Why and how to develop a growth mindset when it comes to your health
Recently I read the book Mindset by Carol S. Dweck and it really stuck with me.
The book is basically about two mindsets:
the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
Who better to explain them than Carol herself:
In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
— Carol Dweck, Stanford University
I can recommend this book to anybody.
What has this to do with your health?
As the title already suggested developing a growth mindset will be beneficial for your health.
Let me explain.
There seems to be some thinking that health is only reserved for a few “lucky” people, with the right genes and the right environment when growing up.
I’ve heard it so many times:
- “I can’t lose weight, because of my genes.”
- “I was overweight as child, I can’t get to a normal weight now.”
- “Not eating junk food is so hard.”
- “I just can’t go to bed when I’m supposed to”
- “I can’t exercising…”
- etc., etc., etc.,
Well, that’s all BS. (I admit it, there might be some rare exceptions)
That’s your fixed mindset telling you:
”Look at you. You couldn’t stay slim/fit until now, you lack the ability to lose weight and you will never learn it”
Here’s the thing, BS as well. Don’t believe this
Every single one of you is able to get healthy, either by losing weight, eating quality food, exercising or sleeping enough.
Don’t let your fixed mindset tell you that you can’t do this.
Develop a growth mindset. Every single day think about what you can do to upgrade your health. Focus on the process not on the results.
- Want to lose weight? Don’t focus on your “ideal weight”, but commit on exercising consistently.
- Want to sleep better? Don’t focus on what your perfect sleep would look like, but commit on going to bed on time.
- Want to eat better? Don’t focus on what your ideal diet will look like, but commit to eating a little bit better every day.
Your health isn’t fixed. Genes only account for around 20% of your health, but what about the other 80%?
Well, you are in control of that. Not your parents, not your friends, but you.
Developing a growth mindset for health is hard at the beginning, especially when all your life you have been thinking with a fixed mindset.
Here’s a 4 step process you can take to develop a growth mindset for your health.
Step 1: Show up for your health.
Whatever you want to achieve you need to show up first.
- Want to go to bed earlier? Show up at your bedtime.
- Want to eat healthier? Show up in your kitchen ready to prepare a meal.
- Want to exercise more? Show up with your gym clothes, ready to exercise or take a run.
Show up for the first time, starting to upgrade your health.
Step 2: Notice your fixed mindset when it comes to your health.
Have you ever noticed that voice in your head, when you started exercising or cooking, that told you “You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you’re just born this way, just accept it.”
That’s your fixed mindset. Every time you try to eat healthier or start exercising the voice is telling you to stop to avoid failure.
Notice this voice in your head.
Step 3: Realize that failure is an opportunity to grow, not a reason to give up.
Oftentimes that voice in your head want to prevent you from failure, because it thinks failure is bad. Instead, everytime that voice comes up think about failure as an opportunity to grow.
Everybody experiences failure, it’s how you deal with it that makes you stand out.
- Couldn’t go to bed earlier? Think about what you can do better. Maybe don’t watch TV in the evening.
- Your home made meal tastes crappy? Think about what went wrong. Maybe try an easier recipe.
- You can’t do 10 pushups? Start with one, but make sure to show up again!
You might have failed, but that’s not a reason to give up.
Step 4: Show up consistently.
When showing up consistently big results will happen, but don’t focus on them. Focus on the process instead.
- Instead of thinking about how much weight you have to lose, focus on healthy eating every day.
- Instead of thinking about how you run a marathon, focus on showing up for running consistently.
Your fixed mindset is preventing you back from getting healthy. Don’t let it do that. Develop a growth mindset. This isn’t limited to your health, but can be applied to all areas of your life.
Your health is a good starting point!
I hope those steps will help you realize that your health isn’t fixed. It’s in your hand. What will you show up for today?