What if I was to tell you that your mindset could be what’s holding you back?
You might have read that sentence and be thinking that’s a load of rubbish, but bear with me. This article may just be the piece of information you need to help you succeed.
More often that not, we identify the training plan we’re following or the diet selected as the issue. We stop following that particular exercise or diet plan and move on to the next one with the hope and belief that this will be the one to help you lose weight. Although these play a part as there’s a lot of terrible and unhealthy ones out there, the thing that could be blocking you from progressing is your mindset.
Before you get angry and click off this article, I want you to read it all. I’m not insulting your personality, your mindset, or your beliefs. The idea of this article is to open your mind and to help you discover something you never fully knew about yourself. By identifying traits about your own personality and mindset, you’re in a much more powerful position to succeed in the future.
I’ve got a task for you
Read the following four sentences, and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them :
1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
If you agreed with statements 1 & 3, you’re someone who has a ‘fixed mindset’.
If you agreed with statements 2 & 4 you tend to have a growth mindset.
If you agreed with both 1 & 2, you’re confused.
People who have a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are basically static. Maybe you believe you’re a pretty good exerciser, an average eater, and a wonderful planner.
With a fixed mindset, you believe you may get a little bit better or worse at those skills, but basically your abilities reflect the way you’re wired. Your behaviour then is a good representation of your natural ability, just as the swirled and sniffed first taste of wine is a good representation of the bottle you’ve bought.
If you’re someone with a fixed mindset, you tend to avoid challenges, because if you fail, you fear that others will see your failure as an indication of your true ability and see you as a loser. You feel threatened by negative feedback, because it seems as if the critics are saying they’re better than you, positioning themselves at a level of natural ability higher than yours.
You try not to be seen exerting too much effort (people who are really good don’t need to try that hard right?).
People who have a growth mindset believe that abilities are like muscles – they can be built up with practice. That is, with concerted effort, you can improve your eating habits, manage your cravings or exercise in a way that is effective. With a growth mindset you tend to accept more challenges despite the risk of failure.
You seek out challenges in your life and you’re more inclined to accept constructive criticism because ultimately it makes you better. By criticism, I mean reflecting on your previous actions and discovering how you can improve in the future. You’re wanting to learn and be better at the things you’re currently not-so good at.
You may not be as good as others right now, but you’re thinking long term, in a tortoise versus hare kind of way. The bigger picture is what you see; not the hear and now.
Fixed versus Growth : Which are you?
If you want to reach your full potential, you need a growth mindset.
A growth mindset will make you more successful at almost anything. That’s because people with a growth mindset – those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long term view – can’t help but progress in their lives, their health and their weight loss journey. Once you become aware of these concepts you start to spot the fixed mindset everywhere.
Look at the way we praise our children – you’re so smart, you’re so good at maths. Your child believes that these are talents that they’re naturally good at. This encourages the child to believe that they don’t need to try very hard as they don’t need to improve. Regardless of your current position, you can always improve. I’ve had clients tell me that they will never be ‘good’ at sports as they aren’t coordinated. When I ask why they believe this, I’m told that their parents told them this when they were younger. The issue here is they are 40 years of age and still believe it, therefore, they never tried to be good at sports, as they had a fixed mindset.
My mum told me throughout my childhood that I can’t sing. Does that mean that I can’t improve in the future? I may never be Michael Buble, but I can certainly be a better singer than I was previously.
We are forever been placed in categories of either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s either others around us or ourselves that place us in these categories. These categories that we’re apparently never allowed to leave. That’s fuel for the fixed mindset. You can improve at something your apparently ‘bad’ at, and at the same time, your talents can deteriorate if you don’t keep working on areas of which you’re apparently ‘good’ at.
A growth mindset compliments and praises effort rather than natural skill. I’m proud of how hard you worked in your exercise session, I’m proud of how you’ve planned your weekly meals. By focusing on effort rather than ‘natural’ skill, you’re believing that you can be better, you can improve, and you can achieve your goal. You begin to take the actions needed to move forwards and evolve as a person.
Can people with a fixed mindset learn to adopt a growth mindset?
The growth mindset can be taught and it can change your life. To create and sustain change, you’ve got to act more like a coach and less like a scorekeeper. This is why in the ‘Take Control’ programme, I provide you with the tools and structure to ‘Be Your Own Coach’. Throughout my programme, I am your coach, however once you’ve finished the programme, you will be your own coach. You will feel empowered and in control of your own journey and your health.
Here are three things that you must learn to be able to adopt a growth mindset.
1. Real change, the kind that sticks and creates sustainable results, is often three steps forward and two steps back.
2. Failure happens, some big and some small. You must understand that failure is part of success.
3. If you persist with your journey, even if it looks like failure in the middle, it eventually emerges with a growing sense of positive momentum.
The above statements may appear to be negative, yet that’s the paradox of the growth mindset. Although they seem to draw attention to failure, and encourages us to seek out failure, it is unflaggingly optimistic. We will struggle, we will fail, we will be knocked down – but throughout, we’ll get better and we will succeed in the end.