Search for more Everyday Power
The key to long-term health and happiness is a mindset. Many people mistake mindset for “fake-it-till-you-make-it” and that’s not it at all. There are two ends of the mindset spectrum: fixed versus growth. A fixed mindset holds to the belief that people are born with a set of skills and abilities that do not change. This mindset can cause problems in every area of life that demands that we grow and change, including work, relationships, and health.
A growth mindset is the opposite.
People with a growth mindset believe that change is not only possible but a positive and empowering part of life. These are the optimistic ones who look for opportunity and aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zone in order to achieve a new goal. Of course, these are two extremes, but most of us fall somewhere on the continuum so it’s helpful to know when it’s time for a fresh perspective.
Is it time for you to change your mindset?
1. You’ve had the same complaint for more than a week
I know a few people who repeatedly complain so much about the same things, I already know their miseries even before I ask! Don’t let your complaints define you. Complaints are poison to any relationship, so you definitely want to get away from them as much as possible. While It is important to acknowledge what we don’t like or what upsets us, it’s also important to acknowledge that there are opportunities for growth and change. So when you see something you don’t like, either change your mindset and do something about it or let it go.
2. Your relationship woes are on repeat
Is there a pattern in your relationships? If you’re having the same argument with your significant other week after week, then it’s time for a mindset shift. Most long-term couples who are struggling report a much higher level of relationship satisfaction after 5 years. This is largely due to being pushed into growing in some way. Save time and anguish by resolving to shift to a growth mindset, which allows for change in yourself and your partner. There is a difference between what you need in life and what you need from your partner.
3. You are Content.
Feeling content is okay, but really it’s a short hop over to ambivalence. When was the last time something thrilled you? Close on the heels of a growth mindset is your passion and purpose. While your passions and purpose may evolve over time, it’s important to acknowledge them and give them room to be expressed.
4. You put everyone else’s needs before your own.
Parents are especially prone to this. Granted, there are moments in time where the needs of others come first. This is especially true if you have an infant or someone is sick with the flu. However, as the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” Long-term, healthy lifestyle changes that begin with a mindset shift are an investment in yourself that pays dividends in terms of the physical and emotional energy. The bonus here is that the better you meet your own needs, the more emotionally generous you can be later on.
5. You’ve asked yourself, “Is this all there is?”
This is the manifestation of growth versus fixed mindset in its simplest form. The short answer is no. Life is full of limitless possibilities. The best way to make these possibilities a reality is to start by switching your mindset from fixed to growth. It’s not necessary to know what you’re growing towards, but to know that growth is possible and necessary for long term health and happiness. If your future seems depressing, changing your mindset is the first step to better mental health.
6. Your health could use a tune up.
Reality check: As a young adult, you still have youth on your side. The exercise and eating habits you relied on in your 20s won’t work as you age. The problem isn’t just poor diet and insufficient exercise. More and more, we know the massive ill-effects of insufficient sleep. By changing your mindset you start to put yourself first. You deserve to make time to exercise, sleep well, and eat healthfully. You deserve these things as much as you deserve to shower. It is possible to look and feel as good as you did in your twenties. Switching your mindset from “getting by” to “self-care” is the only healthy way to get there. Remember, it’s not about being a swimsuit model. It’s about maintaining health in the long term.
7. Your routine is painfully predictable.
Having a fixed mindset might serve you for a short time, but to thrive, you may try shaking things up a bit. If that sounds too vague and you don’t know where to start, try this: List your daily routine. What is necessary? Do you notice something that doesn’t serve you? Oftentimes we keep a routine because it’s easier to go on autopilot to save mental energy that you may feel is in short supply. By opening the door to change with a growth mindset, you allow ideas to flow freely into your daily experience. The benefit is that more meaningful experiences means that you create more energy which improves your mood and overall outlook on life.
8. You hate your job
You spend the majority of your life at your job, so it’s important for you to enjoy it. Clearly, it’s not always practical or even advisable to quit your job in a blaze of glory. Adopting a growth mindset helps redefine your current experience as you explore other options later on. Even if your co-worker is a total dolt and your cubicle is less than inspirational, there is room to reframe your perspective and use the experience as part of your personal growth. Identify where you are and imagine where you want to be. Chart a course to get there. In the meantime, be open to learning opportunities within your current experience. You know what you don’t like. List what you do like. It could be the paycheck, the environment, the prestige, or the resume’ building experience.
9. You’ve been called a pessimist.
Either that, or the more polite term, “pragmatic.” This is the result of fixed mindset and will get you nowhere. Our ego would love to tell us that something isn’t possible, but in reality anything is possible with a growth mindset. Sometimes this outlook manifests because secretly we don’t believe that we are worthy of anything more than what is in front of us. The truth is, growth is possible, even if the solution isn’t clear yet.
10. You are self-critical
A growth mindset is the most instant cure for self-criticism. If your inner dialogue has been harsh, snarky, or downright hateful, it’s time for a mindset shift. Remind yourself that you are where you are because that’s the plan for you right now. It’s important to be aware of those last two words, “right now.” Nothing is set in stone. A change in perspective is more powerful than you realize. Once the self-criticism stops and as you heal your relationship with yourself, you are at a point where real, useful, and powerful changes can happen.