When your clients struggle to maintain a growth mindset what can you do to help?
As a health coach or health professional, helping your clients achieve their health goals is at the heart of what you do.
One key factor in successfully achieving these goals is having a growth mindset, or the belief that abilities can be developed through effort and learning.
According to Carol Dweck, a leading researcher on the topic of growth mindset, people with a growth mindset are more likely to set and achieve challenging goals, embrace challenges, and learn from setbacks. 1
This is in contrast to those with a fixed mindset, who may believe that their abilities are fixed and are more likely to shy away from challenges and give up in the face of setbacks.
As an example of a fixed mindset, your client, Amanda, says to you, “It’s genetic. In my family people have painful periods. I may be able to improve my menstrual health a little, but I don’t think that relieving the pain completely is possible.”
If Amanda is willing to entertain a growth mindset she would instead say, “All of the women in my family have painful periods, but I am ready to learn the nutrition, lifestyle, and health interventions that I could consider that might fully relieve the pain if I make those changes over time."
Here are two more real-life examples of how a growth mindset can help individuals achieve their health goals:
1. Sarah struggled with insomnia for years, and had tried countless remedies to no avail.
She was starting to believe that her inability to sleep was just something she had to live with.
With the help of a health coach, Sarah learned to adopt a growth mindset and see her sleep issues as something that she could work on and improve.
She began to track her sleep patterns, establish a consistent bedtime routine, and learn relaxation techniques. As she worked on these strategies, Sarah began to see progress, and within a few months she was sleeping better than she had in years.
2. Rachel was a busy mom who struggled with chronic anxiety.
She felt like she was constantly on edge and had a hard time relaxing, even when she wasn't busy. With the help of her health coach, Rachel learned to reframe her anxiety as a challenge rather than a barrier.
She began to practice mindfulness techniques and set aside time each day to relax and recharge.
As she worked on developing a growth mindset, Rachel began to feel more in control of her anxiety and was able to find greater balance in her life.
As these examples show, a growth mindset can be a powerful tool in helping individuals achieve their health goals.
As a health coach or health professional, you can help your clients adopt a growth mindset and empower them to take control of their health and well-being.
Sometimes your client won’t have insight into her fixed mindset. She may have beliefs that she’s not even aware of that may be holding her back.
Consider some common fixed mindset beliefs:
- My health symptoms are genetic and unchangeable.
- I am an indecisive person.
- I am not a good sleeper. I have always had terrible sleep, even as a child.
- I don’t like the taste of healthy food.
- I need supplements to fully heal.
- I won’t be able to heal in this environment.
- I have to do this alone. No one is able to support me.
The first step to transition your clients beliefs from being fixed to being (even potentially) malleable is to bring awareness to these beliefs.
Encourage your client to see these beliefs, symptoms, or health concerns as challenges that have the potential to be improved or overcome.
Then, your client will be more able to learn from setbacks, and see their progress as a journey rather than a binary - good sleeper vs. bad sleeper, or healthy eater vs unhealthy eater.
With these mindset shifts and consistent effort, your clients can achieve their health goals and create lasting change in their lives.
Growth is always possible when your clients bring a growth mindset to their health issues.
Interested in learning more about how to better support clients who want to learn how to more effectively set and reach their goals?
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Dweck, C. S., & Yeager, D. S. (2019). Mindsets: A View From Two Eras. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 14(3), 481–496. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691618804166
Founder & CEO
Dr. Jessica Drummond,
DCN, CNS, PT, NBC-HWC
Dr. Jessica Drummond, DCN, CNS, PT, NBC-HWC, is the founder and CEO of The Integrative Women’s Health Institute, The Outsmart Endo Health Coaching Program, and the creator of the Women's Health Coach Certification. She is passionate about caring for and empowering people who struggle with women’s and pelvic health concerns. She is equally passionate about educating and supporting clinicians and wellness professionals in confidently and safely using integrative tools to transform women’s and pelvic healthcare.
Dr. Drummond has two decades of clinical experience as a licensed physical therapist, licensed clinical nutritionist, and board certified health coach working with women with pelvic pain, including endometriosis, vulvodynia, and bladder pain syndrome. She brings a unique, conservative, and integrative approach to supporting women to overcome hormonal imbalances, and chronic pain conditions.
She is a sought after international speaker on topics such as integrative pelvic pain management, natural fertility options, optimal hormone health, menopause, and female athlete nutrition. Dr. Drummond was educated at the University of Virginia, Emory University, Duke Integrative Medicine, and Maryland University of Integrative Health.
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