How to Change Your Mindset to Change Your Health
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
Last week I introduced you to the idea that you can change your mind to change your health.
I also introduced you to a book called ‘Mindset’, by renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. I have applied the concepts in her book to health and wellness to let you know that it really is possible to make a change in your current level of health and wellness!
Dr. Dweck outlines 2 different mindsets.
People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits (ability to be healthy or not) are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent (health, fitness, energy) and nothing can change that.
If they have a lot (they are superfit and healthy), they’re all set, but if they don’t… they’ll never be able to change it.
People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Sure they’re happy if they’re brainy or talented, (or fit and healthy) but that’s just the starting point.
They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things without years of passionate practice and learning.
Having a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity not only in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships and it gives people a huge advantage in having better health and wellness.
We established that all great, successful people have a growth mindset and as such, it would be a good idea to try to make sure that you have a growth mindset as well.
This leads to the question:
How can you change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?
Step1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”
As you approach a health or wellness challenge, that voice might say to you:
“Are you sure you can do it?
Maybe you don’t have the willpower.”
“What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”
“If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”
As you hit a setback, the voice might say:
“This would have been a snap if you really had what it takes.”
“You see, I told you it was a risk. Now you’ve gone and shown the world how limited you are.”
“It’s not too late to back out, make excuses, and try to regain your dignity.”
As you face criticism, you might hear yourself say:
“It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”
Step 2. Recognize that you have a choice.
How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice. You can interpret them in a fixed mindset as signs that your fixed talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s up to you.
So as you face challenges, setbacks, and criticism, listen to the fixed mindset voice and…
Step 3. Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.
As you approach a health and wellness challenge:
FIXED says “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”
GROWTH answers, “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.”
FIXED: “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”
GROWTH: “Most successful people had failures along the way.”
FIXED: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”
GROWTH: “If I don’t try, I automatically fail. Where’s the dignity in that?”
As you hit a setback:
FIXED: “This would have been a snap if you really had what it takes.”
GROWTH: “That is so wrong. Basketball wasn’t easy for Michael Jordan and science wasn’t easy for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.
As you face criticism:
FIXED: “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”
GROWTH: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen—however painful it is– and learn whatever I can.”
Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.
Over time, which voice you listen to becomes pretty much your choice. Whether you
- take on the challenge wholeheartedly,
- learn from your setbacks and try again
- hear the criticism and act on it is now in your hands.
Practice hearing both voices, and practice acting on the growth mindset. See how you can make it work for you.
The mindset that you approach your challenges from has a HUGE impact on getting past a current bad health habit or getting healthy again or managing something chronic or even terminal.
You really can change your health, and as a result, your life, if you start by changing your mind.
Are you ready to change your mindset to the growth mindset?
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series ‘Living Well” inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.