personal development

  • How a Growth Mindset Can Help You to Reach Your Goals

    How a Growth Mindset Can Help You to Reach Your Goals

     

    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”.

    You’ve probably heard this quote by Henry Ford before. Turns out he was really onto something.

    There’s been a lot of research to look into how our mindset impacts our level of success and it turns out, it’s pretty darn important.

    The concept of a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset was developed by a psychologist named Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

    The gist of it is that your mindset determines whether you’ll even attempt to take on new challenges, and therefore how successful you’ll be down the road.

    This definitely got my attention, because I know I definitely have some limiting beliefs for myself at times.

    In this post, I’m talking all about growth mindset vs. fixed mindset and sharing how a growth mindset can help you reach your goals.

     

    How a Growth Mindset Can Help You to Reach Your Goals

    There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.

     

    Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

     

    Growth Mindset

    Those with a growth mindset believe that skills and intelligence can be developed. This mindset pushed people to embrace challenges and learning opportunities because they see them as the road to success and personal development.

    Because of this, people with a growth mindset are ultimately more likely to be successful and surpass their current level of achievement.

     

    Fixed Mindset

    Those with a fixed mindset are more likely to believe that skills and intelligence are static and can’t be changed. They believe that what they’re good at now is all they’ll ever be good at.

    Because of this, people with a fixed mindset are likely to only take on tasks that will reaffirm their abilities. In other words, they only reach for goals they know they’ll reach.

    They generally aren’t going to push themselves to take on new challenges or learn new skills. They just think it can’t be done!

    And in the long-run, this really limits their success in life.

     

    Benefits of a Growth Mindset

    Now that you know the difference between a fixed mindset and growth mindset (and hopefully have figured out which you have), let’s talk about some of the benefits of having a growth mindset.

     

    You’re Eager to Learn

    People with a growth mindset are excited to learn. They know that the knowledge and abilities they have are NOT finite, and they can continue to grow as individuals throughout their entire lives.

    Because of this, those with a growth mindset will be more likely to seek out learning opportunities to learn more and become more successful.

     

    You Can Thrive in Tough Times

    People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their current situation and abilities are permanent. This means that during tough times, people with a fixed mindset are likely to think things can’t or won’t get better.

    People with a growth mindset, however, will be more optimistic. They’ll be more persistent and embrace the challenge ahead of them. And they’ll take the lessons of their current situation and use those to be more successful and make different choices in the future.

     

    You Look At Failure Differently

    When you fall short of reaching a goal, do you call it a failure and quit?

    Or do you take the information and experience you’ve gained from that failure and approach the same goal in a different way?

    If the first sentence sounded like you, then you’re probably hanging onto a fixed mindset right now.

    People with a growth mindset look at failure as an opportunity and a lesson. If you fall short of a goal, you haven’t failed! You just haven’t reached your goal yet.

    People with a growth mindset take note of where they fell short, and they fix those things the next time around.

    The important part is that they don’t quit just because things didn’t go perfectly the first time around.

     

     

    You’re Ready For a Challenge

    Those with a growth mindset welcome a challenge instead of fearing it. Those with a fixed mindset are constantly trying to reaffirm their abilities, while those with a growth mindset want to expand their abilities!

    When Dweck was doing research on fixed vs. growth mindset, she worked with children to try to identify the two mindsets from a young age. They did this by offering four-year-olds a choice of puzzles to complete.

    Those with a fixed mindset continually chose easy puzzles they knew they could complete. Those with a growth mindset chose puzzles that would challenge them, even if they ultimately weren’t able to complete them.

    If you look at challenges with a fixed mindset, you might achieve everything you set out to do. But you’re also probably setting the bar so low that you know you’ll achieve everything.

    If you’re really focused on personal development, learn to face challenges with a growth mindset.

     

    How to Develop a Growth Mindset

    Now that you know the benefits of having a growth mindset, you’re probably thinking, “how the heck do I get one??” Even if you’ve had a fixed mindset your entire life, you CAN develop a growth mindset!

     

    Identify the Limiting Beliefs

    What beliefs do you have that have been holding you back? Here are some examples of limiting beliefs you might have:

    • I’m bad at ___.
    • I can’t ___.
    • I will fail if I try ___.

    I know you’ve had limiting beliefs. I can literally think of limiting beliefs I’ve had in the last couple of days. But I noticed them for what they are, and that’s the important thing!

