Mindset 101: What Even Is It and How to Improve It
In the personal development world, it seems that everything revolves around mindset – how we originally formed our mindsets, how those mindsets impact what we do and shape who we are, and how we can possibly change or improve them.
I’ve always been fascinated by this aspect of personal growth for many reasons, but mainly because most of us don’t even think about our mindset at all.
Unless we’re actively tuning in to our thoughts, we just take all of our mindsets and beliefs at face value and trust that it’s the truth. Even if it’s totally wrong or capable of being changed with a bit of effort.
So today I’m excited to share a lil Mindset 101: what even is mindset, what are some common negative mindsets that we may be trapped in, and how we can start tuning in and changing these mindsets to improve our lives. Ready to dive in?!
What even is mindset?
Mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone.
The definition of mindset that pops up in Google is pretty vague – the established set of attitudes held by someone. Let’s take that a little deeper.
To me, our mindset is a collection of beliefs about ourselves, other people, the world and everything in between. These beliefs stem from how we’re raised, our self-talk and what we hear/learn from teachers, the media, family, friends and everyone we encounter from the time we’re born.
Over time, those beliefs can expand and transform into a positive or negative mindset that we just accept as the truth, since it’s what we’ve always known.
How to Change a Mindset
Our mindsets are reinforced by our thoughts and our actions – so when we have a negative thought or do something we perceive as negative, we’re just feeding that negative mindset.
And here’s the thing… our subconscious mind will never make us out to be a liar. So if we truly believe we’re lazy, we’re gonna think and act lazy, and those thoughts and actions are going to reinforce that belief. Are you catching onto the vicious cycle of our thoughts and mindset yet?!
If so, then the good news is that you can easily understand how to change a mindset – you just have to break the cycle!!
While this is certainly easier said than done, there are a few things we can do to improve or change our mindset:
Start tuning into our thoughts and shifting the negative ones
At first it may seem difficult to tune in to our thoughts, but once you start paying attention, you’ll realize just how many negative thoughts are slipping by… even ones that you may initially think are harmless.
Whenever you do catch a negative thought, flip the script and think the opposite to turn it into a positive. Whether it’s a negative thought about yourself, your job, your circumstances, other people, or anything else, try to transform it into a positive.
My process for handling negative thoughts has three parts:
Catch the negative thought whenever possible
Allow it to pass without any judgement
Flip the negative into a positive and truly allow myself to take in the positive aspect of it
2. Take action in positive and meaningful ways
Like I said before, if you believe you’re lazy, then you’ll act lazy. Our actions hold just as much weight on our mindset as our thoughts do, so it’s important to take actions that reflect who we truly want to be.
If you want to be energetic, then literally hop out of bed in the mornings and tell yourself “WOW I have so much energy today” even if you could fall back asleep in .3 seconds! If you want to be productive, then write out five things you’re going to accomplish today and start doing them without hesitation!
The point is, whatever kind of person you hope to be (even if it’s the total opposite of how you perceive yourself right now), take the actions to start being that person and you’ll start to believe you already are.
3. Don’t act surprised or proud of your positive actions or thoughts
This is a tip that I learned from one of my favorite personal growth bloggers, Sam Laura Brown. Whenever you do something positive, don’t praise yourself or act surprised by it.
This may sound harsh, but it’s actually brilliant. By praising ourselves for doing something good, we’re telling our minds that it’s out of the ordinary for us or it’s not something we usually do.
But if we play it cool and tell ourselves “Of course I finished everything on my to-do list today, I’m always this productive” then we’re normalizing it and sending the message to our minds that we are already that person.
Some Common Negative Mindsets
Now that you have an overview of what exactly a mindset is and a few tips on how you can start to change it, let’s explore some negative mindsets you may be experiencing without even realizing it.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking this, think this new thought instead:
I’m not smart. I’m smart and I’m great at writing!
This vague thought is one that hits so many of us – flip the thought and find evidence to support why you absolutely are smart, which can be anything from “I graduated high school/college” to “I have tons of knowledge about technology”
I can’t do it. I can do anything I put my mind to.
Go into new projects, tasks, assignments and everything with a positive mindset. And hey, even if you struggle, tell yourself that you’re not afraid to ask for some help when necessary.
I’m not good/pretty/skinny/anything enough. I am worthy of anything and I’m more than enough!
As women, this one tends to creep up way too often. We play the comparison game and convince ourselves that we’re not enough or we don’t deserve what we have/what we desire. Flip that script ASAP, girl, because you deserve it all!
I hate that person. That person is doing her best, just like all of us.
Negative thoughts about yourself aren’t the only ones you should be looking out for! I know it’s hard to like everyone, but wouldn’t you rather be the girl who’s radiating positivity than the one who hates everybody? Try to find the positive in everyone and you’ll start feeling more positive yourself!
I’m scared of failure. I will put the work in and accomplish my biggest dreams.
Failure is a scary thing, but not trying is even scarier. Sometimes, our thoughts and fears around failure can hold us back from taking any action at all. But I guarantee you’ll be more proud of yourself for trying and maybe not quite hitting that goal than if you hadn’t tried at all!