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With the beginning of the new year 2022, it's time to start setting goals for the year ahead. If you're like most individuals, you go into the year with a new year resolution or two. You make progress initially but ultimately abandon your efforts and fail to make healthy lifestyle changes or accomplish other goals.

Although this chain of events is typical, it's not guaranteed to occur. You can set yourself up for success when you approach the new year with a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Read on to learn about the difference between a fixed vs. growth mindset and how the right attitude can finally help you start living a healthy lifestyle.


A simple growth mindset definition is a belief in the ability to change. When you approach life with a growth mindset, you are open to the possibility that you can adapt and evolve. If you encounter challenges, you don't believe that failure is inevitable. Instead, you readjust and try again.


A fixed mindset is a hopeless frame of mind that cynically sees the world. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you can't ever make improvements no matter what you do. Individuals with a fixed mindset often practice negative self-talk, saying things like "I can't," or "I won't," or "it doesn't matter." This type of talk can get in the way of achieving health goals and other kinds of goals, and it's often why individuals abandon new year resolutions so quickly.


Everyone experiences moments of negativity. Even individuals with a positive growth mindset may occasionally engage in defeatist thinking. The key is to strive to maintain a growth mindset as much as possible and to notice when you begin to drift into fixed mindset territory. Some ways that you can cultivate a growth mindset include:

  • Return your mind to the positives. Whenever you begin to think of something negative, force yourself to think of two positive things. For example, if you misplace your car keys and end up stressed before work, you can take note of the beautiful sunrise and reflect on the delicious breakfast you ate.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Getting assistance from others isn't cheating or being weak. Having a solid support network is vital to any real success. Ask a friend or your partner to hold you accountable or help take on a task that you're struggling to complete. Let the other person know you're there to help them, too.
  • Become your cheerleader. Get in the habit of praising yourself, even for the little things. Sometimes, just getting out of bed on a bad day is a major victory.
  • Talk to yourself like you would someone you love. Catch yourself when you're being unkind or destructive. Ask yourself if you would talk to a specific person you love that way to silence that harmful inner voice.


Now that you understand how to foster a growth mindset in yourself, it's time to pair that with your goals for 2002. Follow this process to use a growth mindset to achieve your vision:

  • Start with an actionable goal. You can't succeed when you don't have a clear vision of success. Write down a concrete plan with a measurable outcome and give it a set period of time. I think I will lose 30 pounds by the end of the year instead of losing weight this year. Once you have your goal written down, read it aloud and tell yourself that you have what it takes to succeed.
  • Break your goal into smaller milestones. Making your goals a reality requires a plan. To create one, break your main goal into smaller goals. For example, if you want to exercise for three hours every week consistently, take it slowly. For the first month, maybe plan for 30 minutes per week and then increase by 15 minutes of exercise every month until you reach your goal. Write down your milestones and verbally commit to the possibility of achieving each of them.
  • Put your plan into action. Once your goal is in place, start following it. Keep a record of what you do every day to contribute to your success. Recognize the changes you've made and tell yourself that it's proof you can succeed.
  • Assess your progress at each milestone. When you reach a milestone in your plan, evaluate whether or not you achieved it. If you did, celebrate in a small way, and once again remind yourself that you have what it takes to continue moving forward. If you fall short of your goal, frame it not as a failure but as a sign that you haven't developed the right plan. Reevaluate your goals to see if they were unrealistic. Revise as needed, create a new strategy and recommit with the knowledge that you are capable of change.