     

    Challenge Those Beliefs with Growth Mindset Beliefs

    When you feel that fixed mindset and limiting beliefs creeping in argue back with a growth mindset.

    Seriously, don’t take no for an answer!

    For example, if you fall short of reaching a goal, you might convince yourself that you’ve failed and aren’t capable of reaching that goal. Instead, fight back and tell yourself you haven’t reached your goal YET – there’s still time!

    If you’re striving for a goal and your fixed mindset convince you that you’ll fail, fight back! Remind yourself that you will definitely fail if you don’t try. And if you do fall short, it isn’t a failure. It’s a learning experience. And the next time you try for that goal you’ll have an even better shot because you’ll be armed with more information and more experience.

     

    Focus on Self-Awareness

    Even if you achieve that growth mindset you’ve been striving for, self-awareness is important to help you KEEP your growth mindset.

    Continue to push yourself to embrace learning, embrace challenges, and even embrace failure because of lessons you gain from it.

     

    Final Thoughts

    So many of us think about how our skills and knowledge might impact what we can achieve. We don’t even think of the role that mindset plays!

    But in fact, your mindset is even more important than your skills or knowledge!

    As I’ve said, having a growth mindset is something I’ve struggled with. I definitely don’t approach every challenge with optimism.

    Literally just the other day I was telling my boyfriend that I was convinced we weren’t going to reach a big goal we’ve been striving for. That’s why self-awareness is SO important! I can’t just let that fixed mindset win because I’ll end up giving up on my goal!

    I hope you’ll use the lessons in this post to take a look at your own mindset and identify areas where a fixed mindset and limiting beliefs are holding you back.

    Then you just need to keep fighting back until that growth mindset wins!

  • How to Set Goals and Plan Your Best Year Ever

    Just a few years ago, I was one of those people who would set a few arbitrary new year’s resolutions on January 1, only to never think about them again.

    That’s how most of us set goals. We think of a goal or something we might want to accomplish in the future. Then we either hope it happens, or we forget about it altogether.  

    But if you really want to achieve your goals, you’re going to have to do more. Achieving your goals takes time, effort, and planning. You can’t achieve goals just by hoping they happen someday. You have to take action.

    In this post, I’m going to lay out the steps you can follow to set goals you’ll actually achieve and plan your best year ever.

     

    How to Set Goals and Plan Your Best Year Ever

     

    How to Set Goals and Plan Your Best Year Ever

    STEP 1: REFLECT

    You can’t set goals for your future until you take some time to reflect on your past and where you are right now.

    I want you to grab a notebook or open a word document, and write down the following life categories:

    1. Relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, family)
    2. Health (physical and emotional)
    3. Career
    4. Finances
    5. Home/Environment
    6. Fun & Leisure
    7. Personal Growth

    If there are any major categories in your life that aren’t represented here, such as religion, parenthood, etc., feel free to add those as well.

    Next, go through each category and write down where you are NOW.

    Be honest with yourself about the good and bad in your life for each of these categories.

     

    STEP 2: ENVISION YOUR FUTURE

    Once you’ve thought about where you are right now, take a look at each of those life categories and envision what you want them to look like in the future.

    You can be as broad or as specific as you’d like. In this goal-setting exercise, we’re just envisioning our future, not choosing a big goal yet.

    For example, do you see yourself getting married? Having kids?

    Maybe you hope to own your own business someday or have a corporate career trajectory in mind.

    I love doing this exercise right after Step 1 because it’s SO eye-opening. It really shows you the discrepancies between where you are now and where you want to be. And it REALLY helps with setting goals.

     

    STEP 3: SET SMARTER GOALS

    Now that you’ve thought about what you want your future to look like in all areas of your life, I want you to focus on ONE of those areas to focus on right now.

    Yep, just one. If you set a bunch of BIG goals for yourself, you’ll be unfocused and will have a really difficult time reaching them all.

    By setting just ONE big goal, you can give it your full focus and really ensure you accomplish it.

