Headspace

Developing a growth mindset for a post-lockdown boost

Mar 10, 2021

Developing a growth mindset

Restrictions may have eased but for many people, motivation and mental well-being have taken a hit and stress levels are soaring as a result of the continued uncertainty about the future. Many runners are also still feeling like training is aimless with so many of our goal races cancelled for the year again.

So could having a growth mindset help to get our heads in the right space?

Having a growth mindset means believing that your abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. And now is the perfect time to develop those abilities to be prepared for reaching future goals.

3 ways a growth mindset is beneficial

Reduces stress

There is still much uncertainty around what the future may hold. Whilst research suggests that small amounts of stress may act as a motivational tool, too much stress can negatively impact well-being, motivational levels, goal achievement and can result in cognitive overloads.

People with a growth mindset view setbacks as temporary and are more inclined to find solutions.

Improves mental health

Mental well-being has taken a hit after prolonged social isolation and a lack of normalcy. Researchers from Harvard University found that having a growth mindset not only boosted physiological recovery following a socially stressful task short-term but had long-lasting benefits on mental well-being and self-esteem as well.

Helps to cope with change

Change is an inevitable part of any person’s life, and this past year has been no exception. Fostering a growth mindset helps you to cope better with uncertainty and change instead of being overwhelmed by it. Those people also able to adapt faster and more effectively when exposed to an unfamiliar situation as they view it as an opportunity to develop their abilities.

3 ways to develop a growth mindset

Try different strategies

Different strategies are going to work for different people, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve failed if at first you don’t see results straight away. Take a different approach to training, see what different coaches are recommending and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Reflect on your previous running performance and think about why your previous training may have let you down. Look at different training methods and find one that will work for you.

Avoid ‘I can’t’

We’re creatures of habit. So when it comes to trying new things or attempting a challenging task, the initial response for many is to say “I can’t do this”.

Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes (improving your performance isn’t a straight-forward process). You may be surprised at how well you can actually do if you change your perception to “I can’t do this…yet”. This enables you to be more curious and confident.

Set high standards

No-one rises to low expectations. However, make sure your expectations are also realistic.

Having expectations that are both challenging and realistic will motivate you to push harder to reach your goals.

Final thoughts

‘Developing a Growth Mindset’ shouldn’t be thought of as a tick box exercise. It is not an intervention, but a philosophy. One that is built on the foundation that we can all learn, improve and develop.

Lloyd Bemelman


Lloyd Bemelman is qualified sports psychologist from Champion Sports Psychology who helps people overcome the mental barriers to their sports performance. He was also a professional athlete for 8 years. Read more about Lloyd Bemelman here.

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