Growth Mindset Chew the Phat

Growth Mindset Chew the Phat

The upside of failure: Learn how to develop a Growth Mindset to achieve your goals!

At some point in our life everyone will experience failure in something! For most of us lucky ones, we will get to experience this across multiple areas of our lives, many times in our lifetime. We may fail to achieve a mark we wanted in an exam (we may even fail the exam), at getting the promotion we worked so hard for, to adhere to a diet, to consistently exercise, to resist temptation and have that last cigarette, fail to restructure our routine to get more ZZZZZ (sleep) time, or fail to balance out quality time with family and friends.

We may find ourselves thinking, “I will never learn how to eat a portion controlled nutritional diet”, “I will never be able to avoid the temptation of emotional eating when it all goes wrong in life”, “smoking will always be a part of my life”,  “diabetes (type 2) will always control me”, and so on and so on! It may be plausible to  suggest here that these may be ‘justifications’ to cope with not meeting our goals, or excuses to avoid making any changes. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can relate to this, as science suggests this may be due to your mindset!

Carol Dweck’s mindset theory states that an individual’s implicit way of thinking regarding their intelligence has direct consequences on their ability to meet challenges, develop, learn, and foster continued motivation for growth. According to Dweck two mindsets exist – fixed & growth.

Do you consider yourself to have a fixed mindset?

  • Your attributes or intelligence are fixed (“I will never be able to learn this”, “I will never be able to discipline myself and develop healthy eating habits”, “I wasn’t born an athlete, so I will never lose weight or manage weight through exercise”, “I will never get this right”).
  • Individuals who are praised for their outcomes and intelligence typically fear challenge, blame their failure on their abilities, and are more likely to focus on performance based goals as a strategy to reinforce their intelligence. Some may argue that this is a strategy to help preserve oneself in undertaking tasks/challenges/goals which are familiar, safe, and known to be achievable (to avoid failure).
  • These individuals don’t build as much resilience to aid in bouncing back from challenges, & give up on completing complex tasks.

Do you consider yourself to have a growth mindset?

  • Your attributes or intelligence can be changed, built on or improved (“If I work hard, I can become better at learning about nutritional eating”, “If I put in enough effort I can learn more about my emotions and my coping strategies (i.e emotional eating)”, “exercise is tough, but with practice, anyone can improve”.
  • Individuals with this mindset hold strong values for learning, acknowledge their setbacks were due to lack of effort (not ability), and seek to become more learning (mastery) orientated in searching for pathways to improve.
  • People with a growth mindset have commonly been praised for their process, effort, persistence, development and strategic thinking in achieving their tasks.
  • These individuals build their resilience to be able to bounce back from challenges and failures, learn from them, and continue to strive towards learning new skills, and achieving their goals.
  • Possessing a growth mindset has also proven to assist in academic performance, the development of GRIT (the ability to persevere and maintain effort for long term goals), and has been demonstrated to alter brain plasticity when learning. There has even been evidence in EEG monitoring to demonstrate increased neural activity when focusing on error correction!!

From fixed to growth – Four simple mindset techniques to help achieve your health & wellbeing goals:

Do you feel that your mindset is more fixed than growth?  Don’t despair, our mindset can be changed!  Here are some simple ways to cultivate a growth mindset.

  • Effort through preparation: If you feel you can wake up the morning of a big presentation, fly off the seat of your pants, and somehow kill it, well then you are bloody lucky! Most of us would need to prepare, learn, & practice for something like this. So when thinking about your health and wellness goals, the same

applies! There is no use waking up on Monday morning declaring to yourself that you are going to lose

that extra 10kg you ever so regretfully gained over the xmas period if you have not prepared prior!

Preparation may look like ensuring that you are aware of your eating plan for the week, having the correct ingredients in the house, doing some meal prep for the week, removing temptations, putting aside some time to set learning goals for your journey, setting up a relapse plan for when you may fall off the band wagon (and that is OK!), & ensuring you are adopting a growth mindset to persevere and achieve your health goals!

  • Remember life is about the journey, not the destination: Lets set a goal to lose 10kg, great! Now what? What if we don’t lose 10kg? What if we don’t lose 10kg in the timeframe we set? What if this timeframe was never realistic to begin with? Whilst we acknowledge that outcome based goals can provide you with clear targets for achieving something, it also could give rise to feelings of failure and self-hate should you not achieve them. The trick is to set learning goals (mastery goals) in your health & wellness improvement journey. These may take form in small goals and will help you feel accomplished along the way. Examples may include, learning how to set up weekly meal plans, learning about the nutritional value in your food, taking up some form of exercise, learning about the impact smoking as on health, learning a new Yoga pose or Meditation style, mastering the practice of mindful eating, or learning about the Psychology of health & wellbeing on the Chew the Phat Health Coaching blog.
  • Reframe your outcome: Try replacing words such as ‘pass’, ‘fail’, ‘right’, ‘wrong’ with phrases such as not yet’ . This will give you a sense of potential for ongoing learning and mastery to occur, and an understanding that you are still on your way to achieving your goal.
  • Remember the time you achieved a goal:
    • How did you achieve it?
    • What types of goals did you set?
    • Did you prepare for it?
    • Work hard for it?
    • Persevere in the face of setbacks?
    • Did you have to revise what was not working and strategize other ways to achieve your goal?

Have you implemented any strategies to change your mindset? How do you think you can develop a growth mindset in your goal setting?

We would love to hear from you!

Love Stef from Chew the Phat Health Coaching xoxo



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