    When it comes to setting goals, make sure to make it SMARTER:

    • Specific: The more specific your goals, the better. Don’t just set a goal of earning money with your side hustle. Set a goal of earning $1,000/month from your side hustle within the first year (for example).
    • Measurable: The progress of this goal can be easily tracked. $1,000/month is very specific – you’ll know for sure if you’ve reached it or not, as well as if you’re on track to reach it. And once you know how much you want to make per month, you know what your daily and weekly goals should be.
    • Attainable: While setting your goals high is awesome, make sure it’s something you can actually accomplish. Consider what will be required of you to complete this goal, and carefully consider whether you have that to give.
    • Relevant: Make sure your goal is in harmony with your core values and what you’re working toward in life. If your ultimate dream is to work from home full-time, then setting a goal of $1,000/month in the first year is awesome because you’re totally moving in the right direction.
    • Time Bound: Don’t make the time frame for reaching your goals open-ended. We tend to take as long to accomplish a task as we are allowed. If your goals are completely open-ended, they may never seem urgent enough to get to. As you can see, we set a time frame of one year for the goal we’re using as an example.
    • Exciting: Let’s be real – it’s going to be a lot easier to make time to work on goals that excite and inspire you. Emotions are a big factor when it comes to goal-setting, and you’re far more likely to reach for things that excite you.
    • Routine Bound: I firmly believe that creating routines and habits is the absolute best way to make changes in your life. Incorporating your goal into your daily routine ensures you’re making time for it and gives you a MUCH better chance of reaching it. For example, you might say that every evening you get home from work at 6 pm and work on your online business until 8 pm. It becomes a daily routine and ensures you’re putting in the time to reach that $1,000/month goal.

     

    STEP 4: BREAK DOWN YOUR GOALS

    Now that we’ve picked our big goal, it’s time to break it down. Looking at your goal as one big, huge step is going to be super overwhelming. You’re probably going to get discouraged pretty quickly because you just don’t know where to start.

    When I’m planning the action steps for my goals, I like to start by breaking the goal down into categories or mini goals. Basically, what big-picture things need to get done in order for you to reach your big goal?

    I do this by breaking down my big goal into categories. Then I break those categories, or mini-goals, down into smaller chunks. And then break those down into smaller chunks. And I just keep breaking them down into smaller and smaller pieces until everything leads to tiny, bite-size action items that can be put on your to-do list.

    Once you’ve done that, get those action items scheduled on your calendar or to-do list ASAP.

    Depending on the size of your goal, you might be talking about 90 days of action items, you might be talking about one year of action items, or you might be talking about even more. Just make sure you know what that time frame is (remember the T in SMARTER stands for Time-Bound).

     

    STEP 5: CREATE POSITIVE HABITS

    Setting goals is the fun part. It’s the follow-through that tends to get a bit rocky. The absolute best way to follow through on your goals and make time to work toward them every day is to form positive habits and daily routines that incorporate your goal.

    Let’s say your goal is fitness related. Maybe you want to run a marathon or lose a certain amount of weight. By working fitness into your daily routine and making it a habit, you won’t have to remind yourself every day or try to talk yourself into it. You’ll just do it.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind to REALLY make sure the habit sticks:

    • Focus on ONE habit at a time. Implementing a new habit is really hard. Implementing a bunch at once is damn near impossible.
    • Smart SMALL. If you want to start incorporating fitness into your life but NEVER work out right now, don’t try to start working out for an hour every single day. Start small and work your way up.
    • Anchor your new habit to an existing habit. Your day is already filled with habits. Anchor your new habit to one of those existing ones to make SURE it gets done.
    • Schedule it. A new habit might be hard to remember the first few weeks, so schedule it or set a reminder on your phone.

     

    STEP 6: CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY

    I tend to be a little overzealous when it comes to goal setting. And when I say a little overzealous, I mean a lot overzealous. But for years and years, I found that I would set these big lofty goals, and then they would fall through the cracks.

    Sometimes I would work toward them for a while and then lose my motivation. Or worse, I would lose my motivation pretty much right away and forget all about them.

    The best way I’ve found to stop this from happening is to create a system for accountability right away.

    So how do we go about creating accountability? Here are some ways to do just that:

    • Write down your goal. Seriously, this is a step most people DON’T take.
    • Share your goal. Pick just one person to share your goal with who can help keep you accountable, whether that be a partner, a friend, a parent, etc.
    • Track your progress. Remember that SMARTER goals are MEASURABLE, meaning you can measure their progress. Find a way to do this by using a notebook, journal, spreadsheet, etc.

     

    Final Thoughts

    As with literally anything, advice is only as good as the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into it.

    But if you are truly diligent about implementing these steps and following through with the tasks you’ve put on your calendar, you are sure to reach your big goal this year.

