Woman using BLK BOX Barbell

The First Step Towards Breaking Mental Habits

Blog Post Written By Annika McGivern, Sport and Exercise Psychology Consultant

There is one foundational concept in performance psychology that influences absolutely everything in your life. It determines quality of life. It is deeply related to self-esteem and confidence. It influences your very identity and the way you perceive the world. This concept is mindset.

A mindset is a set of beliefs that shapes your perspective of yourself and the world. It is a set of beliefs that determines what you are capable of. As we grow up, this set of beliefs is formed subconsciously and solidifies into a habitual way of thinking about ourselves and the world.

In a fixed mindset, we believe that we come into the world with a fixed amount of intelligence and talent, and that regardless of effort we will never progress past those pre-determined levels of opportunity. The goal of a fixed mindset is to look as smart or as talented as possible. A fixed mindset brings you down the safest path, it protects your ego and never forces you to confront your weaknesses.

In a growth mindset, we believe that we can improve and achieve excellence in absolutely anything, if we are prepared to apply huge amounts of effort and dedication over time. The goal of a growth mindset is to use that effort to continuously learn, grow and develop new skills. This leads to seeing challenges and ‘being uncomfortable’ as important development opportunities. A growth mindset leads you to take more risks and embrace more challenges. It lets go of ego and focuses instead on steady improvement. It forces you to get comfortable with confronting your weaknesses and then doing something to improve them.

I absolutely love teaching people about mindset. There are many perspectives in performance psychology on how to best optimize a performer’s state of mind. You can look at hacking the ‘flow state’; the art of finding your way into complete focus in the present moment. You can look at the balance of wellbeing. You can work on confidence and self-esteem. I use all these approaches and more, and they all bring value. However, mindset remains my absolute favorite, go-to starting framework. I find that by unlocking someone’s mindset, their capacity to change their own lives skyrockets. Believing their hard work will result in what they desire leads people to start seeking out the information they need and developing the skills they want.  

Equally exciting, I find that shifting someone to growth mindset completely restructures their self-esteem, their own perspective of self-worth, and empowers them to shape their own confidence.

It is a shift from choosing to believe that life happens to you, that you’re born a certain way and you just have to make the best of what you’re dealt, to choosing to believe that life will be exactly what you make of it. That it is our choices, passion and perseverance that determines everything. It means taking full responsibility for your life and stepping up to the challenge.

If the concept of mindset speaks to you, I’m excited to share that I am currently finishing an online course designed specifically for personal trainers where I explain mindset at depth as part of clear, systematic approach to re-wiring the habitual and unhelpful thinking patterns that so often hold us back from achieving our full potential. This course will transform the way you think about yourself, your business and your potential. And, it will give you the skills to guide your clients through that same transformation of thought and belief.

Here is a sneak peak at the course’s curriculum:

  1. Building Self-Belief in yourself, your method and your business: how to tackle your own mindset and limiting beliefs. 
  2. Clarity and Goals: learn how to use your own values, habits and vision of success to guide you through difficult decisions and goal setting.
  3. Communication with Clients: skills to navigate difficult conversations and situations with clients without losing business.
  4. Client Mindset: A clear system for shifting clients from a fixed to a growth mindset.
  5. Client Motivation, Identity and Clarity: how to guide your client to see their own potential, how to shift their habits and identity around health and exercise and how to set goals in a new way that establishes long-term direction and motivation.

There will be three group coaching calls included in the course, giving you the opportunity to discuss what you are learning at length with myself and other PTs who are equally excited about developing their knowledge of exercise psychology.

Check out the link to register and receive a 10% discount (code BLKBOX10) off the early-bird prices for this unique training opportunity

Or, contact me at annika@annikamcgivern.com for more information.