If you find yourself continually frustrated when it comes to your fitness, nutrition and weight loss goals, you need to check your head. You may be operating from a fixed mindset.
Sure, you may not be acting in accordance with the results you want. You may not be training frequently enough or properly. Your nutrition may be off. Your expectations may be unreasonable. But the fundamental problem may not lie in the mechanics of your actions but in the way you perceive yourself in any important pursuit.
Psychologist Carol Dweck is famous for her amazing research into mindset. In simplest terms, she has identified two mentalities from which people operate; the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
In a fixed mindset, people believe that their basic qualities like intelligence and talent, are fixed traits. They believe that their innate talent determines success and that their abilities are fixed in place, finite in supply. It’s all about “talent,” not about effort.
It goes back to how you were raised. If you were raised in an environment in which your talents were praised instead of your effort, you probably developed the belief that your talents alone are responsible for your success or failure. The problem with that mentality is that if you are not successful in a pursuit and chalk it up to a shortcoming of talent, you’re stuck, you get frustrated, you quit. In that context your failure is a jail sentence, not a temporary set back that you can overcome with proper learning, education, effort and growth.
A fixed mindset is all or nothing. If you fail at something, your talent is inadequate and subsequently you are inadequate; a failure.
Here is the fixed mindset in action. Read through this and see if any of these examples apply to you:
“I’m either good at it or I’m not.” (My natural talent determines my ability. It’s fixed in place and I can’t develop it)
“When I’m frustrated, I give up.” (I don’t see challenges as challenges, I see them as a failure of talent and I quit)
“I don’t like to be challenged.” (I should be good enough to be able to do this perfectly the first time. If I can’t, I’m a failure)
“When I fail, I’m no good.” (If I can’t do something, I’ll never be able to, I just suck!)
“Tell me I’m smart!” (Reaffirm my talent, it’s all about talent, not effort)
“If you succeed I feel threatened.” (I can’t celebrate your success, it just highlights that I’m no good and have no hope of getting better)
“My abilities determine everything.” (My talent should be enough to succeed at something without effort)
Do you find yourself saying similar things to yourself in your daily life? Don’t feel bad if you do! That’s not going to help! Just be aware of it.
Here’s the good news. You can change. You can develop a growth mindset. And next week we’ll begin to look at how.