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9 Ways To Start Developing A Growth Mindset Right Now

Having a growth mindset makes it easier to step outside of your comfort zone, build new healthy habits, and achieve your goals.

If you’re not yet familiar with the growth and fixed mindsets, you may want to take a moment to learn about the mindsets and how they affect your ability to achieve your goals.

If you’re already familiar with the growth and fixed mindsets, here’s a quick refresher before we jump into how to develop a growth mindset. 

Chart comparing the characteristics of a growth mindset cs. fixed mindset.
Comparison of Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset.

How To Develop A Growth Mindset

Now that you know the basic characteristics of the growth and fixed mindset, and how they can affect your ability to achieve your goals, let’s dive right into how to go about actually developing a growth mindset.

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#1 – Become More Aware Of Your Mindset

The first step to adopting a growth mindset, is the ability to recognize fixed mindset thoughts in yourself,and replace them with growth mindset thoughts.

So how can you recognize growth and fixed mindset thoughts? 

Let’s take a lesson about the “Power Of Yet” from Janelle Monáe and the Sesame Street gang! (Did she say Sesame Street?! – yup, you heard me right!)

The Power Of “Yet”

The table below summarizes how to recognized growth and fixed mindset thoughts:

Example of how to recognize fixed mindset thoughts and reframe them with the growth mindset.

Now that you’re able to recognize what the fixed mindset sounds like, pay more attention to your thoughts. 

Listen for fixed mindset thoughts, and pay attention to your triggers – certain situations that may seem to cause these fixed mindset thoughts. For example, is it when you’ve: failed, are frustrated, or compare yourself to others etc.?

Then, when you recognize a fixed mindset thought, try to replace them with growth mindset thoughts as in the table above.

#2 – Convince Yourself That You CAN Improve With Effort

The main belief of people with a fixed mindset is that their traits (such as intelligence, athletic and artistic ability, etc.) are fixed. If traits are fixed, it follows that no amount of effort can help them improve.

While it can sometimes seem this way (especially when you’re struggling and frustrated) you’ve probably had experiences that contradict this belief.

For example, take a few moments, and answer the following questions with as many examples as you can. 

Oh, and don’t forget to write them down!

  • What was once hard for you, that is now easy?
  • What did you once believe was impossible, but you ended up accomplishing anyway? 

For example, my answers might look something like this:

  • I used to be terrified of public speaking, but overcame this with practice, to teach classes at a community college.
  • I once believed it was impossible for me to become a college athlete, but I went on to make the track team at the University of Washington.

Now it’s your turn! Were you able to come up with some examples of how you have improved over time through consistent effort and practice?

#3 – Give Yourself Permission To Make Mistakes

Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Mistakes are human. Mistakes are how we learn and improve. 

"Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing." -H. Stanley Judd Click To Tweet

Once you’ve given yourself permission to make mistakes, you’ll be amazed how quickly the fear of trying something new fades away. 

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill Click To Tweet

#4 – Learn To Accurately Assess Your Strengths And Weaknesses

In order to be able to improve at something, it is important to be able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses. 

Admitting weaknesses can be especially difficult for a person with a fixed mindset. They feel the need to always prove their worth to others, and therefore must hide their weaknesses rather than acknowledge them. 

However, growth minded individuals understand that in order to be able to improve, you must first be willing to admit your weaknesses.

So remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, it’s only human.

Once you’ve admitted your weaknesses to yourself, you can now form a plan about how to turn them into strengths!

#5 – Learn To Love The Process

To develop a growth mindset, you must learn to love the process of working towards your goal, rather than just achieving it.

"If you want to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it. Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with repetition and practice." -James Clear Click To Tweet

The reason for this is simple. If we enjoy doing something, we’re more likely to do it. This is what’s known as internal motivation which is the highest form of motivation.

People with the growth mindset tend to enjoy the process of learning, working towards something, and seeing progress. They have internal motivation to achieve their goals.

You may not necessarily enjoy your goal – say you’re trying to eat healthier – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the process of showing up for yourself every day, prioritizing your health, and giving it your all!

[Related: Check out this post for a detailed guide on how to write goals that focus on the process.]

With a Growth Mindset, it's never too late to learn something new!
With a Growth Mindset, it’s never too late to learn something new!

#6 – Reflect Often To Learn Lessons Faster

When working on a new goal or habit, there can be a steep learning curve. 

Unfortunately, when tackling something new, people often continue making mistakes for far too long without realizing it. This of course, tends to lead to frustration and maybe even failure.

The fix for this situation is to learn what is and isn’t working faster, so that you can course-correct sooner and save valuable time.

To learn faster, reflect on your progress often. When working on a new goal, ask yourself the following three questions each night:

  • What went well today?
  • What didn’t go so well today?
  • How can I make tomorrow better?

Then, if you need to, don’t be afraid to revise the plan going forward.

