How to Improve Your Mindset

How to Improve Your Mindset

In my last article I broke down for you the health benefits of mindfulness. Today I would like to talk to you about how to improve your mindset. “Its all in your head.” How many times have you heard that?

The phrase is often used as shaming technique (or at least it was in my experience as a child and youth). But it’s a little more true than we might have realized, especially when it comes to whether or not a person makes healthy choices, like eating well or exercising.

Let me briefly explain why this is actually incredibly exciting and positive. Here’s why. What you think can change everything. Your thoughts are actually in your head.

Since you can change what’s in your head, you can change what is happening. (That’s called growth mindset and letting go of limiting beliefs.) So indeed, it’s all in your head. Now THAT is exciting and positive!

Understanding Mindset

“Mindset” is a modern term, relatively little used until Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success became a bestseller when it was released in 2006. Dweck’s work disproved a number of deeply rooted beliefs, including the idea that intelligence is fixed, and people can’t get any smarter than they already are.

As it turns out, intelligence is not as important as mindset, or whether a person believes they can learn. The two primary mindsets, as laid out in Dweck’s research, are 1) fixed mindset, and 2) growth mindset.

 

When a person is in fixed mindset, they are believing that nothing can change, themselves not least. In growth mindset, every challenge is an opportunity for learning and change.

Not surprisingly, those who are in “growth mindset” are far more successful than those who are in “fixed mindset.”

 

Ability is not primarily innate. That is, talent is made more than it is born, and the most successful people are those who put in the effort, time, and learning that is necessary to improve. Of course, putting in the effort is really only possible if you believe that you can change your ability through practice.

A fixed mindset is a prison. A prison built on a foundation of falsehood and made from lies. A prison that makes you both warden and prisoner, a prison that you can only get out of my allowing yourself to change your mind and believe that growth, change, and hope really are possible.

When you change your mind and open that prison, growth mindset begins. Instead of a prison, your mind becomes a laboratory, a place to explore and learn and make mistakes and try again. A place to have fun and develop and change.

Prison or laboratory, the choice is yours. When you begin the process of moving from a prison to a laboratory, some of the underground reinforcement that kept the prison intact needs to be removed. That reinforcement is called “limiting beliefs.”

Understanding Limiting Beliefs

How to Improve Your Mindset“Limiting beliefs” are the deep-rooted, unconscious beliefs you have about something, or about yourself, that keep you from doing what you are wanting to do.

Limiting beliefs can be incredibly destructive and are often at the root of self-sabotaging and unhealthy behaviors.

It’s worth taking the time to look at why we continue to do harmful things or, even if we aren’t harming ourselves, why we are not doing things that will help us live longer and better.

 

Identifying a Limiting Belief

Because limiting beliefs usually operate in the subconscious mind, identifying them is often difficult. Begin by paying attention to your self-talk, the loops that are running in your brain.

Listen for “never”, “always”, “I can’t” and “I have to.” For example, I have several friends who believe that they have to eat a high-carbohydrate snack in the middle of the afternoon to avoid an energy slump.

How to Improve Your MindsetOthers believe that they have to put two packs of sugar and a bunch of cream in their coffee.

I used to believe that I didn’t have enough time to pack a healthy lunch, and therefore I had to eat whatever was available in the vending machine.

 

That caused me to gain nearly 20 pounds, develop carb tolerance issues, and become addicted to energy drinks. A good way to identify limiting beliefs is to make a list of the behaviors that you do that you know are not good for you.

For each item on the list, ask yourself why you need to do it. Often that simple exercise will bring up what seem to be excuses, but in reality are deeply rooted beliefs.

Going through your list with a trusted friend and asking them to help you identify the excuses/limiting beliefs can be extremely revealing and powerful. Beside each behavior, write the limiting belief that’s behind it. Hang on to the list. You’ll need it later.

Changing a Limiting Belief

To remove a limiting belief, a deep psychological change needs to take place. This can take time, and the process is not always linear.

Tony Robbins uses the classic Dicken’s A Christmas Carol to explain how this takes place. Basically, what Robbins says is that when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of staying the same, you will change.

For example, I knew a woman who had gained significant weight over several decades and was obviously making food and activity choices that were going to continue the progression unless something changed.

But she didn’t change. Not until being overweight began to interfere with her ability to care for her son, who has severe disabilities. When she was faced with the harsh reality of either losing weight or putting her son into an institution where others could care for him, she decided to change.

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That was almost exactly one year ago. She has lost over sixty pounds, decreased the amount of blood pressure medication she needs, walks with less pain, is able to bend and lift, and best of all, caring for her son at home is looking like a very real possibility.

But the change couldn’t happen until the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of changing.

Steps for Changing a Limiting Belief

Perhaps you’ve identified a few limiting beliefs. Things like, “Weight loss won’t work for me.” “I’m just going to gain it back anyway.” “Exercise is too hard.” “If I don’t try, I won’t risk failure.” “I have to have ___.”

That’s awesome! You’ve done a first crucial step.

To make it easier for me to remember how to deal with a limiting belief when one comes up (which is still fairly often), I came up with a simple acronym. ACT.

