Kick self-doubt to the curb
At some point in the journey, you’re going to fall off track. We all do, because we’re human. But here’s a secret: getting off track doesn’t matter. What’s important is what you do next. Dr. Allison has some simple tips to help you bounce back.
• When setbacks happen, we often fall into what behavioural scientists call a fixed mindset.
• A growth mindset is the opposite of that; a way of thinking that assumes we can learn and grow.
• Every time you challenge a fixed mindset with growth thoughts, you actually shift the way you think. That’s because the brain is like a muscle: When you work it in new ways, you change how it works.
At WW, we talk a lot about the journey you’re on. Whatever your goals are around weight and wellness, it’s a journey to get there, and keep going! But that journey doesn’t look like a perfect progress line, heading up and up and up. We all experience setbacks, plateaus, and days when we feel off our game or uninspired. We might feel stuck and even wonder if we should keep trying. And this might be a familiar feeling from times you’ve had challenges on the journey in the past.
At moments like these, we often fall into what behavioural scientists call a fixed mindset. It sounds a little like this in your head:
“I’ve never gotten past this point so why would this time be any different?”
“What I’ve tried hasn’t worked so that’s that.”
“I’m not sure how to do this, so I guess it’s not for me.”
What do fixed mindset thoughts have in common? They keep you glued in place, sure that you can’t change yourself or your situation. Research shows that having a fixed mindset makes you more likely to heap blame on yourself. Not helpful if you want to move toward a goal, and feel good along the way.
The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset—a way of thinking that assumes we can learn and grow. It sounds more like this:
“I’m not sure how to do this, but I am sure that I can figure it out.”
“Ok, I’m struggling a little, but that struggle can teach me, and make me stronger.”
“I’ll make a small tweak, keep it up, and be patient with myself.”
“What can I learn from this experience?”
Those are all examples of growth mindset thoughts, and you can see how they would help you, well, grow!
And here’s the great thing about your mindset: You can shift it. You can become more aware of fixed thoughts--the ones that tend to start with “I can’t” or “I don’t” or “I’ll never…” And you can talk back to them, starting with “I’ll try,” “I’ve learned,” or even, “I wonder what will happen if...”
Every time you challenge a fixed mindset with growth thoughts, you actually shift the way you think. That’s because the brain is like a muscle: When you work it in new ways, you change how it works. Your growth mindset will get stronger and stronger with practice.
Try it out over the next few days: Think about some small change you want to make, or a way you’d like to push yourself. Then take a small step in that direction, leaning on growth-mindset thoughts. Remember to be patient and ask for help if you need it. When you struggle, focus on what you’re learning from the process and how you can use that going forward.
And keep this mantra in mind: Progress, not perfection.