Mindset: Fixed vs Growth

Right now I’m re-reading an excellent book on psychology.

It’s probably one of my favourite books in this realm, and as I’m all about developing a fitness or weight loss mindset, you should all know the gist of it and how it can help you uncover or unlock a whole new mind for weight loss.

What is Mindset?


Mindset is essentially where your focus or fixation of thought lies.

It’s your beliefs about yourself, your ability, capabilities, and expectations.

Your values, sense of purpose, sense of self and determination.

Psychology is the study of this.

I’ve talked a lot about the incorporation of mindset into the fitness paradigm, which currently most people only ever discuss as nutrition and exercise.

My ‘Fitness’ Paradigm

I’ve also gone so far as to release a course outlining some of the best mindset tricks you can use to lose weight and keep it off.

I even deliberately put that particular course, front and center on my resource page because I believe it’s the most fundamentally important quality behind weight loss success.

Rest assured that this article will be at the top of that course.

Before we get to that though…

In an initial effort to help you discover your own mindset, we want you to take the following questionnaire.

Can’t View the Questionnaire? View it here.

This is a questionnaire I almost forgot about, but I’ve used it with many clients in the past and after re-reading the book, I intend to use this with all of my clients moving forward too.

Carol Dueck, PhD, is a professor in Stanford’s Psychology department, and author of the book ‘Mindset‘ you see above.

Over the course of a 30+ year career her research has revealed that people have one of the following two mindsets:

  1. Fixed Mindset
  2. Growth Mindset

Questions 1 and 2 from the mindset questionnaire are the fixed mindset questions; While questions 3 and 4 reflect the growth mindset.

Which mindset did you agree with more?

You can be a mixture, you may reflect a growth mindset about certain dimensions of your life, but a fixed mindset about other aspects but most people lean toward one or the other.

It also applies to even more specific aspects of our lives, things like; “artistic talent;” “sports ability;” “business skill;” “leadership ability,” or “managerial skill;”

All of which, could be substituted for the word “intelligence,” or “ability,” above.

It’s also important to note that based upon your experiences, your basic mindset can change in either direction.

Fixed Mindset

People with a fixed mindset:

  • View ability as static in nature, or unchangeable
  • Avoid challenges where the outcomes are not entirely known (opt for things where success is guaranteed)
  • View obstacles as external forces that get in the way of success only (many quit in the face of obstacles)
  • View effort as frivolous or fruitless in the face of uncertainty
  • Associate criticism as a reflection of self, and strive to avoid criticism whenever possible
  • Often feel threatened by the success of others, fear failure and avoid failure as much as they can
  • Have a deterministic outlook on life and the world

Growth Mindset

People with a growth mindset:

  • View ability as something that can be grown and developed
  • View challenges as an opportunity for growth and development, challenges spur you on
  • Pursue alternative routes in the face of obstacles, view failures as an opportunity to learn from these new routes
  • See ‘effort’ as the path to mastery
  • See criticism as a learning opportunity in direct reflection of the ability they need to improve (as opposed to a generalist association with their entire ability or personal attack)
  • Look for the lessons and find inspiration from the success of others
  • Have a greater sense of free will and freedom of action within the world

Why It Matters

Carol Dueck, found a strong co-relation to success with people who adopt a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset.

In fact, in some of her research with children, she found the the mere idea of knowing that you can convert your current mindset into another is a vital component for achieving the growth mindset.

Ideally the mere notion of knowing you can change your current mindset to one seeking growth, I hope will be more than enough for you to get started in the transition.

It’s been my experience that people who find long-lasting success with their health and fitness, undertake a journey; They move from a fixed mindset to that of a growth mindset.

[block]“Learning to adopt a growth mindset is a critical step in achieving long-term weight loss.”

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Like everything there is a lot of deliberate practice necessary for changing, going through the process of change.

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence

Eventually the growth mindset option becomes more and more habitual, or automatic (number four you see on the list above).

So how about it, which are you?

Growth Mindset?

or Fixed Mindset?

If you have a story about your own transition, please leave it below.


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