Mindset is one of the most important aspects in determining if you are going to be successful in your training or not. In fact, I would argue that it is THE most important aspect. Before you ever lose weight, get in shape, get stronger, eat better, etc., you must do it in your head. No person ever achieved a goal without first deciding that they were going to do it in their head. In this article I want to talk about why mindset is so important and give you some tips to help you change your mindset and achieve your goals.
If you have spent any extended time around me then you have probably heard me talk about growth mindset and fixed mindset. In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck defines these two terms and talks about why it is so important to have a growth mindset. In life many people have a fixed mindset, which means they believe that their talents and abilities are fixed and cannot be changed. These people believe that certain people were born with good genes and that is the reason they are successful. These people believe that they just weren't born to be fit, or smart, or skinny, or successful, or whatever the case may be. Dweck goes on to dispel this myth and show why people who achieve things in life got there by countless hours of work and dedication. The fixed mindset is just a lie that people tell themselves to feel better about not achieving what they would like to achieve. People with a growth mindset, however, believe that they can achieve anything that they would like to by putting in enough work. These are the people who succeed at the highest levels of any area. They know what goals they have, what it will take to achieve them, put systems in place that will help them get there, and then attack them relentlessly. They have most likely found out what successful people do and modeled their behavior after them. If you read any autobiography of a super successful person, or hear them talk, or meet them in person you will quickly pick up on this. They would not be where they are without having a growth mindset.
So what does having a fixed mindset look like in regards to health and fitness? People with a fixed mindset will say things like "I wish I had their metabolism or genetics" or "I peaked in high school" or "I could never do that" or "obesity runs in my family." There are a million other ways this mindset can manifest itself, but if you know what you are looking for then you will recognize it when people talk. These people will most likely quit any fitness program after a few months and will never get the results they could because they don't believe they can. They tell themselves that they can't achieve whatever it is they want to achieve because of their genetics to make themselves feel better about not putting in the work required. If they are not where they want to be in a fitness program then they will blame their trainer, or friends, or job, or schedule, or anyone and anything else they can think of. They will also spend a ton of time comparing themselves to others and making excuses for why someone else is in better shape, stronger, skinnier, etc. than them. A person with a growth mindset, however, will say things like "I can't do that YET" or "I just want to be consistent" or "I want to give my best effort every time I come in." These people realize that where they are in their health and fitness is a representation of their effort and consistency only and the work they have or have not put in. If they have not been training consistently then they take full responsibility for the shape they are in. Overall, they realize that you get out what you put in and that the harder the work they put in the more progress they will make.
We all have a fixed mindset in some areas and a growth mindset in others. The goal is to think more growth mindset every day in your life and realize that you are in control of your life. If you want to achieve something then it is up to you, and only you, to achieve it. If you need a coach then it is up to you to find the best coach. If your coach isn't cutting it then you should find a better one. If you need accountability then you should find people who will hold you accountable. If you need to get your diet in check then get your diet in check. If you need to learn more then do the research and learn more. So many people blame their circumstances for their results, but at the end of the day we only have ourselves to blame for where we are in life. If you are not happy then it is up to you to make the changes that you need-no one is going to do it for you.
So how do you have a better mindset with your training? The first step is realizing that you are in control of your own health and fitness. If you want to get stronger, lose weight, or anything else it must start in your own mind. You must believe that you can do it and come up with a plan to get there. Once you have a plan you must hold yourself accountable to do everything that you can to achieve it. Remember that whatever result you get will be solely a representation of your own resourcefulness, effort, and consistency. There is freedom in realizing this because once you realize you are in control, you realize that you can achieve whatever you want! I would challenge you to start taking the steps towards your goals that you know you need to. If you have a goal but don't know what to do then find someone who does know what to do and ask them. If you need to learn more then look things up on the internet. If you need guidance then ask a coach. If you want to achieve something great find someone who has achieved it and ask them how they did it. And finally, surround yourself with people with a growth mindset. Mindset is contagious and if you are around nothing but people with fixed mindsets it will be very hard for you to have a growth mindset.
I want to leave you with this. No one ever achieved anything in life without first achieving it in their mind. If you have a goal then see it done in your mind, plan out how you will achieve it, and do everything in your power to get it. Be introspective about your thoughts and challenge yourself to have a growth mindset in every area of your life. Surround yourself with people who are more successful than you. And above all, remember that you can do anything that you want to do. The outcome is up to you.