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The Importance of a Growth Mindset

There is a direct relationship between a Growth Mindset and improving our problem-solving abilities and confidence in handling challenging situations.

By Kyle Sewell, Master Trainer at Camberwell

The concept of a Growth Mindset was first coined by Stanford University Psychology Professor, Carol Dweck.  Her work, published in 1998, revolutionized methods of education, coaching, personal and professional development. This work highlighted a shift towards praising effort over identity and intelligence.

A Growth Mindset hinges on research showing our abilities are not fixed and we can improve at things.   Those embodying a Growth Mindset understand that success depends on time and effort; hard work, undertaken consistently, leading to results. A Growth Mindset has been shown to improve mental fortitude, resilience, enabling us to perform better under pressure, have better decision-making skills, plus a more positive outlook on life.

Dweck identified that a Growth Mindset is developed by seeking out and embracing challenges. There is a direct relationship between a Growth Mindset and improving our problem-solving abilities and confidence in handling challenging situations.

Those with a Growth Mindset see failure and setbacks as positive learning experiences.  As well as embracing challenges and failures, it requires us to have an open mind and be open to change. Operating from a Growth Mindset enhances our (self) belief. The more we seek discomfort, and challenges, the more accustomed and adept we will be at dealing with them; you can’t get better at things by avoiding them.  You are more likely to take consistent action, seeking out discomfort and challenges and staying motivated in the face of adversity.

Although originally used in academia, developing a Growth Mindset helps us improve in all aspects of our life.  In particular achieving physical health & fitness goals. 

Every time you step into the gym, there is an opportunity to grow.   Working through a challenging workout, increasing weight or reps (or both), working that little bit harder when your body is telling you to stop, these are all examples of where a Growth Mindset comes into play.  The very nature of physical training and improving fitness demands we challenge our muscles and energy systems and purposely strive for failure.  This is the fundamental of progressive overload.  We apply effort and are rewarded for this.  The problem is that the reward for effort is not instant. It takes weeks, months or even years to see progress and results.  Furthermore, after our goals are achieved, we must constantly apply ourselves to maintain those results. This applies to both physical training but also diet and nutrition. 

In a world where we can get so much at the push of a button, this can be demoralising.  A short-term focus and inconsistency is what holds many back from achieving their goals. 

Furthermore, there will be times in anyone’s fitness journey where setbacks will happen. 

Injury, a missed workout, missed meal or poor food choices are all expected.  When progress has stalled and you plateau in your results, be it performance or roadblocks with your goals, this is when a Growth Mindset is that much more imperative.

Impatience inconsistency and plateau pale in comparison to the impact our internal, and sometimes external, dialogue and mindset can have on our goals.  As Confucius said, “They who say they can and those who say they can’t are both right.”; an affirmative “I can” will outweigh and serve us better than a self-defeating “I can’t”.  The most important conversations we have will be the ones we have with ourself.  We are often victims of our own preconditioned beliefs and internal dialogues.  Managing self-doubt and lack of self- confidence will be an ongoing part of our developmental process.  There must be some level of openness, acceptance and willingness to change. It is the internal dialogue that comes from having a Growth Mindset that will drive motivation and accomplishment. 

However, sometimes our own mindset is not enough.  This is when having the right support system comes into play.  The right coaching from your trainer will keep you on track, accountable and in line with your goals. Your trainer will be there to cultivate growth and development.  Coaching outside of the gym, making the best lifestyle choices, but also coaching and motivation in the gym and in sets; progressing and striving for extra reps, weight.

Typically, when it comes to training, we only think of the physical aspects, however, training is not only physically challenging, it is also mentally challenging.  Self-doubt, fear and wanting to play it safe, these are things that can limit progress.  Your trainer will challenge these thoughts, beliefs and perceptions, compelling you to push beyond the physical and mental discomfort, thriving for more.  It is in this space that progress and results really happen.

Growth Mindset is an integral part of the goal setting process.  At Vision, we understand how imperative this process is but also how daunting this process can be. We know emotions are the driving force behind a lot of what we do.  Members are encouraged to dare to dream, with the right coaching and in changing emotions, mindset and behaviours it ensures those dreams become reality and results are sustainable for life.

With accountability, motivation and inspiration we set goals with our members.  Compelling goals both long term (9 weeks) and long term. 

For many, a Growth Mindset could be the difference between achieving or not achieving their fitness, weight management and lifestyle goals.  If you’ve been struggling to do it alone, then there is no better time to ask for help. As any change process is hard, it is important to have the right support and guidance to help make the change process easier.  Oftentimes, we are working with a lifetime of preconditioned beliefs and fixed mindset. When we identify this and come from a place of understanding our thoughts & actions, we are given the choice to move beyond these limitations

Grit, determination, perseverance, these are all words commonly associated with having a Growth Mindset.  Also included in that list could be self-acceptance, ownership, consistency and doing the best you can in any given situation; this will have you feeling empowerment and committed for the long term.

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