by Coach Aaron Hyatt
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 they were going to do it in their head. In this article, I discuss why mindset is so important and provide a few tips to help you change your mindset and achieve your goals.
There are two different mindsets that one can have, a growth mindset or a 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 certain people are born with good genes and that is the reason they are successful. These people believe they 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 a lie people tell themselves to feel better about not achieving what they would like to achieve. People with a growth mindset, however, believe they can achieve anything 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 their goals are, what it will take to achieve them, put systems in place that will help them get there, and then attack them relentlessly. They most likely have 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, you will recognize it when you hear it. Such people will most likely quit any fitness program after a few months and never get the results they could have, because they don’t believe they can. They tell themselves 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, 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, they take full responsibility for the shape they are in. Overall, they realize you get out what you put in and 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 and realize you are in control of your life. If you want to achieve something, it is up to you, and only you, to achieve it. If you need a coach, it is up to you to find the best coach. If your coach isn’t cutting it, find a better one. If you need accountability, find people who will hold you accountable. If you need to get your diet in check, get your diet in check. If you need to learn more, 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, it is up to you to make the necessary changes—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 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 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 you can to achieve it. Remember, 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 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, find someone who does know what to do and ask them. If you need to learn more, look things up on the Internet. If you need guidance, 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 people with nothing but fixed mindsets, it will be very hard for you to have a growth mindset.
Remember this: no one ever achieved anything in life without first achieving it in their mind. If you have a goal, envision it in your mind, plan out how you will achieve it, and do everything in your power to get there. 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 you can do anything you want to do. The outcome is up to you.