#7 – Celebrate Effort, Progress & Learning

We as humans have this habit of saying I’ll be happy when… x, y, or z happens.

Tal Ben-Shahar, author of the book Happier, calls this notion the “arrival fallacy”.

The arrival fallacy is the idea that when you arrive at a certain destination or goal, then you will be happy.

It makes sense, when we finally achieve a goal that we worked so hard at, we should be happy right?

You’d think so, but research says differently.

"The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate." -Gretchen Rubin Click To Tweet

The solution to this arrival fantasy is to reward yourself for effort, progress and learning, not just accomplishments.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb (among probably hundreds of other things) is a master of this.

Growth mindset quote about failing by Thomas Edison

In this quote, we can see that Edison does not see those 10,000 non-light-producing lightbulbs as failures. Instead he sees them as lessons – 10,000 lessons on what doesn’t work. To him, figuring out what doesn’t work isn’t discouraging, it’s progress, because he learned something.

Think about that.

Here are some examples of how you can celebrate effort, progress, and learning:

  • Track your goals so you can see measurable progress day by day and week by week.
  • Reflect often on lessons learned from your mistakes, and give yourself credit for sticking with it – as Edison did.
  • Celebrate and reward yourself for the little victories all along the way – not just the end result.

If you do these things, you can be happy now, rather than maybe being happy later.

#8 – Ask For Feedback

Okay, I’ll admit, it can be tough to ask for feedback from others, but hear me out on this one. 

"The shortest route to self-progress is to pay attention to negative feedback." -Hector Garcia Click To Tweet

While it can sometimes be hard to hear, if we can receive feedback without taking it personally, it can significantly speed up our learning process.

The key is to ask for honest feedback from people who either know you well, or are experts on the topic we wish to learn about.

Hector Garcia, author of The Ikigai Journey, suggests that the “stop, keep doing, start” method is the best way to get honest feedback.

To use this method, ask for constructive criticism in the following way:

  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I start doing?

By asking these questions you will learn what you are doing well, where your opportunities for growth are, and maybe even get a few new ideas about how to move forward!

#9 – Continuously Seek Out Challenges

Challenges are opportunities for growth. It’s great to accept challenges when they come your way, but you’ll learn and improve even more if you actively seek them out.

One way to seek out challenges, is to make a habit of stepping out of your comfort zone.

For example, if you are uncomfortable with asking for feedback, as mentioned in #8 above, it would be a great opportunity to practice the habit of stepping out of your comfort zone so that you can build up to asking for feedback from others.

Another way to continuously seek out challenges is to set a new goal or mission once you’ve finished the last one.

This habit ensures that you are always learning, growing and improving!

Conclusion

Developing a growth mindset makes it easier to learn from your mistakes, step out of your comfort zone, give something all of your effort, and ultimately achieve your goals.

The growth mindset takes some time to develop, but here are 9 ways you can get started today:

  1. Become more aware of your mindset.
  2. Convince yourself that you can improve with effort.
  3. Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
  4. Learn to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Learn to love the process.
  6. Reflect often to learn lessons faster.
  7. Celebrate effort, progress & learning.
  8. Ask for feedback.
  9. Continuously seek out challenges.

If you can do these 9 things, you will be well on your way to developing a growth mindset, and achieving a happier and healthier you!

~Clarissa

Oh, and if you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends and family on social media. Everyone can benefit from a growth mindset, so sharing is caring!

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Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

48 Replies to “9 Ways To Start Developing A Growth Mindset Right Now

  1. Oh I love this. I’m still exploring really how to focus on my mindset at the moment but this has definitely opened my eyes, and really encouraged me to try and teach myself how to have a growing mindset rather than thinking everything is fixed and negative elements are set in stone. This was such an interesting read – thank you!

    Lindsey | https://aramblingreviewer.com

    1. Thank you Lindsey! I am so glad you found it thought provoking. Mindset makes such a big difference in everything we do in life, whether we realize it or not. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and best of luck with your goals! ❤️

  2. I’m struck by how powerful that little word “yet” is in your thought comparisons. Simply adding it to the sentence “I don’t know how to do that” really changes things! You’ve got some great advice and examples here. I’ve recently come to see how much I love to tackle challenges. I’ve worked on re-framing my view of failure to see failure as just ways that didn’t work. Haven’t mastered that yet, but am getting better at it! 🙂

    1. That’s fantastic Alison! The growth mindset definitely doesn’t happen over night, and honestly I think it’s a life long project. I was introduced to the growth mindset… About 6 or so years ago I suppose, and it totally changed the way I looked at challenges and failures. I’ve been working to improve my mindset ever since, and don’t regret a minute of it. Keep at it and thanks so much for sharing your experiences! ❤️

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think we as people should always be a work in progress, always learning and growing. When the growth stops more often than not we seem to become unhappy and may lose our purpose. Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

  3. Thorough and full of good advice. I’m glad you discussed learning to love the process. A lot of people are jumping into ventures that they think are fun or money-makers but they only see the end product not the work, and once they’re confronted with the process, they’re disillusioned.