ACT to change.

Acknowledge. Become aware of and acknowledge to yourself which scripts are running in your head. Which have to’s are you listening to?

Confess. Talk about the scripts. Tell someone. Perhaps ask someone to pray with you about them—that can do a deep reprogramming that almost nothing else can do.

Truth. It isn’t enough to kick out the limiting beliefs. You need to replace them with what is true. Go back to your list. For every limiting belief that you wrote out, write the corresponding truth.

Lie: “Weight loss won’t work for me.” Truth: “Weight loss may not be easy, but it is possible. I need to find the things that work for me.”

Lie: “I’m just going to gain it back anyway.” Truth: “If I lose weight through sustainable lifestyle changes, there is no need to gain it back.”

Lie: “Exercise is too hard.” Truth: “Exercise is hard work, but I can do it.”

Lie: “If I don’t try, I won’t risk failure.” Truth: “If I try, I have a chance to succeed.”

Lie: “I have to have ___.” Truth: “I really want _________, but I don’t have to have it.”

Get Out of Prison!

And there you have it. A handful of tools to help you begin to dismantle the mental prisons that have been keeping you prisoner of your own behavior.

This article is only an overview, and much more could be written about. In fact, many people have, and one of the best guides that I’ve found to lead you on a prison break is Dr. Neil Anderson, a Christian psychologist and counselor who is well-known for tackling the spiritual aspect of these mindset issues.

 

If you are a Christian (or even if you’re not, although it will probably be a tough read) Anderson’s book Bondage Breaker is a great resource.

So what are your thoughts on how to improve your mindset? What will you do this week to improve on your mindset? Share your thoughts below. Be Well!

22 Comments

  1. Loved your article related to limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs often take place in childhood before we have developed a critical mind and by the time we reach adulthood it is set. But tackling them is certainly the way to go and you elaborate on that beautifully, many thanks, I really enjoyed that.

    • Hi Aaron,

      Thank you for visiting and also your very kind words. Yes we have to be very careful when limiting beliefs try to creep into our thinking. If we recognize the signs we then can better combat it and rise above it.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding value to this topic today. I look forward to seeing you again. Be Well!

  2. Great article Nate. I really enjoyed reading it. Mindset is a very powerful tool and I think that it is very important to work on it every day and try to improve it. Because if our mindset improves the quality of our life will improve too! It’s really nice that you added some Youtube videos as well. I never fully understood term called limiting belief before, but after reading your post it became so much clearer for me. Your steps on how to change and improve limiting belief are amazing. Thank you for sharing this Nate.

    • Hi Marius,

      Thanks for visiting. I totally agree that mindset is something we need to continue to work on each day. If our mindset is strong that positive energy carries throughout our whole being in my opinion.

      I am glad I was able to introduce you to limiting beliefs. It is something we all should be mindful of as well as know how to combat it when it creeps into our thinking. Thank you for stopping by today and providing so much value. I look forward to you visiting again. Be Well!

  3. A fixed mindset is a prison you say, it is so true. This phrase is relevant not only to weight loss, but to any personality issue we face. I run a quit smoking support blog http://www.smokingisachoice.com I see so many people who are suffering they can not quit multiple times, only because they have a fixed mindset. More than that, many people who are quitting a habit, face the weight gain problem.
    Your article is so to the point on every aspect, I could not pass through leaving no trace.
    Take care and carry on.

    • Hello Ablati,

      Thanks for visiting. Yes a fixed mindset can truly be a prison and we have to realize the signs so that we make the necessary changes. I am glad you found this article useful today. I hope to see you again soon. Be Well.

  4. Hi Nate,
    great article on mindset. It is incredible what positive changes you can have in life by just switching your mindset and working towards your goal positively regardless of your field.This could change alot of people´s lives. I really enjoyed reading. very informative.
    Blessings
    Janet

    • Hi Janet,

      Thank you for visiting. You are so correct in that a positive mindset can have an astounding effect on us in many more ways than we could ever comprehend. Taking little steps day by day can have a huge impact.

      I am glad you found this article useful to you. I appreciate you stopping by today and adding value to this topic. Be Well!

  5. HI Nate,
    Very powerful article. A mind changer for me. I feel like I’m in prison most of the time, but now I have ideas on how to change that and get back to the lab. Thank you.
    Robyn

    • Hi Robyn,

      Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your kind words. I am glad I was able to provide you with some insight today that could possibly alleviate you from feeling like you are in prison. Thank you for providing your honest input today. Be Well.

  6. Hi Nate, great article.

    Many people underestimate the power of a good mindset. Going through your whole life confined by limiting beliefs as so many of us are is such a sad way to be.

    With a good, healthy mindset you can achieve so much more. One book that really helped me is “you can heal yourself” by Louise Hay.

    • Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for visiting and your kind words. I surely agree that is a sad way to live and we do not have to limit our beliefs or live that way. It is all mindset!

