I’ve been reading Mindset, by Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychologist and researcher. And it’s occurred to me how important it is to any goal we have. As a weight loss coach, I encounter clients whose mindset propels them forward, and at the same time, I work with many women where it holds them back.
The thing is, unless you’re aware of what it is, and specifically your own mindset, then you’ll be spinning your wheels. You’ll be working harder than you need to. And you’ll be frustrated. Unnecessarily.
So let’s get clear on what it is, and how you can make it work for you, whether you’re looking to lose the whole weight loss issue, get a promotion, or get closer to your family.
Mindset refers to your beliefs about yourself, your intelligence, your talents and your personality.
It’s like a piece of glass through which you view the world.
In fact, your mindset creates your worldview.
Your mindset and your worldview work together to determine what you do, who you are, how you act and how you feel in the world.
That makes it pretty important.
Yet most of us go through life on autopilot. Without wondering or questioning why we do what we do, or why we make certain choices.
Carol Dweck says that we are divided into two groups… people with a fixed or growth mindset.
If yours is fixed, you tend to believe that whatever traits you have are permanent, for better or worse. And there’s nothing you can do about them.
As you can imagine, this might lead you to think things like: why bother! I can’t do this and never will! I’m just not good at this.
Not only are these thoughts negative, but they also literally keep you stuck. You’ll have tremendous trouble motivating yourself to do anything that’s a stretch for you.
Also, people with a fixed mindset constantly judge themselves. They think that even if they do well at something, they need to prove themselves over and over again.
As these people do something and relentlessly judge themselves, they look at their results and make them mean something. Actually they make them mean everything. I can’t do anything. I’m not lovable. I’m not worthy.
Talk about an uphill battle, right?
Now here’s what Dweck says about the growth mindset: These people believe that wherever they stand right now, they can improve. They know that their basic qualities can be cultivated.
They’d be more likely to think: I can’t do this now but I’m working on it. They believe that accomplishments take effort no matter what talent you were or weren’t born with.
When things don’t go well for a growth mindset person, they naturally think: what can I learn from this? How can I improve?
Just reading that makes me feel more relaxed.
You are not set in stone.
You can always grow. Improve. Expand.
Whichever group we fall into, fixed or growth, our mindsets guide our thoughts. We keep a running account of what’s happened to us, what it means, and what we should do.
So it pays, big time, to cultivate a growth mindset.
Our goal is in change our internal monologue.
This guides everything.
There are four steps to changing your mindset.
- Learn to hear the voice of your fixed mindset. Learn what familiar phrases it uses so you can hear them and see what’s happening. This is your area of power!
- Now, recognize that you have a choice! Just because that voice and that way of thinking is your default, doesn’t mean that you have to take that road. You don’t.
- Talk back to the fixed mindset voice with a new voice… your newly chosen growth mindset voice. Look for the good in what you have done. Look for learning, for forward movement, for compassion toward yourself.
- And now, take the action that goes with that growth mindset voice. Your actions come as a result of your thoughts, so if you are working on changing your thoughts and your mindset, your actions will follow.
Want to get somewhere?
First figure out what kind of mindset you have.
Then either cultivate it further, or change it.
You can do this!