5 major points to remember when cultivating the right mindset for persistent life changes – by Ana Sofia Batista
How many times have you tried to change something in your life, either to lose weight, exercise more, or start a habit that will help to develop yourself (like
building your own business) and then failed at doing it consistently?
I certainly have and I know how frustrating it is to want something but not act
Someone once said “you are your worst enemy”, and that’s not only true as it is frustrating.
So how can we overcome our inner tendency to sabotage ourselves and keep a mindset that will help to create and maintain sustained changes?
First of all we need to understand what a mindset is. The term was introduced by
the renewed psychologist Carol Dweck, after years of research on achievement
and success, and it relates to the tendencies of the mind to perceive things in a
More specifically, she identified two distinct types of achievement and success
mindset: fixed and growth.
She discovered that people with a fixed mindset are more likely to believe that
their capabilities, talent and brains are fixed traits that cannot be developed, and
tend to feel discouraged by challenges. While people with a growth mindset tend
to believe that their talent and brains are just a starting point from where they
can improve with practice and therefore feel inspired by the learning of process
that a challenge presents.
Our society and our schools, encourage the development of fixed mindsets when
grades are given to end results rather than to a measurement of progress. So
most of the time, when we try to create a new habit or start a new life endeavour,
and we start doing something which we are naturally not very good at, to begin
with. And instead of being inspired by the challenge, fixed mindsets tend to get
unmotivated by little results and how hard the learning process seems to be.
Not mastering what you propose yourself to do brings up that voice that says
“I’m just not good enough to do this”; motivation drops and persistence becomes
impossible to sustain.
Keeping the right mindset to sustain durable changes means focusing on the
process of change rather than the results one is trying to achieve.
Professor Dweck suggested that one way to cultivate the right mindset for
success is to give up the tyranny of “now” and start giving more value to the
word “yet”. As she explains in her TED talk
_improve), forget what you can’t do or don’t have now and keep remembering
that what you can’t do or have (whatever that is), is only not available to you yet.
Adding to this, here are 5 points to consider when cultivating the right mindset
1. Progress matters most. Forget about results and pat yourself on the back for
your efforts and even the failures. Failing means you’re trying and you can only
achieve something if you try it. So start praising your attempts more than
anything else. If every success is born from a succession of failed attempts, the
more you try and fail the more chances you have to succeed.
2. Set yourself small achievable goals and celebrate your achievements. Our
motivation is fuelled by our brain’s hormones. If you set yourself a huge goal that
takes a life time to achieve your brain will inevitable feel unmotivated after a
while. But with each small goal you achieve you’re generating a rush of
dopamine in your brain which will motivate you to go after your next goal.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people so you don’t feel isolated on your
quest. Besides, you’ll develop your skills much faster with the advice of those
who have been where you are before, in the same way as you can share your
experience with those who are further back in the path. This will also give you a
better sense of your progress and development and silence the less friendly voice
in your mind that appears every now and then to say “I can’t do it, I’m just not
4. Find a mentor. I cannot stress enough how important this is. I have wasted
years trying to do everything on my own because “I was start enough to figure
everything out by myself”. Well, the moment I opened up for some help and
guidance everything changed. No matter how smart, well informed and open
minded you are, your mentor will always bring into the relationship the benefit
of her own experience and expertise, plus the fact that she can look at you from
an external, non-biased point of view. Besides, she will be working for your
success, guide and inspire you to take action, and keep you accountable to
sustain your work consistently.
5. Make sure to take some regular “me” time. Even if you’re working on evenings
and weekends to make every minute count, some things are absolutely essential
in your life, and your mind’s health is one of them. So consider your “me” time as
fundamental as brushing your teeth. Your brain needs to be nourished to keep
running strong and motivated. Abusing it and not giving it a break will only
result in a tired, unfocused and unhappy mind. Go for a walk, read a good book,
or take a long bath. Whatever speaks most to you and makes you feel good will
help you to balance your hard work and endure your efforts.
Want to know more about how to keep the brain motivated and happy?
Subscribe to my list and download a cute little printable with my suggestion of
40 nourishing activities for your brain.