How Mindset Creates or Destroys Improvement
Carol Dweck has done some amazing research on how our mindset determines our ability to improve.
Specifically what we would call having a “Growth Mindset” vs a “Fixed Mindset”
Growth Mindset: Human beings can learn and develop themselves and change over time
Fixed Mindset: People are a certain way. That’s just how they are
The short version: Research indicates that people with a growth mindset improve at things that are hard. People with a fixed mindset decline or stay the same.
There’s a lot of silliness in the personal growth world. Everyone has an opinion, and there’s a lot of crap. So I want you to really get that what Carol Dweck is talking about here isn’t that. It isn’t like this is her opinion, and this isn’t the product of marketing.
Carol Dweck, Phd, is a world leading researcher on Motivation and a professor of psychology at Stanford. It’s absolutely amazing to watch the video above and see what’s possible for kids with statistically the worst possible math scores, and how much they could improve.
Of course, in our fat loss journey, we’re the kids. And fat loss is our math.
If you’re reading this — even if you’re currently really lean — you’re one of the people who has to work for it. And that’s awesome. That’s who this is for.
What I want you to get is that it gets easier over time, you can learn more effective techniques over time, and you can have a totally different fitness result than you’ve ever had before.
Two Words That Change Everything
Carol Dweck tells us that the difference between getting better and getting worse is:
• If we relate to a hard part of our fat loss journey or not hitting our goal as a “failure” or “I am a failure” or that “this is something I’m not good at”
• If we relate to a hard part of our fat loss journey or not hitting our goal just means “not yet”
And this is why I’ve moved into coaching everything from a habit-based perspective. On some level, everyone gets that habits are created by doing stuff, and that we can do different stuff and create new habits. That is the essence of a growth mindset!
And it is hard, which is why I’ve started coaching nutrition habits in groups. Working on mastering one habit at a time, in a group, makes creating new habits easier. Anyone who’s ever been on any kind of sports team knows that it’s easier to stay fit and develop skills when you’re on a team where everyone is doing the same thing.
The Past and The Future
Just because you’ve tried things in the past and it hasn’t worked out the way you wanted, doesn’t mean “that’s how it is” or “that’s who you are”.
It just means “not yet”
In fact, usually it just means that the approach you took last time, didn’t work last time. You may need a more reasonable approach to workout and/or nutrition. You may need more structure, accountability, or coaching. You may just need to look at it from a different perspective.
What most personal trainers know, is that the way most people approach their fitness and diet is destined to fail from the start. Not the PERSON, but the approach.
12 week weight loss challenges, cleanses, diets that completely eliminate carbohydrates, fat, or protein, needlessly throttling workouts, totally dumbed down fitness articles, train-wreck fat loss TV shows – most of what people see on about how to lose weight is steering them in the wrong direction.
Think longer term, expect some bumps in the road, and know that you can always change approaches as you learn more. When you hit a wall, that just means “not yet”