K: We talked about aesthetic goals and performance goals in our post last week, and it goes without saying that it is impossible to set goals in a realistic way without having the right mindset.
P: Before we delve deeper into the topic of mindset let’s be geeky for a moment and define it.
Okay great, let’s continue. Carol Dweck, an American psychologist best known for her book titled, ‘Mindset, the psychology to success.’ taught me about two kinds of mindset: fixed and growth mindset.
FIXED MINDSET VS GROWTH MINDSET
A fixed mindset is someone that believes their qualities are carved in stone, they avoid challenges because their self worth gets wrapped into it and they give up at the first sign of distress.
P: Powdered with that knowledge, I realised I had a fixed mindset towards fitness. I never thought I would be able to make it a habit or lunge without support or do full burpees with a push-up!
K: I too had a fixed mindset when I first embarked upon my journey. I never saw myself as being athletic, or even enjoying working out, and I viewed my workouts as something I had to get through, rather than a conscious act I was performing for my own health!
What I’ve learned is that deciding that you’ll never be able to execute a certain exercise, or that you hate fitness will automatically set you up for failure.
According to Dweck, people found to have a growth mindset view setbacks, failure as stepping stones to success. They believe outcomes can be changed with their efforts and they are captains of their soul.
Here are some ways that helped us create a growth mindset
1. POSITIVE SELF TALK
P: I found working with the growth mindset resonated with me. Remember how I mentioned earlier that, “I never thought I’d be able to do lunge without support.” Instead of continuing with that self-talk, I told myself, “I’ll never be able to do it and why bother trying,” I tried out my new approach. I told myself, “There’s no hurry, take it a day at a time, do your best today,, no one is watching.” 5 months later I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m doing overhead lunges with 4 kgs with no support. And it’s because I never gave up and kept practising till I finally nailed it.
K: When I started my fitness journey a year ago, the thought that I could be using 2×5 kg dumbbells for my upper body and leg moves was preposterous to me. What has helped me come this far is always believing that I could progress more–regardless of how long it might take.
2. LEARN ON THE JOURNEY
Being open to absorbing new information along the way helps nurture the growth mindset.
K: The more you know, the more you can grow! For example, I would always get demotivated after hitting a plateau during my previous fitness journeys. However this time, I learned about the importance of programming and progressive overload and ensured that the workout regimen I follow incorporates all of these elements.
P: Instead of overwhelming myself with information, I realised it’s easier to learn a little bit every day than all at once. So I picked one out of the five things I wanted to work on such as nutrition, sleep, more water intake & recovery. Then I would either create a weekly or monthly goal. This way I kept from feeling like a failure or disappointing myself.
3. UNLEARN BY BEING KIND & COMPASSIONATE TO ONESELF
A big part of learning comes with lots of unlearning as well. As someone once said, “Stop standing in your own damn way.”
P: What we are recommending to you is definitely not easy, but we all know easy isn’t worth it.
K: What I found helpful in the unlearning process was adopting the habit of self-acceptance and compassion.
P: For years unconsciously we have been fed a certain notion about “fitness” and “exercise”. Now it’s your time to refine the way you think of it.
K: Open yourself up to various possibilities and believe that you deserve better and can do better.
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In our next post, we’ll talk about the challenges that come along with creating a new mindset- decision making!
Until then, check out our previous posts here