Building lean muscle, increasing endurance, and burning fat are all physical goals, but none of them can be achieved with a poor mindset. The way you think about your own health and fitness is actually the key to success that lasts. The degree of success you will achieve ultimately comes down to choosing between two different ways of thinking:

 A growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Long-term health and fitness results are best achieved by fostering a growth mindset. Let’s look at the difference in these two ways of thinking and how you can begin (or continue) focusing on growth.


What it Means to Have a Growth Mindset VS a Fixed Mindset

Someone with a “fixed mindset” believes intelligence, character, and talent can’t be changed. In a fixed mindset, success only comes if you have enough skill for it (or you get lucky)—without additional effort.

Because of this belief, when someone has a fixed mindset, they don’t spend time developing their skills. Whether they are conscious of it or not, there’s an underlying belief that their effort won’t make a difference. They may also avoid failure in any way because they:

  • Are afraid of making mistakes.
  • In their mind, failure is embarrassing or shameful and a sign that they aren’t “good enough.”
  • Think failing indicates a lack of talent or skill
  • (so what’s the point of trying?).
  • Believe our successes or failures are an indication of personal worth.

This is not to put down those who struggle with these thoughts, this way of thinking is actually very natural and is often perpetuated by the quick fix gratification fuelled, social media motivated society that we are in. Many of us battle with a fixed mindset every day. But recognizing the thought patterns of a fixed mindset helps us reframe how we think about success and failure.


The Basics of a Growth Mindset

By contrast, having a growth mindset means believing you can start with your most basic abilities and—through hard work and dedication—develop them over time. Instead of worrying about where you’re starting or where you are now, you’re always focused on improving. The phrase “progress, not perfection” is integral to a growth mindset.

So many great athletes from all sports and activities have had to think with a growth mindset. In fact, Pro athletes and top sports teams often express the view that failure is an opportunity for growth and learning—not an indication of personal worth.

So the real question is: which person do you want to be? Are you willing to live with a growth mindset and embrace failure so you can continue to grow and meet your fitness goals? Read on for some ways to do just that.


How To Use a Growth Mindset For Your Health And Fitness Goals

It is all about working up from wherever you are now. You can absolutely get the results you want and live a healthy life no matter where you start from. That’s the definition of a growth mindset.

Here are just a few ways and pointers you can use to incorporate this way of thinking in order to achieve your goals.


Don’t Chase Perfection

This is so important, especially if you’re new to health and fitness. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, but also be realistic about your goals. In other words, don’t fall into the trap of perfectionism.

Also, don’t assume the path to your fitness goals will be linear. Be open to change and bumps along the way—and improvise when you need to. For example:

-Maybe you have to travel for work unexpectedly. Instead of assuming there’s now no way to continue your workout routine, book a hotel with a gym or bring workout equipment with you.

-Or, maybe your day-to-day obligations change and you have to move around what times you workout. Be open to shifting around your schedule to still include exercise.

-If you have a busy schedule, instead of grabbing fast food, pack healthy snacks to keep with you, or start meal-prepping for the week.


Set Goals

Recognize where you are now and where you want to go. What are your goals? Do you want to lose or maintain weight? Tone up and build muscle? Be more active? Start eating more whole foods?

When your goals are specific, they’re more attainable. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Get clear on the specific goal you want to achieve, and write it down.
  • Why do you want to change?
  • What is your “why”? Maybe it’s to have more energy, attain a certain physique, feel better, or prevent your risk of disease. Maybe it’s all of that. 
  • How will you achieve that goal?
  • Will you work out each morning before you start your day? Prep your healthy meals each weekend? The “how” is a huge part of meeting any goal because it actually makes you follow through.
  • What is the timeline for your goal?
  • By what date are you hoping to meet your goal? If it’s a big one, such as losing a lot of weight or gaining a lot of muscle, you might even break the goal up into smaller milestones. Make it achievable and something you can really work towards.

Celebrate Progress

Remember that goals are just that: goals. Even if you fail to reach a specific goal, it doesn’t make you a failure.

Recognize how far you have come, then reframe the goal to fit your current situation. You must celebrate the steps along the way because sustainable fitness is life-long, and you will always be growing and changing. This is a growth mindset.


Make Exercise Fit Your Lifestyle 

There’s a reason gyms have the most business after New Year’s—only to drop off after a couple of months. Many people crash and burn after starting a fitness routine because of an unrealistic, fixed mindset about health and fitness.

You need an exercise routine that can fit into your life. Sure, you might have to make sacrifices too, but think about a balance that makes sense on a daily basis. Otherwise, it’s all-too-easy to give up after a few months if your fitness habits are not sustainable. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get results, you just need the right mindset that is focused on achieving, positivity, specific goals and being flexible. 

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