  • How to Use the 80/20 Rule (AKA the Pareto Principle) to Improve Your Finances

    When it comes to life hacks, the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) is one that is seriously overlooked but can have a serious impact on your life.

    So what is the 80/20 rule? Founded by economist Vilfredo Pareto, the rule says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions. Pareto was only using the rule for a few specific situations at the time, but it’s since been shown that it can apply to just about anything.

    And you might be surprised that the 80/20 rule can even help you to improve your personal finances, as we’ll explain in this article.

     

    How to Use the 80/20 Rule (AKA the Pareto Principle) to Improve Your Finances

     

    What is the 80/20 Rule?

    The 80/20 rule — formally known as the Pareto Principle — is a rule that states that 20% of your inputs lead to 80% of your outputs. 

    The principle dates back to the late 19th century with Pareto, an Italian economist. He noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden resulted in 80% of the pea pods. More importantly, he found the same pattern could apply to the country’s wealth distribution.

    In the years since Pareto discovered this principle, it’s been applied to many other areas of life, from business to law enforcement to healthcare.

    Here are a few examples of how the 80/20 rule can apply to your life:

    • Your to-do list: You might find that 20% of the tasks on your to-do list contribute to 80% of your productivity, while the other 80% of tasks contribute to just 20% of your productivity.
    • Your habits: The majority of our days are made up of habits, and you might find that just 20% of your habits are responsible for 80% of your results, whether those habits and results are good or bad.
    • Your relationships: Some of the relationships in your life are more important than others. I try to maximize the 20% of my relationships that bring me the most joy and are most important to me.
    • Your possessions: Chances are that a few of the possession in your home are the homes you use most often, while most of your possessions aren’t used on a daily basis.

     

    How to apply the 80/20 rule to your finances

    In addition to the other areas of your life where the 80/20 rule can apply, there are a few areas of your finances where it can plan an important role.

     

    YOUR BUDGET

    Many people apply the 80/20 rule to their budget as a way to allocate their spending. This budgeting method combines the Pareto Principle with the 50/30/20 budgeting method made famous by Elizabeth Warren.

    In the 50/30/20 budget, you spend 50% of your income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings. The 80/20 budget is a simpler version of it.

    Using the 80/20 budgeting method, 80% of your income goes toward monthly expenses and spending, while the other 20% goes toward savings and investments.

    Of course, the 80/20 budget rule won’t work for everyone. If you’re working toward a specific financial goal, like paying off debt or early retirement, you might put more than 20% of your income toward your goal. Meanwhile, someone with a low income or in a high-cost-of-living area may need to spend more than 80% of their income on monthly expenses and spending.

    If nothing else, this budgeting method is ideal for those who aren’t sure how much of their money they should be spending versus saving and want a bit of guidance.

     

    YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO

    Another area where the 80/20 rule can apply to your finances is your investment portfolio. In this case, many investors will find that roughly 20% of their investment holdings will lead to about 80% of their growth. 

    While these percentages won’t be exact, the general rule applies that a small number of your investments will result in the most growth. But because you can’t know ahead of time which those investments will be, it’s important to have a well-diversified portfolio.

    We can see evidence of this by looking at weighted index funds like total stock market funds or S&P 500 funds. A handful of large companies make up most of the portfolio, even though there are hundreds or thousands of companies in those funds.

     

    YOUR BUSINESS

    Another area of your finances where the 80/20 rule can apply is in your business. First, many businesses find that a small number of their products are responsible for the majority of their revenue. 

    Similarly, many businesses find that a small number of customers or clients are responsible for a majority of their business. I can attest to this one myself. A handful of my freelance clients are responsible for the majority of my income, while the rest of my clients bring in smaller (but still important) income each month.

    A final application of the 80/20 rule in business applies to where you spend your time. Spend some time paying attention to the tasks you’re working on throughout the day. You may find that a small number of tasks are directly responsible for the majority of your income, while the majority of your tasks don’t really result in any money.

     

    Final Thoughts

    It’s amazing how changing or maximizing a minority of the actions you take in a day can have such a serious impact on your results. 

    Now that you’ve seen some examples of the 80/20 rule at work, it’s easy to see how it can apply to your own life and not just to your personal finances. You may find examples in your relationships, career, personal development, home, and more.

    The key is identifying those actions that are responsible for the greatest results and finding ways to maximize or go all in on them.