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How Mindset Guides Your Decision to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

By Jai Michaels

Today you decided to get into better shape. Great! But there’s one thing; you have traveled this path before without results. What makes this time different? In a word: mindset.

Previously you may have incorporated diet and exercise into your daily routine to get started. While this is helpful, adopting a healthy lifestyle begins, you guessed it, in your mind. For example, your mind decides if you will eat that glazed donut or the nutrient-packed blueberries. Mindset makes all the difference between achieving success or struggling with repeated setbacks.

The Two Mindsets

A world-renowned Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, Ph.D., spent decades researching and observing human behavior. Her book Mindset – The New Psychology of Success noted, “People with a fixed mindset – those who believe that abilities are fixed – are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset – those who believe that abilities can be developed.” [1]

With a fixed mindset, it could make sense that each time you attempt to follow a healthy lifestyle, your mind gladly provides all the reasons you will not succeed, so you quit . . . again.

During her studies, Dr. Dweck noted that those with a fixed mindset limited their growth, development, and learning opportunities for fear of being judged and that they couldn’t perform better anyway, so why try?

In contrast, those with a growth mindset are not convinced that the hand dealt in life is as far as they could go, but instead, it is “just the starting point for development.” [1] Students with a growth mindset viewed setbacks as learning opportunities and were eager, even excited, to determine what caused the setback.

With careful thought, you could come up with other areas of your life where your growth mindset fueled your determination to realize specific outcomes. Living a healthy lifestyle is no different.

Dr. Dweck’s book further states, “The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, strategies, and help from others...Everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” [1]

Application to Wellness Journey

These fixed and growth mindsets also apply to your health and wellness journey. When you do not see the immediate results you expect, the fixed mindset says, “Why keep trying? Just stop now and accept I will never lose weight.” You may then march to the freezer for that “just in case” pint of ice cream. The growth mindset, however, says, “While I do not see the immediate results I had hoped for, I’m going to keep trying as transformation is happening on the inside.”

Growth Mindset and Success

To start your daily health and wellness routines with a growth mindset, consider the following:

1. Work with focused diligence

2. Be open and willing to accept change and challenges

3. Have faith in your ability to grow

4. Be ready to take on excuses

5. See possible failure as a step toward personal growth and lasting change

The path to healthier living isn't always smooth. The pressure to see results, remain consistent, and experience setbacks are all possible. However, a growth mindset could be the long-awaited answer to victory.

This time, you can begin – and continue – to live a healthy lifestyle by adopting a growth mindset. With this new outlook, and in consultation with your doctor, be kind and patient with yourself; the payoff is worth the effort!


1. Dweck, C., Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books, 2016.

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