I really do believe that mindset is everything. Because whether you’re trying to get fit, start a business, or just be a happier person, you’re not going to reach your goals if you’re not in the right headspace.
But sometimes achieving that “growth mindset” is a lot easier said than done.
I’ve come to think that’s because, in most cases, a true change in mindset is more than just a conscious choice to think differently.
Because choosing to think a positive thought is rarely enough on its own to change your perspective about something.
That’s why I think that a true mindset change comes from a culmination of what you are feeding your mind every day.
If you are what you eat, then we are what we think, right?
That’s why today, I want to talk about some ideas on how to change your mindset for success by being aware of what’s making up your mental diet.
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My Own Mindset Change
In my early-to-mid 20s, (which was longer ago than I like to think about), I didn’t have a whole lot of faith that I would accomplish much.
I took the “minimalist approach” to high school, and the write-ups and dismissals from my first couple of part-time jobs indicated I was decidedly not the model employee.
I scraped through college with the lowest possible passing grades and graduated with no desire to pursue a job in my field of study. (Which was jazz trumpet, believe it or not. Another story for another time, perhaps!)
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I thought it would be a miracle to find a job that I was competent enough at to pay my bills.
It’s been more than a decade since then, and while I am definitely not what anyone would call “wildly successful”, I’ve come much further than I ever thought I would, back then. (I certainly never anticipated I’d start a 5-figure side-business on top of my full-time career.)
Even more importantly, I believe I can still go much further yet.
And it’s just such a great thing to believe in your own potential. Everyone should have that.
And if you don’t, the good news is, you can.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I lapse into self-defeatist talk and other similar forms of cerebral gloom sometimes. (I rarely talk about it, but I’ve had significant battles with GAD.)
But when that happens, I know it’s not my baseline, and I have the mental tools available to replace those thoughts with things that will help me learn, grow, or move forward.
So if you’re feeling discouraged or stuck in a rut, it could be time to audit your mental diet and start feeding your mind with things that will elevate and propel you.
Here are some methods I have learned over the years that I find really helpful.
Habitually appreciate the good things
Or, as pretty much every self-help book calls it, “practice gratitude.”
Look, I know the whole “just count your blessings and be grateful!” diatribe can sometimes feel like a facepalm-inducing cliche.
But honestly, if you make a habit of recounting the good things your life, it really does start to shift your outlook and give you hope.
It’s not easy to do every day, especially during times when it feels like everything is going wrong. And it’s much easier to feel dissatisfied with what you already do have.
It takes active practice.
Although exercises like journaling and meditation are great, it can be way simpler than that and still have a positive impact.
For example, before I roll out of bed every morning, I try to take a minute to think about two or three good things that are going on in my life and be appreciative of them. And I get to start off my day with just a little more positivity.
Listen to the voices that fire you up
The truth is, setting a positive tone for yourself isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve been trapped in a difficult headspace for a while. In the early stages, it can be really tough to talk positively to yourself in a way that feels authentic.
That’s when you need to listen to someone else. But make sure it’s the right someone else.
How do you know it’s right?
I think it’s anyone who makes you feel like a boss after listening to what they have to say. It’s that hopeful, encouraging, and caring voice.
Any voice that makes you feel anxious, angry, resentful, spiteful or less than you want to be, is the wrong voice.
Sadly, those wrong voices can sometimes include people you are close to. These people aren’t usually intentionally trying to make you feel bad – they may even mean well but may not understand how their words are affecting you. (Heck, you may not even consciously realize yourself how they’re affecting you.)
Other people have their own hangups and, either intentionally or unintentionally, try to cast that onto you.
I’ve been really fortunate to have a few wonderful people in my life who are that lifting voice for me.
But if you’re struggling to find those positive voices that inspire you in your life, start looking for personal development blogs, podcasts, and books to find someone whose message resonates with you.
For me, that person is Rachel Hollis. Every time I listen to her podcast or read one of her books, I feel so revved up, motivated, and empowered.
Side note, if you have not read her latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, then girl, stop what you’re doing right now and go pick up a copy! (The Audible version comes with some cool downloadable prints!)
Set a new goal for yourself
Speaking of Rachel Hollis and her latest book, there is one simple quote from GSA that I think defines a goal really succinctly:
Rachel says, “A goal is a dream with its workboots on.”
Because dreams are nice, but they’re passive.
Goals lend themselves to a sense of drive and purpose. And that’s empowerment. That’s authentic positivity.
Pursuing a big goal is to pursue a kind of joy.
Of course, the key word here is “pursue”; a goal is only a goal if you have an action plan to get there.
So write yourself an action plan and make sure each step is accompanied by a date you are going to complete it by. (If you need help putting an organized action plan in place, this post about organization and this one about Trello can help with that!)
There’s nothing wrong with starting small to set yourself up for success, either. With the celebration of each small win, you’re nurturing that growth mindset.
I think to change your mindset for success you need to embrace the role of the eternal student. Honestly, I can see how this one comes across as pretentious-sounding, especially considering my less-than-stellar college transcripts.
I’m not going to lie, I hated being a student when I was younger. But its never too late to change.
(And its a lot more motivating when you’ve made the choice to learn rather than when you’re feeling forced to.)
The most successful people in the world are the ones who know they will never be done learning. They’re the ones who find the lessons in failures and use them to keep growing.
Lifelong learners are the ones you use the word, “yet”.
I don’t know how to do that… yet.
That’s something I don’t understand… yet.
I haven’t been successful… yet.
Whenever you feel like you defeated by something, get into the practice of tagging “yet” at the end of that inner monologue. Make the decision not to give up, and somehow you will overcome that obstacle sooner or later.
It’s common knowledge that if you eat crap, you’re going to feel like crap.
It only makes sense then, that if you feed your brain crap, you’re also going to feel like crap.
Make a conscious effort to control the things you feed your mind, and over time you will notice a real difference. A real mindset change isn’t “pretending”, its a true shift in perspective where you approach life with an attitude of growth.
Mindset changes take time and, in my opinion, it’s not something that you ever achieve with perfection. (Because we’re human!) Think of it more as an ongoing practice. If you’re actively working towards adopting that growth mindset as part of your daily routine, you will start seeing big changes in your life.
Real positivity, gratitude, and growth are achieved through practice. And that kind of mindset change can transform your life the same away exercise can transform your physical health.
What has become part of your mental diet?
Do you have any more tips for how to change your mindset for success?
Let me know in the comments!