Most of us are aware of the importance of having the right mindset for accomplishing our goals. To achieve your dreams, it’s as simple as thinking positive thoughts and believing in yourself, right?
Perhaps — but it’s not always as easy as it might appear.
As a corporate psychologist, I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of highly motivated clients, helping them to pursue their dreams. And, in that time, I’ve noticed that although a lot of people think they have the right mindset, in reality, many of them are unwittingly making some very common mistakes.
Unchecked, they can derail goals. However, once they’re transformed, magic happens.
Here are the four most common mindset shifts you’ll need to undertake to make your dreams a reality.
1. Turn “I’ll Try” into “I’ll Do.”
Wobbly commitment is a very common mindset mistake I’ve seen in my work with clients — and it’s one that people often aren’t aware of. Although many people think that they have the level of commitment they need to accomplish their goal, a lot of them are actually a little ambivalent.
How do you tell the difference?
If, when you think about your goal, your mindset is that you’ll try things out and see what happens, your commitment is a little on the shaky side. If however, you’ve decided that you’re fully committed to accomplishing your goal no matter what, it’s a whole different story. Once you’ve committed to giving your all, persisting through setbacks, challenging your excuses, and simply not accepting failure as an option, that’s the mindset that will have you well on your way to living your dream life.
As yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
2. Transform Your Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset
In her research, Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck has found that in any given area of our lives, we can have either a fixed or a growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe that our qualities are innate — you’re either born with them or not. On the other hand, people with growth mindsets believe that with effort and practice, you can improve in any area.
So, for example, a person with a fixed mindset believes that you’re born smart or athletic, and if you didn’t get that gene, there’s nothing you can do about it. However, a person with a growth mindset believes that you can become smarter or more athletic if you work to develop your skills in that area.
Research has found that people with growth mindsets are more persistent in the face of challenges, more open to feedback, and quicker to bounce back from setbacks. As a result, they keep going, and are more likely to accomplish their goals. Lucky for you, even if you currently have a fixed mindset, you can develop a growth mindset with practice. (Beautiful how that works, isn’t it?)
3. Focus on the Journey as Much as the Destination
There’s a reason why you hear this all the time — it’s sage advice. All too often, when people are working towards their goals, too much of their focus is on the fact that they haven’t yet accomplished them.
When you continually think about how much further you have to go, you might feel like you’ll never accomplish your goal, and be more prone to give up. However, if you can think about the things you’re learning, things you’re grateful for, or the ways in which you’re developing, you’ll give yourself many more opportunities to reinforce yourself. In turn, those moments of self-praise will serve as fuel that will create a powerful positive momentum.
4. Don’t Move Away From Your Perceived Weakness, Move Towards Your Goal
On first blush, these two mindsets might sound like the same thing. However, I’ve found that the difference in your main underlying motivation can have a huge impact on whether or not you succeed in achieving your goal. Are you trying to achieve your goal because you see yourself as lacking in some way? Or, are you trying to achieve your goal so you can achieve your full potential and live your best life?
For example, do you want to lose some weight because you hate your body? Or, are you motivated by a desire to be as healthy as you can be? While both can admittedly move you towards your goal, the one that’s motivated by feelings of lack can be more tenuous.
Why? Because you could be more likely to overlook your small wins. You’ll use up valuable mental energy on self-criticism instead of on inspiration and pride. And, you’ll probably be more miserable, thinking about the things you’re giving up, instead of all that you’re gaining as you move towards your goal. If instead, you show yourself some compassion and motivate yourself through carrots as opposed to sticks, your journey will be a more enjoyable and successful one.
Put these mindset shifts into practice, and you’ll increase the odds that you’ll get where you want to go.
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