      What we can achieve so so limitless in my opinion but we sometimes let that space in between our ears dictate too much of our lives. I have to go check out that book. I thank you so much for the recommendation. Thanks for the awesome value today and hope to see you again soon. Be Well!

  7. Awesome post! First off, shout out to Tony Robbins! I love that guy!

    I love this post so much because you have outlined such an important idea: the brain is so powerful. Who knew it could be responsible for so many decisions we make subconsciously?

    Before I got into fitness and eating healthy I was truly limited by my beliefs, as you mentioned in this article. I thought that health food was gross and that I couldn’t enjoy life if I ate healthily. I was so wrong! Once I changed my mindset, to focus on how I felt, the food somehow started to taste better, and now I find myself actually craving healthy things.

    It’s amazing that we really can accomplish anything we set our minds to, it’s just about first, changing our mindsets. Such a powerful article, I will be passing this along to my friends and family, thanks so much!

    • Hi Madysen,

      Thank you for visiting. Yes Tony Robbins can motivate absolutely anyone. I appreciate your kind words about the post. Yep isn’t it something how powerful our brain actually is yet sometimes we let our thinking overpower us.

      I believe we have all had a tiny bit of limited beliefs but the key is to recognize it and then act upon that so it does not hinder us emotionally, physically, or mentally.

      A healthy mindset is one of the most powerful tools we have. That cannot be taken away from us unless we allow the wrong thoughts to creep in. I really appreciate you passing this information on to others.

      I am grateful for you. Thanks for providing absolutely awesome value today. I appreciate it thoroughly. Hope to see you again here soon. Be Well!

  8. I feel that I had to read his post today. I think my mind is mostly in a growth mindset, but as I read your post and watched the videos, I do realize that a man I was dating for a little over a month is definitely stuck in a fixed mindset … I could see it so clearly, the fixed mindset attributes were his and the growth mindset attributes were mine. Our relationship ended yesterday, he did it, in a cruel way. I am grateful, for it saved me from a possibly bad relationship, but his cruelty left quite an impression on me … Sorry, this may have nothing to do with your post, but somehow the videos and your post reminded me that it was for the best, and how limiting beliefs really get you stuck in life. Many limiting beliefs come from childhood, from experiences, etc. I am going to write down my limiting beliefs (I still have some), and work on them.
    Thanks for this great post!

    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for visiting. What an amazing thing to say – Thank You! I am sorry to see your relationship ended but at the same time I am very happy you were able to have clarity about that situation and recognize some signs of a fixed mindset before it actually got too bad or caused other issues.

      No apologies necessary because what you are saying all connects and what is most important is that you found clarity in the situation and something here has moved you towards that, which alone tells me the importance of this topic.

      I felt those videos as well. They are powerful. Yes please write down your limiting beliefs and start to slowly work on them. I am encouraged by your heart felt words here today. The value you brought to this topic will surely help someone else. Please visit again soon. Be Well!

  9. Thank you for a great article about improving the mindset. I do find the term – mindset – often used and abused. Your article cleared up what the mindset is truly about.

    I like how you pointed out that the mindset can be controlled by limiting beliefs. And you showed us how to identify them and change them. Even better, you gave steps on how to change those limiting beliefs.

    I will takeaway that valuable knowledge, and apply them to improve my mindset. Thank you so much! 🙂

    • Hi Timotheus,

      Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your kind words. I really like your point about how we sometimes abuse our minds. That is a great way of putting it actually. I think it is so important we recognize the signs and not only that but have actual steps to follow.

      I am glad you found something useful here from my post. I appreciate the value you added as well. Hope to see you again here soon. Be Well!

  10. Hello,

    What an interesting article. I think my mindset is growing and it has grown in the last 10 years. If I would have this thinking when I was younger, who knows where I was now. I like how you explained the 2 different types of mindsets. I think the most negative people are in a fixed mindset.

    I know a few people who are laughing at me because I am always with a book in my hand, or I watch documentaries trying to learn from the best. But I choose not to listen to them, and slowly I am growing in my life and business.

    Thank you for this article.

    • Hi Oana,

      Thank you for visiting and your kind words. That is awesome that your mindset is growing. I have to agree with you that the most negative people are in a fixed mindset. It is my desire that changes because it truly is no way to live.

      It seems you are the type of person that is always learning. I admire that and it is a great way to be. We have so much room for growth if we only could realize it. I am so thankful for your awesome input on this topic today. Hope to see you again. Be Well!

  11. These are great tips and strategies in this article.

    I read a lot about improving your mindset and I can say it is totally true that limiting beliefs are self-sabotage.
    I actually saw this yesterday with one of my family members speaking lack in her life saying ” I can never afford that”
    I keep thinking that this is such unhealthy talk and what she is speaking will be turned into reality.
    I wanted to tell her but never had the chance.
    I think I will refer her to this article when I remember.

    • Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for visiting and your kind remarks. As we look around us we can easily see mindset issues in our lives as well as others. The key is to know how to spot it and what steps to take to remove it from our lives.

      I am glad you have been able to do so. I appreciate you sharing this with others. I also appreciate the value you added to this topic today. I hope to see you back again soon. Be Well!

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