Mindset is a set of attitudes, says Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford psychologist, who discovered after years of research that dedication, hard work and resilience are much more important to growth and success than brains or talent. When we change our mindset to one of growth, we change the course of our lives.
We can do these simple steps every day, quickly and easily, to improve our mindset:
A. Just breathe. (5 minutes): Studies show that just a few minutes a day of quiet can open our brains and make it available for our most innovative ideas. Sit or stand in a quiet spot, feet on the floor, and hands by your side or on your knees. Now just quiet your mind—picture a place that is your idea of peace, such as a beach or a mountain. Just breathe, consciously and deeply from your belly. If your thoughts start to intrude (the project is due today, a late bill, etc.), just notice, then go back to your picture. You don’t have to be a meditation expert to do this. Five to 10 minutes of quiet, deep breathing during the day can also help us get back on track when stress levels get high, and clear our minds to come up with a better solution or next step to our challenge.
B. Check your thoughts. (5 minutes): Have you ever gotten up in the morning when the weather is lousy and said, This is going to be a bad day? I have. More times than not, it guaranteed a day that finished the same way. Our thoughts are powerful. They create feelings, which leads to actions and behaviors that determine whether our day goes well. Learning that we can choose our thoughts is one of the most powerful things we can do to take charge of our lives. Taking five minutes to make sure our thoughts are positive starts the day off with the right mindset.
C. Write your grateful list. (3 minutes): Set the timer and write down five things you are grateful for every day. According to research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, keeping a gratitude journal contributes to a positive life attitude, and makes us feel better, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems. Try for a different list each day, and at the end of the week you will be surprised how this helps your mindset.
D. Set your intention for the day. (5 minutes): Before you leave in the morning, set an intention of how you want the day to end. How do you want the actions you accomplish today to make you feel at the end of the day? How do you want to feel about your relationships, and what can you do today to move that forward? It doesn’t have to be major. What is one thing you can do that will make you feel better at the end of the day?
E. Turn off the noise. (2 minutes): Just for today, find something else to listen to when you begin your day. Do your morning commute without listening to the news (it’s never positive), talking on the phone or checking social media. Listen to your favorite music, a lecture you’ve recorded and have been wanting to get time for, or just observe what’s happening around you. There will be plenty of time to find out what’s happening in the world when you get to your destination. Do this for a week and you will find yourself arriving at work in a calmer, more positive and relaxed mindset. Best of all, you will discover you haven’t missed a thing.
That’s it—just 20 minutes and you are well on your way to a more positive mindset. Practice this for just two weeks. You will see a tremendous difference in your productivity and your attitude.