Today we want to talk to you about your growth mindset and how it can make a HUGE difference in how well you age.
First things first, what is a growth mindset? According to experts, this is the belief that humans can develop and improve even the most basic of skills through hard work and commitment.
It’s the idea that intelligence and talent can be developed with the right frame of mind.
Here’s an example:
If you approach late-middle age or early-old age with the view that aging inevitably comes with decline and frailty, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But if you go into aging recognizing that those things may happen but you can take steps to make a difference in what happens to you, you’ll not only maintain your abilities and functions, but you’ll also develop new ones.
That is growth mindset in a nutshell.
This is exactly the OPPOSITE of the old idea that people are born with a certain level of intelligence or a particular set of talents, and that’s the best they’ll ever be.
(For the record, this is called a fixed mindset. You can find lots of research on the differences between the two!)
Here’s another example:
When was the last time you described someone who was fit and over 50 as “lucky” or “having good genes”?
You probably thought you were paying the person the ultimate compliment, right?
BUT … It’s actually a bit of a backhanded compliment.
It suggests that the person’s body composition resulted from an accident of genetics at birth—rather than the years of dedication and hard work they put into a healthy lifestyle!
Do you see how this type of thinking can get in the way of reaching your goals?
When things get tough, it can be all too easy to think you don’t “have it in you” … that it’s for “other” people who are born with certain gifts or traits that you don’t have … and that makes it easier to give up.
A fixed mindset can also spill over to many areas in your life…
You might find it hard to make changes in your:
- health, or even
- willingness to try new things.
So how can you develop more of a growth mindset? Here are three strategies to try, for starters.
1. Challenge your inner voice!
When that little voice chants “I can’t,” turn it right around! Replace it with “I can figure it out,” or “I don’t know how…yet!” This helps you to see where the issue really lies. Then you can adjust course or ask for help as needed.
2. Ignore Stereotypes
The number of anti-aging products on the market make one thing very clear: We live in a youth-oriented society. Older people are often portrayed as being weak or feeble when that’s far from the truth.
In fact, studies show that levels of life satisfaction are highest among older adults compared to all other segments of the population.
Once you understand that the stereotypes aren’t true, it can open your eyes to more possibilities and help nudge your mindset in the growth direction.
3. Develop (or Maintain) an Exercise Habit
Among many other mind and body benefits, exercise can be incredibly empowering.
Exercise gains build on themselves – initially you may have some new aches and pains, but if you stick with it, you’ll notice you can do more than you could before, and then more than you ever thought possible.
Seeing what you can do physically also has potential to transfer into other areas of your life. You’ll gradually undo the negative bias that may be ingrained about aging. And before you know it, you may be learning pottery, a foreign language, or any other new skill.
We hope these ideas are helpful!
We’re here to help you find ways to reach your goals. Our Healthy Aging Ebook: How to Rock your 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s give you TONS of strategies for aging well! For each decade we give you nutrition, fitness, stress management strategies and all the science to back everything up!