Psychology has identified three mindsets shared by people who actually follow through on their goals

August 15, 2016

I’ve never been an athletic or active person. My entire history of sports involved one season of track in high school and a brief flirtation with what I thought was a yoga studio but turned out to be more of a cult. But then, in my mid-30s, I had two children and gained 30 pounds. I was suffering from chronic back pain, and I knew something needed to change.

 

 

There was just one problem: When it came down to it, I didn’t really want to exercise. When my husband suggested I take up running, I said I’d do it if—and only if—a bear was chasing me. And yet, last fall, I did both a half marathon and a triathlon for the first time. How did I evolve from a self-proclaimed couch potato to endurance athletics enthusiast? I learned how to change my attitude.

 

 

In my professional life, I work with schools to help struggling students re-engage with academics. One major focus is addressing students’ mindsets. According to the Chicago Consortium on School Reform (along with many other educational experts), three concepts influence whether students will persist when things get rough at school:

 

 

  1. The belief that hard work can and will lead to improvement
  2. Confidence that you, and people like you, belong in school and that it is a place where you can thrive
  3. The belief that what you are doing is valuable and relevant to your goals

When kids lack any one of these mindsets, they’re much less willing to continue working hard when things get difficult. After all, it is not rational to work hard when there’s no hope for improvement, for people who don’t seem to like you, to do things you don’t care about.

 

 

Looking back, my problem with exercise was that I lacked all three of these requirements. These main beliefs were holding me back:

 

 

  1. I hadn’t ever successfully sustained a workout routine, so clearly I just wasn’t an “exercise person.”
  2. I didn’t like gyms and didn’t feel like I belonged in them. Running on treadmills seemed pointless. And I couldn’t conceive of any need for so many mirrors in one place.
  3. I associated exercise with a lot of negative things. I hate the weight-loss industrial complex and the way it makes women feel ashamed of their perfectly good bodies. I also hate the elitism and exclusion that seems to permeate many sports. Basically, I didn’t value what exercise seemed to be offering.I’ve never been an athletic or active person. My entire history of sports involved one season of track in high school and a brief flirtation with what I thought was a yoga studio but turned out to be more of a cult. But then, in my mid-30s, I had two children and gained 30 pounds. I was suffering from chronic back pain, and I knew something needed to change.
     

     

    There was just one problem: When it came down to it, I didn’t really want to exercise. When my husband suggested I take up running, I said I’d do it if—and only if—a bear was chasing me. And yet, last fall, I did both a half marathon and a triathlon for the first time. How did I evolve from a self-proclaimed couch potato to endurance athletics enthusiast? I learned how to change my attitude.

     

     

    In my professional life, I work with schools to help struggling students re-engage with academics. One major focus is addressing students’ mindsets. According to the Chicago Consortium on School Reform (along with many other educational experts), three concepts influence whether students will persist when things get rough at school:

     

     

    1. The belief that hard work can and will lead to improvement
    2. Confidence that you, and people like you, belong in school and that it is a place where you can thrive
    3. The belief that what you are doing is valuable and relevant to your goals

    When kids lack any one of these mindsets, they’re much less willing to continue working hard when things get difficult. After all, it is not rational to work hard when there’s no hope for improvement, for people who don’t seem to like you, to do things you don’t care about.

     

     

    Looking back, my problem with exercise was that I lacked all three of these requirements. These main beliefs were holding me back:

     

     

    1. I hadn’t ever successfully sustained a workout routine, so clearly I just wasn’t an “exercise person.”
    2. I didn’t like gyms and didn’t feel like I belonged in them. Running on treadmills seemed pointless. And I couldn’t conceive of any need for so many mirrors in one place.
    3. I associated exercise with a lot of negative things. I hate the weight-loss industrial complex and the way it makes women feel ashamed of their perfectly good bodies. I also hate the elitism and exclusion that seems to permeate many sports. Basically, I didn’t value what exercise seemed to be offering.                                                                         Written by: Amanda Crowell 
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