Many of us possess qualities we believe to be undeniably unique to us. Whether hard-working or lazy, outgoing or shy, healthy or unhealthy, the list is unlimited. Without a doubt, affixing labels can bring about a sense of comfort. But, what if there is also something to be gained by leaving some room for possibilities?
Research on this topic from Carol Dweck says there are benefits to understanding that abilities, traits and habits can be developed and changed; they aren’t static. She describes this as a growth mindset, calling the opposite a fixed mindset.
In considering whether intelligence (as the infographic shows), general health or the ability to achieve wellness are something fixed or able to be developed, the results shown above remain applicable.
UK Health & Wellness‘ fitness specialists, dietitians, health coaches and tobacco cessation coaches offer up the most common fixed mindsets they hear from clients, along with their wellness program prescriptions.
Try health coaching if you’re considering transforming a mindset such as:
– “I just don’t do conflict.”
– “There’s no way I could be a morning person.”
– “I’m not creative.”
– “I hate exercise.”
– “I don’t have time to workout.”
Try tobacco cessation coaching if you’re considering transforming a mindset such as:
– “I’ll never be able to quit tobacco.”
– “I’ll never be able to maintain weight loss.”
– “I don’t like healthy foods.”
– “I hate tracking what I eat.”
– “I’m too busy to eat healthy.”
Dweck’s research informs UK Health & Wellness programs, which emphasize the importance of meeting individuals where they are – whether ready to increase well-being and actively working toward greater health, not yet there or anywhere in between.
“‘You can change’ is at the heart of Dweck’s growth mindset research,” Health Coach Amy Rodquist-Kodet, CHWC, MA, says.
“That’s the philosophy we work from. We all have a fixed mindset about something but, when we’re ready, we can change if we want to.”
Rodquist-Kodet offers one-on-one phone health coaching, which is free to UK employees, retirees and their spouses. “During health coaching we can explore threads of a fixed mindset, tug on it and see if it unravels. Maybe it won’t and you’ll get to hold onto it, or maybe it will and you’ll get to tell yourself another story.”
Health coach Jackie Hanson, MS, TTS, explains, “it’s about getting curious and exploring those negative beliefs to see if they really hold up next to the evidence. I enjoy helping folks see their past successes and achievements to give them the momentum to see the possible future.”
By helping clients focus on what they can do, thoughts evolve from a fixed to a growth mindset.
“No matter how challenging someone thinks their circumstances are, there is always something they can start doing differently,” says Dietitian Karen Bryla McNees, EdD, RD.
“We help people identify realistic steps that will get them moving in the right direction, which allows them to build momentum and feel less overwhelmed.”
Fitness specialist Carrie Davidson, ACSM, HFS, ACE, RYT 200, echoes the importance of widening perspectives to start with what’s possible. “In an exercise consult we talk through what a typical week looks like and find manageable and creative ways to incorporate physical activity. It’s not necessarily at the gym if that’s not what will work for the client.”
Rodquist-Kodet points out, “often a fixed mindset and the detrimental all-or-nothing approach are related. I tell clients to ask themselves how they can grow, not how they can be what they’ve defined as perfect.”