    1. Thank you Miche Anni! Yes, you make a fantastic point, I have seen a lot of that as well. I think James Clear sums it up very well, about having to love the boredom and repetition. His article I linked is a great read! Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing to the conversation!

    1. You are welcome, I am so glad you found the reframing examples helpful Riana! The asking for feedback has always been a tough one for me, but when I can step out of my comfort zone and do it, I’m almost always glad I did! Thanks so much for reading and best of luck with your own goals!

  4. I love this post! Wayne Dyer used to always say, “Change your thoughts, change your life.” It’s so true. It just takes a little discipline and patience. Thanks for this wonderful post, Clarissa!

  5. Gosh, I just absolutely love your posts! They always seem to be exactly what I need to read! Thank you so much for sharing, I will definitely be referring to this post again!

  6. That’s it on learning how to properly Assess your strengths and weaknesses important because there’s no way to move on in life without knowing this. I feel like I know my strengths but when it comes to doing my weaknesses I struggle a lot. Being able to determine the two helps a person not only know who they are but to learn how to become a better person in the areas that need improvement

    1. Yes Seriah, while it’s not always fun, I agree that its so important to know and understand our weaknesses. We can’t improve them unless we know them! I also thought it was important to add “accurately” assess strengths and weaknesses. People can sometimes have a false sense of where they stand. This part can be a bit trickier! In jobs where I’ve been responsible for reviewing people’s performance, and making plans to help them improve their performance, they often thought they were much better at things than they were. This is where we ran into trouble. Thanks so much for stopping by to read this and share your thoughts with us!

  7. This is such a great and elaborate post! It’s very well arranged and immensely helpful. I’m glad to know that I’m already working on developing a growth mindset. Your post just gave me a reminder of all those little things.

    1. You’re welcome Pratyusha! I’m so glad you found it helpful. Congrats on starting your own mindset journey, a good mindset always pays off. Thank you so much for reading, and best of luck on your goals!

  8. Great advice! Honestly, giving myself permission to make mistakes was life changing. I was going through a really difficult time when a friend suggested that I consider that change of mindset. I was skeptical, but heard her out. I had no idea that it would open so many doors towards success.

    1. That’s fantastic Britt! It’s funny how one little change like that can profoundly affect the rest of your life isn’t it? I’ve had a few like that in my life. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

    1. I think it’s fantastic that they are teaching this in school now Mrs. P&P! I wish I had learned about the growth mindset earlier on in life, because as you said, it really does make all the difference. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience!

  9. Nice post. As usual it is really informative and we’ll detailed. It’s very important to have a growing mindset instead of a fixed one and it’s something I’m working on.

    1. Haha yes, I have always loved Sesame Street! Also Janelle Monáe is pretty awesome.

      Reframing is a simple but powerful tool I’m so glad to hear that these tips are what you needed to hear today Louise!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and best of luck on your mindset journey!

  10. Love this! That small little word ‘yet’ can make all the difference. I feel I’m definitely challenging myself a lot more this year – maybe a little too much (and breathe….)!
    I always love reading your posts, keep up the fantastic work 🙂

    1. Awwww thanks Ellie! It’s funny how much words can influence the way we think isn’t it?

      Challenging yourself is great, but as with most things, we have too watch out for “too much of a good thing”. We have to find that balance so that we’re challenging ourselves enough to grow, but not so much that we’re pushed past our limits and completely overwhelmed.

      Thank you so much for reading and adding to the conversation!

    1. Awww thank you! I am glad you liked it. Point #2 is one of the most important I think, since believing that traits are fixed and effort doesn’t do any good are the main characteristics of the fixed mindset. Thanks so much for reading and for the kind words!

  11. You’ve really captured the delightful messiness of the growth mindset. Hitting snags, acknowledging mistakes, dealing with our shortcomings – growth happens because of these things, not in spite of them. A fixed mindset tries to protect us from the discomfort of them, but holds us back in the process. Thanks for sharing!

    Also, your James Clear quote on #5 – I read that chapter TODAY. Get out of my head!

  12. This is also very essential when you’re working with teams. How to attain objectives also depends on the mindset of individual co workers. Those with growth mindset are easier to manage while those with fixed mindset, may need some discussion and identifying how to work things out. At the end of the communication is a key tool. Great insights!

  13. Discovering Carol Dweck was one of the changing points in my life, or at least the prism through which I view life and what was possible. Ever since I notice the time people say “I can’t do that”, or more often at (my not so lofty age) “I’m too old to try something new….” I will point them to this article next time I hear it.

  14. Yes! 🙌 I know it sounds silly, but her book definitely changed my life and how I view things as well as myself. I am very thankful to have been introduced to it!

    And yes – “I’m too old” is definitely a fixed mindset thought. Please do send them this way! And thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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