Over the past three days, I’ve gone into detail regarding the first three pieces of our prescription at RxFIT – “Sleep,” “Eat,” and “Train.” Today, I’m going to write about the fourth piece: “Think.”
Your thoughts are powerful, there’s no question about it. Whining, complaining, and making excuses does nothing but complicate and worsen situations. Below, I’ll outline how the power of positive thought is legitimate. But, if you’re pressed for time, here’s your BLOT (bottom-line on top): “Never whine, never complain, and never make excuses” (Ben Bergeron).
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Our understanding and belief that your health can be altered by what goes on inside your head comes predominantly from Dr. Carol S. Dweck – professor of psychology at Stanford University. In 2006, she came out with a landmark book titled “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” that presented research across decades of psychology. If you want more beyond this blog post, I’d highly recommend buying her book.
“My research has shown that the view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life,” Dweck says. Her work in this book contains practical applications on how you can make the shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset in four key areas: parenting, business, school, and relationships.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset
Simply put, your mindset is the view you adopt of yourself and those around you. It’s generally focused on qualities and characteristics – and whether or not they can change. And to the extent that those qualities and characteristics are mutable is dependant on your fixed or growth mindset.
“A fixed mindset comes from the belief that your qualities are carved in stone – who you are is who you are, period. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality, and creativity are fixed traits, rather than something that can be developed.” Examples are:
- “I’m not a good test-taker.”
- “My anxiety is really bad in big-group settings.”
- “We’re not athletic in my family.”
“A growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Yes, people differ greatly – in aptitude, talents, interests, or temperaments – but everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Examples here include:
- “I struggle with test-taking. I wonder how I can get better.”
- “I feel anxious in big groups. Do you have any ideas to help me?”
- We didn’t grow up playing sports in my family. Can you teach me?”
With the help of these examples, perhaps you can start to see the difference in a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.
With the first example, the fixed-minded individual believes their “intelligence” cannot improve. The growth-minded individual seeks to get better.
In the second example, the fix-minded individual blames his situation on his anxiety. Feeling anxious is an emotion – nothing more. The growth-minded individual recognizes that he can take ownership over the emotion. He does this by asking for recommendations.
And finally, in the third example, the fix-minded individual makes an excuse for not being athletic (he blames it on his family’s genes). The growth-minded individual is open to the idea of being athletic and asks for help.
The main difference between the two mindsets is effort.
The best part about this is you can change your mindset! Recognize when you talk in absolutes. Then, seek to improve.
For example, my grades in writing classes were always my worst while in school. Because of this, I convinced myself that I was just bad at writing. To put this in perspective, one of the midterms during my sophomore year in college was an essay. I had to analyze a poem and argue for or against the author’s view. One week later, my professor returned my essay with these words at the top:
“Did we read the same thing?”
You can imagine how awful I felt. My writing was so bad that my professor thought I had read a different poem!
All throughout high school and college, I just accepted the fact that I was bad at writing.
Then, my business mentor told me to start writing for my athletes every day. I did it for 6 months off and on for 15 minutes in the morning (and shared it with nobody). But, I finally decided that sending it to my athletes would make me better. I made the goal in 2020 to start a daily blog for RxFIT.
My writing is getting better (if you’ve read this far into the post, then this is evidence). But the important thing of this story is that my fixed mindset on my ability to write has changed to a growth-mindset. I believe I can be a great writer. And this belief is developing because of my effort.
I thought it might be helpful to list out some not-so-obvious examples that I hear commonly inside the gym. Can you remember the last time you said one of these?
- “I have bad knees so I can’t do that.”
- It’s good to know that you maybe had knee surgery, or squatting to parallel hurts, but we can change that.
- “Deadlifts hurt my back.”
- Performing a deadlift incorrectly certainly will cause back pain. But deadlifts themselves don’t do anything to your back. You can change the way you perform the lift and the pain will go away.
- “I’m not a morning person.”
- If you really want to get into owls vs. larks in sleep research, hit reply and we can have a conversation about this. But the point here is that this statement is “fixed.” You certainly have control over what time you wake up. You can change.
- “I need to get in shape before I do CrossFit.”
- Did you know that almost 5% of our membership base is over 300 pounds? They’re not making any excuses about coming in; and neither should you. You can change.
- “I can’t afford that.”
- Yes, you can. I’m not just referring to a gym membership here, but anything in general. We live in a college town where “everyone is a poor college student.” Regardless of who you’re comparing yourself to, being poor is a mindset issue. You can afford anything you really want. It just requires some creativity (or effort). This starts with a change in mindset.
The list could go on. The important takeaway, however, is recognizing that you have control over your life – especially your health.
This is going to ruffle some feathers… but if you’re overweight, you have a mindset issue. You allow yourself to whine, complain, or make excuses on why you can’t eat healthy, exercise daily, or sleep enough.
Everyone should have a person in their life that can coach their thoughts – for me, it is my business mentor.
For you, it should be one of our ten RxFIT coaches.
What you choose to think about and how you choose to think are going to make a difference in your health.
All it takes is effort.
Never whine, never complain, and never make excuses.