Many people believe that fitness is about having great genetics, getting coached by the best trainers, and buying the right supplements.
While beneficial, these things don’t matter nearly as much as the attitude we carry. Mindset dictates our beliefs, the effort we put into our training, and the results we can achieve. In other words, your attitude is the foundation that dictates everything else.
What Is Mindset, And Why Does It Matter?
Mindset could refer to numerous things, but perhaps the most accurate description is this:
Your mindset is the collection of biases, beliefs, and thoughts. We each carry a unique mindset, which allows us to perceive the world in unique ways. Five people could read the same article and interpret it differently.
For example, let’s say that two people read the same article on a successful weight loss story. Person A might conclude, “Ah, that guy has good genetics,” but person B might think, “Oh, the person must have worked hard for months!”
Researchers in the field of psychology have examined two types of mindset:
- Fixed mindset
- Growth mindset
Folks with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities, habits, and life situation aren’t subject to change. In contrast, those with a growth mindset believe that every aspect of life can change for the better, so long as they are willing to work hard.
Having a growth mindset is necessary because it implies that improvements are possible through hard work and consistency. In contrast, people with a fixed mindset struggle to make good fitness progress or remain consistent because of limiting beliefs. After all, why would you work hard for something if you’re sure that improvement is impossible?
Develop a Growth Mindset In Three Steps
Step 1: Surround Yourself With People Who Have What You Want
A good way to start believing that change is possible is to surround yourself with people who’ve achieved what you want. For example, if you’ve always struggled to lose weight, find people who were overweight and have gotten fit. Interacting with these people can teach you a lot about what you need to do, and it will ingrain the belief that what you want is within reach.
Step 2: Push Yourself Hard
Part of developing a growth mindset comes from making progress toward a goal. But to do that, you need to work hard. In other words, confidence comes with experience.
One of the best ways to change your attitude is to start applying yourself. Consume some knowledge, apply it, track your progress, and make adjustments along the way.
Hard work creates some success, motivating you to keep going and make even more progress.
Step 3: Be Mindful of Your Thoughts
Thoughts come and go all the time, and we rarely pay much attention to their substance or origin. The issue is, entertaining the wrong beliefs can hinder your progress and prevent you from reaching your goals.
One common belief among people with a fixed mindset is that they have bad genetics. “What’s the point? I have wide hips and narrow shoulders, so I’ll never look good!” While negative beliefs might have some validity, feeding them does nothing positive for you.
Avoid these common traps by examining the origin of the belief, inspecting its validity, and replacing negative thoughts with more optimistic views. For example, you might not have the best genetics, but should this stop you from getting fit? Plus, how can you truly know you have bad genetics if you haven’t spent years in the gym, training hard?