Actively Cultivating a Growth Mindset
Developing a positive mindset or outlook isn’t going to happen overnight—this is not just a light we can turn on and suddenly we see everything through rose colored glasses. (We wouldn’t want that anyway; where’s the authenticity in that?) Instead, we understand that this is a process that takes time and attention. And the outcome can be a game changer for our alcohol-free lives—having a growth mindset about your choice to live without alcohol can make all the difference.
So we know the who, what, where, and why of mindset, but what about the how? We touched on this a little when we introduced growth mindset and then DIBs, but let’s dig into four concrete steps we can take to actively cultivate a growth mindset daily.
Finding confirmation of our success, growth, and progress, daily.
This is an idea we first introduced when we discussed using affirmations in our alcohol-free life, but when we confirm these kinds of things to ourselves by finding evidence of their validity, then that amps up the sticky-ness of it in our mind. For example, if we look back on our day and identify 3 pieces of evidence that prove we are growing, learning, and changing, this helps signal to our brain that growth, learning, and change are not only possible for us, but they’re actively happening. This subtly shifts your brain into a growth mindset over time.
Viewing challenges as opportunity for growth
Every time we are presented with a challenge, we can ask ourselves three questions:
What am I learning right now?
What have I learned in the past that will help me with this challenge?
What can I do differently next time?
Developing a habit of taking a mental inventory when presented with a challenge is a concrete step towards a growth mindset. Instead of jumping to questions like “why me, what did I do to deserve this?” our brain automatically begins seeking the piece of this experience we’re meant to learn from.
Combating negative thinking in the moment
None of this information is here to tell you that you’ll never think a negative thought again in your life—that’s just simply not reality. Instead, we begin noticing. Picking up on those negative thoughts as they’re happening, dissecting them in the moment (like using DIBs) to determine their validity, and then either changing them or discarding them depending on the answer. Next time you encounter a negative thought, take a moment to pause—is this thought based in reality, an exaggeration, or completely false? How can we shift it to a positive, or at least to a learning experience? This practice of catching the negative thoughts in action builds resilience against them in the future.
Building neuroplasticity through mantra work
Yep, we’re bringing back mantras! But mantra and affirmation work is incredibly impactful for making subtle changes in our thinking, and can drastically help us in reframing our mindset from a lack- or fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Try this one next time you encounter a challenge: “this is happening for me, not to me.” See the subtle difference? Eventually, through continued affirmation use, you’ll begin rewiring your brain to automatically go down those roads on its own.
Which of these tools are you going to implement into your alcohol-free journey today to begin building that growth mindset? Have any of these resources helped in the past, giving us good data and information going forward already?