When it comes to health and fitness, most people think of diet and exercise. While these are important elements to a healthy lifestyle, there are some other—more important—factors that contribute to creating a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. That’s why we created this series. Over the next six weeks we’re going to cover the foundational principles that help you build a healthy lifestyle. Think of it like a pyramid: Each week we will cover a different topic and these topics will build upon each other. This week, we’re going to lay the foundation. And that foundation is “Mindset.”

Developing the proper mindset is the most important thing you can do for yourself, whether it comes to monitoring your diet, being consistent with your exercise routine or just baking a cake at home. In life, all you have is your mind: all of your experiences, all of your emotions. And your mindset is completely under your control. You control how you interpret and react to the things, people and places around you. You control what kind of day you have. You. Not anyone else. 

You.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to break mindset down into two categories, “fixed” and “growth.” We fall into either category depending on the subject or situation. To keep with the cake-baking example, someone may try a new red velvet recipe and encounter some struggles. The measurements may be off or the color not vibrant enough. But this amateur baker has a growth mindset, so they embrace the struggle because they know it’s the part of the learning process that will make them a better baker. So they push past these missteps, test out a few alternate versions and eventually succeed in producing the perfect slice of chocolate cake.

Take another baker who has a fixed mindset. When they encounter some difficulty with their cake, they tell themselves something like, “I’m just not talented at baking.” So they toss their batter in the trash and give up without much effort. A person with a growth mindset sees a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. A person with fixed mindset believes that you are either born with a certain ability or you’re not, and no amount of effort will change that. 

In your journey to becoming fitter and healthier, you are going to encounter difficulties and challenges. You may want to give up. You may say to yourself, “I’m just not cut out for this.” Whether you quit or keep pushing through will not be determined by your ability. It will be determined by your mindset.  

The truth is, you can make the choice as to what type of mindset you have. I want you to think back to a task you recently gave up on because you didn’t think you had the talent to accomplish it. Your mindset was fixed. Now deliberately change your mindset to a growth mindset and put more effort toward that task until it’s complete. This can be something simple like setting the clock on your microwave or learning a new iPhone app, which seemed too hard because you don’t consider yourself a “tech person.” Or maybe it’s mixing up a batch of cupcakes for your school’s PTA meeting. Or maybe it’s doing a push-up. It doesn’t matter what the task is, I just want to prove to you that with the right MINDSET and enough EFFORT, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

 

For more information about adopting a growth mindset, check out Carol S. Dweck’s book: Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success