a trait that you believe cannot be changed, such as your weight, or your exercise habits, you will avoid situations that could possibly be uncomfortable or that you think are pointless.
However, if you embrace the idea that your habits aren’t static that belief could be the crucial first step to making changes. Whether it’s learning a new skill, breaking a bad habit or starting a new exercise routine, having a growth mindset will help you form the belief that you are capable of making changes and achieving your goals.
Why focus on the process instead of the end result?
People who have a growth mindset are willing to learn. They understand that any growth is going to be a process and make their own process goals to help them reach their end goal.
It is important to enjoy the learning process along the way in order to get the most out of it and be open to the possibility of the process continuing beyond the expected time frame set. And one of the most important things about the process of learning is the unexpected lessons that you might pick up on the journey.
Growth-minded people are able to continue to create new goals so they stay motivated and interested in the goals that they have set. Learning or developing is never finished, as there is always another goal to reach or more progress to be achieved.
Is it possible to rewire your brain and change your mindset?
Neuroplasticity is the change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors, such as behaviour, environment, and neural processes. The brain forms new connections throughout our lives that allow it to make adjustments when faced with new situations or environments.
Neuroplasticity explains how your brain can be retrained and reorganised, showing that there is always room to grow. If you are aware that your brain is constantly changing, then you are more likely to adopt a growth mindset.
Are you ready to grow?
To develop a growth mindset you need to be willing and committed to changing your beliefs about what you are able to do.
It’s also necessary to take appropriate actions to develop and stay motivated by remembering why you have chosen to undertake to make changes, and how these will benefit you in the long run.
By figuring out the best ways to grow and develop, you can use these tactics to provide yourself with the most effective and lasting changes. These tactics will help you achieve more success in all areas throughout your life.