How to develop a strong mindset

Everyone is looking for that next big life hack to help them level up. It is why we consume information from self-experimenters like Tim Ferriss, and spend our nights and weekends reading countless self-improvement books. The truth is actually much simpler than practicing a particular life hack or putting butter into our coffee. If you’re looking to really level up your life and the happiness you find in it, you need to learn how to develop a strong mindset.

How to develop a strong mindset

There are many outside professionals you can hire to help improve your mindset. From professional therapists and life coaches, all the way to psychologists and sport psychologists, it seems that every day there is a new profession which can help you learn how to develop a strong mindset. It’s for good reason, too. If you want your outside world to change, it makes logical sense that your internal world would need to change, as well. Here are three practices you can begin immediately to improve your own mindset.

Practice positive self-talk

If you haven’t read or listened to anything David Goggins has produced, start, now. Although he can be a bit rough around the edges (his story is absolutely insane – you just need to listen to it) his message is sound.

You can push your body to insane limits if you can train your mind to handle them.

One of the ways he trains people how to develop a strong mindset is through story telling. Goggins likes to say, “the story you tell yourself is the most important story in your life.” If you lie  to yourself – you can’t get healthy because you’re too busy, you have special genetics which don’t allow you to lose weight, etc – you’ll never progress.

Start focusing on positive self-talk. Developing a mantra is one great way to do this. Whatever motivating piece you can memorize when things get hard will work. If you’re not so creative, simply writing your goals on a sheet of paper as if you’ve already achieved them can work as well. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k race, write, “I am a 5k runner,” and stick it somewhere you’ll always see it. It will shift your identity and help you see yourself in that light.

Shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset

This tip is the brain child of Brene Brown, one of the most forward thinking researchers of our time. She talks often about switching your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset as how to develop a strong mindset.

A fixed mindset is the idea that your current state is exactly who you are, and how you will be forever. In going back to our previous example, if you’ve never run a 5k before, with a fixed mindset you never will. You think you are simply unable to run a 5k and never will be able to change it. You are stuck.

Conversely, a growth mindset looks at your skills and abilities as variable. These things are able to be developed and improved upon with practice and consistency. You are unable to run a 5k right now. You simply need to start developing the ability needed to make this happen.

With a growth mindset, you look at the challenge as something to be conquered, rather than an insurmountable obstacle. You get excited about the steps to take, and look forward to leveling up your skills through hard work.

Define your why, and make it strong

Simon Sinek is the owner of a company called Start With Why, and gave one of the most watched TED Talks of all time. He argues, and many agree, that you inspire action and make genuine change happen when you have a strong why. While Sinek focuses on businesses in his discussions, you can use it on a personal level for learning how to develop a strong mindset.

A favorite exercise of ours when defining a strong why is to ask yourself what your goal is, then why five times in a row. For example:

  • Goal: Run a 5k
  • Why? I’ve always wanted to run a 5k.
  • Why have you always wanted to run a 5k? To prove to myself I can do some difficult.
  • Why is that important? I want to not shy away from challenges in my life.
  • Why? I want to be a good role model for my kids.
  • Why? Raising my kids to be successful in life is what will make me a good parent.

All of the sudden, your goal has gone from simply wanting to run a 5k to wanting to be a good parent and raise successful kids. That’s just one example, but you can see how the why is so much stronger now. When you’re tired and don’t want to go for your morning run, it’s a lot easier to keep yourself in bed when it’s all about you – make it deeper than that, and you’ll be out in the cold in no time.

A strong mindset is your golden ticket

In a world of 15 minute abs, and juice cleanses, it can be hard to feel motivated to take on the long-term play of creating genuine change in your life. However, taking the time to understand how to develop a strong mindset will pay off richly in every walk of life. From the gym, to work, to your home life, if you have a strong mindset you show up better in every area. Want to reach your outside goals? Work on yourself and your mindset first.