Having a growth mindset makes it easier to step outside of your comfort zone, build new healthy habits, and achieve your goals.
If you’re not yet familiar with the growth and fixed mindsets, you may want to take a moment to learn about the mindsets and how they affect your ability to achieve your goals.
If you’re already familiar with the growth and fixed mindsets, here’s a quick refresher before we jump into how to develop a growth mindset.
How To Develop A Growth Mindset
Now that you know the basic characteristics of the growth and fixed mindset, and how they can affect your ability to achieve your goals, let’s dive right into how to go about actually developing a growth mindset.
#1 – Become More Aware Of Your Mindset
The first step to adopting a growth mindset, is the ability to recognize fixed mindset thoughts in yourself,and replace them with growth mindset thoughts.
So how can you recognize growth and fixed mindset thoughts?
Let’s take a lesson about the “Power Of Yet” from Janelle Monáe and the Sesame Street gang! (Did she say Sesame Street?! – yup, you heard me right!)
The table below summarizes how to recognized growth and fixed mindset thoughts:
Now that you’re able to recognize what the fixed mindset sounds like, pay more attention to your thoughts.
Listen for fixed mindset thoughts, and pay attention to your triggers – certain situations that may seem to cause these fixed mindset thoughts. For example, is it when you’ve: failed, are frustrated, or compare yourself to others etc.?
Then, when you recognize a fixed mindset thought, try to replace them with growth mindset thoughts as in the table above.
#2 – Convince Yourself That You CAN Improve With Effort
The main belief of people with a fixed mindset is that their traits (such as intelligence, athletic and artistic ability, etc.) are fixed. If traits are fixed, it follows that no amount of effort can help them improve.
While it can sometimes seem this way (especially when you’re struggling and frustrated) you’ve probably had experiences that contradict this belief.
For example, take a few moments, and answer the following questions with as many examples as you can.
Oh, and don’t forget to write them down!
- What was once hard for you, that is now easy?
- What did you once believe was impossible, but you ended up accomplishing anyway?
For example, my answers might look something like this:
- I used to be terrified of public speaking, but overcame this with practice, to teach classes at a community college.
- I once believed it was impossible for me to become a college athlete, but I went on to make the track team at the University of Washington.
Now it’s your turn! Were you able to come up with some examples of how you have improved over time through consistent effort and practice?
#3 – Give Yourself Permission To Make Mistakes
Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Mistakes are human. Mistakes are how we learn and improve."Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing." -H. Stanley Judd Click To Tweet
Once you’ve given yourself permission to make mistakes, you’ll be amazed how quickly the fear of trying something new fades away."Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill Click To Tweet
#4 – Learn To Accurately Assess Your Strengths And Weaknesses
In order to be able to improve at something, it is important to be able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Admitting weaknesses can be especially difficult for a person with a fixed mindset. They feel the need to always prove their worth to others, and therefore must hide their weaknesses rather than acknowledge them.
However, growth minded individuals understand that in order to be able to improve, you must first be willing to admit your weaknesses.
So remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, it’s only human.
Once you’ve admitted your weaknesses to yourself, you can now form a plan about how to turn them into strengths!
#5 – Learn To Love The Process
To develop a growth mindset, you must learn to love the process of working towards your goal, rather than just achieving it."If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice." -James Clear Click To Tweet
The reason for this is simple. If we enjoy doing something, we’re more likely to do it. This is what’s known as internal motivation which is the highest form of motivation.
People with the growth mindset tend to enjoy the process of learning, working towards something, and seeing progress. They have internal motivation to achieve their goals.
You may not necessarily enjoy your goal – say you’re trying to eat healthier – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the process of showing up for yourself every day, prioritizing your health, and giving it your all!
[Related: Check out this post for a detailed guide on how to write goals that focus on the process.]
#6 – Reflect Often To Learn Lessons Faster
When working on a new goal or habit, there can be a steep learning curve.
Unfortunately, when tackling something new, people often continue making mistakes for far too long without realizing it. This of course, tends to lead to frustration and maybe even failure.
The fix for this situation is to learn what is and isn’t working faster, so that you can course-correct sooner and save valuable time.
To learn faster, reflect on your progress often. When working on a new goal, ask yourself the following three questions each night:
- What went well today?
- What didn’t go so well today?
- How can I make tomorrow better?
Then, if you need to, don’t be afraid to revise the plan going forward.
#7 – Celebrate Effort, Progress & Learning
We as humans have this habit of saying I’ll be happy when… x, y, or z happens.
Tal Ben-Shahar, author of the book Happier, calls this notion the “arrival fallacy”.
The arrival fallacy is the idea that when you arrive at a certain destination or goal, then you will be happy.
It makes sense, when we finally achieve a goal that we worked so hard at, we should be happy right?
You’d think so, but research says differently."The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate." -Gretchen Rubin Click To Tweet
The solution to this arrival fantasy is to reward yourself for effort, progress and learning, not just accomplishments.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb (among probably hundreds of other things) is a master of this.
In this quote, we can see that Edison does not see those 10,000 non-light-producing lightbulbs as failures. Instead he sees them as lessons – 10,000 lessons on what doesn’t work. To him, figuring out what doesn’t work isn’t discouraging, it’s progress, because he learned something.
Think about that.
Here are some examples of how you can celebrate effort, progress, and learning:
- Track your goals so you can see measurable progress day by day and week by week.
- Reflect often on lessons learned from your mistakes, and give yourself credit for sticking with it – as Edison did.
- Celebrate and reward yourself for the little victories all along the way – not just the end result.
If you do these things, you can be happy now, rather than maybe being happy later.
#8 – Ask For Feedback
Okay, I’ll admit, it can be tough to ask for feedback from others, but hear me out on this one."The shortest route to self-progress is to pay attention to negative feedback." -Hector Garcia Click To Tweet
While it can sometimes be hard to hear, if we can receive feedback without taking it personally, it can significantly speed up our learning process.
The key is to ask for honest feedback from people who either know you well, or are experts on the topic we wish to learn about.
Hector Garcia, author of The Ikigai Journey, suggests that the “stop, keep doing, start” method is the best way to get honest feedback.
To use this method, ask for constructive criticism in the following way:
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I keep doing?
- What should I start doing?
By asking these questions you will learn what you are doing well, where your opportunities for growth are, and maybe even get a few new ideas about how to move forward!
#9 – Continuously Seek Out Challenges
Challenges are opportunities for growth. It’s great to accept challenges when they come your way, but you’ll learn and improve even more if you actively seek them out.
One way to seek out challenges, is to make a habit of stepping out of your comfort zone.
For example, if you are uncomfortable with asking for feedback, as mentioned in #8 above, it would be a great opportunity to practice the habit of stepping out of your comfort zone so that you can build up to asking for feedback from others.
Another way to continuously seek out challenges is to set a new goal or mission once you’ve finished the last one.
This habit ensures that you are always learning, growing and improving!
Developing a growth mindset makes it easier to learn from your mistakes, step out of your comfort zone, give something all of your effort, and ultimately achieve your goals.
The growth mindset takes some time to develop, but here are 9 ways you can get started today:
- Become more aware of your mindset.
- Convince yourself that you can improve with effort.
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
- Learn to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn to love the process.
- Reflect often to learn lessons faster.
- Celebrate effort, progress & learning.
- Ask for feedback.
- Continuously seek out challenges.
If you can do these 9 things, you will be well on your way to developing a growth mindset, and achieving a happier and healthier you!
Oh, and if you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends and family on social media. Everyone can benefit from a growth mindset, so sharing is caring!