How to Create a Positive Mindset: Why Your Mindset Is Vital to Personal Growth
Written By: Matt Mignona
What is a Mindset?
Many people find it difficult to be positive, see growth, and sustain progress toward their goals; a piece of the puzzle is that they do not get themselves into the right mindset first. A mindset is, according to Psychology Today, "a belief that orients the way we handle situations — the way we sort out what is going on and what we should do."
Mindsets work both positively and negatively: believing that everything you attempt is doomed to fail is an example of a self-fulfilling mindset; if you believe this defeatist mindset, you won't make a real attempt and yes, many things may fail. Carol Dweck, renowned psychologist and author of the book Mindset, advocates for a mindset that does the opposite. The Growth Mindset, as she calls it, expresses a belief that, no matter what happens, you can turn the experience into learning and growth. None of your abilities are fixed in a growth mindset; you aren't born a "good athlete" or a "bad mathematician." Instead, all of your capacities have the ability to grow.
Personal Growth and a Positive Mindset
Just the act of believing in, for instance, a growth mindset changes your ability to improve. If you see yourself as capable of change, you don't let any obstacles stop you from continuing forward. After all, excellent success stories don't include the phrase, "Something was hard, so I quit and did nothing instead." Believing you can grow will help you find workarounds, pursue greater knowledge, and commit to your dreams. Stress and obstacles are no match for these mindsets!
In particular, a mindset of Intention, Positivity, and Gratitude is the key to personal success. I'll refer to this, in short, as a Positive Mindset, but all three components matter. They are the principles through which I created the Happier Mind Journal; it aims to change the frame through which you see the world, your mindset, to one that values your intentions, positivity, and gratitude.
Growing With a Positive Mindset
Step 1: Learn to Sense Mindset Shift
Your first step is to become aware of your mindset. Start to notice the unconscious "scripts" that play through your head. When you encounter a success, what do you say to yourself? When you face a challenge, how do you respond? In this step, your goal is to notice, "wow, I didn't employ a positive mindset there, and look how it derailed my mood," or "Reframing to think about what I'm grateful for and what makes me happy actually changed my entire outlook on the situation!" It's easier to perfect a positive mindset once you actually notice how helpful they are.
Step 2: Counteract Negative Mindsets With Gratitude
When we aren't journaling, thinking about our goals, and being intentional, it is easy to slip out of a positive mindset. Don't beat yourself up about it - just redirect and bounce back with a simple gratitude exercise, like the free gratitude log worksheet on our website. As soon as you feel negativity, in yourself or in others, try to list 3 things about the situation for which you are grateful. You'd be surprised: there always are some! When you finish listing your gratitude, you will see that you have "reset" your mind to a place where it can be grateful for what you do have, rather than ruminating on what may be missing.
Another great gratitude strategy is what the Center for Contemplative Mind calls Loving-Kindness Meditation (it is practiced in many other places as well!). Taking time to purposely pursue compassion for others creates deep wells of gratitude for one's own life, and you'll be amazed how much a session of meditation after being around negative people can recenter you.
Step 3: Surround Yourself With Likeminded People
Speaking of negative people, your new step is to notice the mindsets of those around you. What scripts are they repeating? Positive ones or negative ones? Whenever possible, try to spend quality time with people who affirm positive mindsets and focus on achieving their goals. When you surround yourself with these kinds of people, you will notice a lot of improvements. Your relationships will be more satisfying, you'll have more energy and creativity, and you'll feel both happier and more productive. Positive mindsets not only fuel us but boost everyone else around us too, making the world a better place.
Step 4: Spend Time on Things That Inspire You
Even the most positive person still needs the light of inspiration to push them toward their goals. Construct daily and weekly routines that move you toward your goals so that you can see the gains of the positive mindset. Mindset is self-fulfilling: channel your positivity by engaging in excellent habits and you'll see the benefits multiply.
Consider trying the following to ignite inspiration:
- Read books and blogs by those who have been successful in the pursuits you are aiming for.
- Pursue hobbies like crafts, sports, games, and art.
- Listen to inspiring podcasts as you travel or do chores.
- Visit museums and galleries to marvel at the creativity of others.
These activities fuel your belief in possibilities and strengthen your positive mindset. What you see and believe fuels where you are able to go, so fill your mind with these affirming truths.
Step 5: Write About What Works For Maintaining a Positive Mindset
Throughout the process, but especially as you become an adept practitioner of the positive mindset, journal about your experiences. As with growth mindset, an hour or a day of negativity doesn't end your ability to move forward; it is an obstacle from which to redirect and refocus your efforts! Becoming a positive mindset person involves making sure that what goes into your mind and what comes out of it is steeped in gratitude, full of inspiring potential, and motivated by clear intentions and values. Writing down your insights along the way, as well as your constantly evolving goals, will hold you accountable and help you connect with your positive mindset through multiple daily entries in your journal.
Ready to try it out for yourself? Check out our Monthly Happiness Audit, available for free on our website, and consider the Happier Mind Journal to focus your energy on positive mindset this year.