“Through more than three decades of systematic research, Dr. Carol Dweck has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t — why some become Muhammad Ali and others, Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.” (Source)
At CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, we believe potential can be developed. It’s called Mindset, and it’s one of the Four Pillars that are integral to total-body health.
It Starts with a Goal
Mindset isn’t something that just “is.” It must be developed and bolstered. While having a game plan and the ability to adapt are fundamental, people who want to improve their potential also “share certain traits, such as a relentlessness, an appreciation for competition, and the acceptance that winning and losing [i.e., failing and succeeding] are intertwined and both need to be handled equally well.
You can develop and strengthen a mindset that maximizes your potential with the following five tips:
1. Build a universal habit: The first step to the right mindset is creating expectations for yourself. Depending on the goal you’ve set, that expectation can be 5 minutes of exercise daily or one hour of HIIT classes. Whatever the action, making it a personal expectation will turn it into a habit.
2. Show gratitude: At least once a day, write down three things you’re thankful for. An attitude of gratitude will keep you from wallowing in any self-pity that can potentially derail a mindset of good potential. You will soon see that focusing on things you’re grateful for (even a cup of coffee) has made it much easier to let go of any setbacks you’ve encountered.
3. Visualize your achievement: Visualize the prize. It’s a cliché because it holds so much truth. If you can see it in your mind (mindset), it is abundantly easier to achieve. So, make the effort for 5 minutes a day to see yourself crossing the finish line, earning the degree, or getting the promotion. You simply cannot achieve what you can’t envision yourself doing.
4. Be gracious in defeat: Even in failure, be gracious. If you don’t lose that 20 pounds in the amount of time you set for your goal, allow yourself some grace and space. Give yourself credit for your accomplishments and get back to work with your universal habit, an attitude of gratitude, and a visualization of what it will feel like once you reach the goal.
5. Wait for the right time to reflect: Developing potential takes time with the right mindset. If you stop midway or three-quarters of the way to your goal to reflect, you aren’t allowing yourself the full benefit of the experience. Instead, allow yourself the time you first provided to reach the goal. Then, you can take inventory of how well it went, what you did or didn’t achieve, and what you might do differently next time. This approach tends to considerably improve performance over time.
Set your sights today. Use our goal setting worksheet to identify the three things you want most in 2019. You’ll see your potential to make these goals a reality with the right mindset.
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.