A mindset is a way of thinking that influences your behavior and view on life. For example, someone with a victim mindset might think, “The world’s against me, bad things always happen to me,” while someone with a hero mindset might think, “I can rise above my challenges.”
There are several different types of mindsets. A few examples include:
- Scarcity (there’s not enough to go around for everyone)
- Abundance (there’s plenty to go around for everyone)
- Fixed (you are who you are and there’s no changing it)
- Growth (you can learn and become a better you)
- Victim (everyone and everything is against you)
- Hero (you can overcome whatever’s thrown your way)
Persisting in a state of negativity can lead to poor decisions and lifestyle habits — but you can break a downward spiral by learning how to change your mindset.
Can You Change Your Mindset?
Yes, anyone can change their mindset with practice. It works by intentionally shifting your habits and thought patterns every day until thinking positively becomes natural.
“Whatever we do repetitively becomes an easily worn path or option our brain is likely to take,” says clinician Stephanie Larsen, who helps “rewire brains” at her clinic, Restore Behavioral Health.
Larsen recently helped a patient change his negative behaviors — hoarding, alcoholism, tardiness, and binge eating — by pushing him to accept his flaws and reflect on his strengths. Over time, he saw he was worthy and deserving of a better life, resulting in him making positive changes.
How Changing Your Mindset Can Change Your Life
Changing your mindset can improve your well-being and decision making, leading to improvements in your personal and professional life.
For example, you may feel down at a dead-end job. But after a mindset shift, you decide to learn a new skill, then search for new opportunities until eventually finding a more fulfilling career.
The right mindset can help entrepreneurs overcome business hardships. For example, businesses facing financial woes can:
- Perform a detailed analysis on the problem, why it’s happening, and what’s required to overcome it.
- Focus on what it can do to improve the situation. If sales are dwindling, you can look for partnerships to expand into new markets or introduce new products or services.
- Cut costs and improve efficiency, such as by building repeatable processes and outsourcing to freelancers vs. hiring full-time employees.
- Set realistic goals and celebrate achievements along the way.
- Keep its eyes on the prize. Even if you don’t reach your goal in three months, seeing the incremental successes should keep you moving forward.
By focusing on the positive and what you can do, you prevent negative thoughts that can stop you from taking the necessary actions to achieve your goals.
How To Change Your Mindset To Be Positive
Seeing the glass half full, even in times of adversity, is sometimes all it takes to shift your perspective.
If you commit to the following steps, you may find optimism become a natural part of your life and thoughts:
- Identify your negative thought patterns and behaviors by journaling. For example, jot down when you talk yourself out of making a change or doing something you’ve never done before.
- Choose a positive mantra or affirmation to tell yourself when you experience negative thoughts, such as “I can do anything I set my mind to” or “I’m capable of achieving success.”
- Make an effort to focus on the positives in any situation, no matter how small they may be.
- Take time to relax and practice mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, or journaling regularly.
- Surround yourself with positive people who will support and encourage you to reach your goals.
- Set realistic goals that’ll help you move forward, starting small and working your way to larger achievements.
- Take necessary risks and try new things — even if it feels uncomfortable at first — so you can build confidence and resilience. For instance, if you’re introverted, try out networking opportunities, which are critical to opening doors.
- Look for opportunities to learn from mistakes rather than dwelling on them or beating yourself up.
- Be kind and patient with yourself as you make changes and progress toward a more positive mindset.
How To Change Your Mindset for Success
Things don’t always go as planned, but whether you bounce back and try again is up to you. If you’re constantly feeling like you’'re a failure, then it’s time for a mindset shift toward success.
Here are tips you can use to make that happen:
- Acknowledge your limitations: The first step in changing your mindset is to acknowledge any limitations or beliefs you may have about yourself that are holding you back.
- Set realistic goals: Setting realistic goals is key to achieving success. Make sure your goals are achievable and measurable, so you can track your progress and stay motivated.
- Visualize your success: Visualization is a powerful tool for creating the life you want. Spend time each day visualizing yourself achieving your goals and living the life of your dreams.
- Celebrate your successes: Celebrating your successes, no matter how small, will help you stay motivated and keep striving for bigger and better things.
- Surround yourself with positive people: The people you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on your mental health. Fill your circle with people who support and encourage you to reach your goals.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining a positive mindset. Make sure you’re taking time to relax, practicing mindfulness, eating well, and getting enough sleep.
How To Change Your Mindset From Fixed to Growth
A fixed mindset is the belief that your abilities and talents are set in stone and cannot be improved. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that you can develop your skills and abilities through effort and practice.
To make the switch, try these tips:
- Identify your limiting beliefs: The first step to changing your mindset from fixed to growth is to identify any limiting beliefs you may have about yourself. These could be beliefs about your intelligence, capabilities, or potential for success.
- Challenge your limiting beliefs: Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, it’s time to challenge them. Ask yourself if these beliefs are true or if they’re just holding you back from reaching your full potential.
- Reframe your thoughts: Instead of focusing on what you can’t do or what you don’t know, reframe your thoughts to focus on what you can do and what you can learn with effort and practice.
- Take action: Taking action is the only way to progress toward your goals. Break down big tasks into smaller milestones and start moving forward.
- Learn from your mistakes: Mistakes are inevitable, but instead of beating yourself up, reflect on what you could’ve done differently and use it as an opportunity to grow.
How To Change Your Mindset Quickly
While practices like saying affirmations and refraining from negative behaviors can reveal instant changes to your mindset, they won’t stick unless you keep at them long-term. Larsen says habits become behaviors — so the more you do something, the more it becomes a part of who you are.
You can start by learning more deeply about the topic. For instance, listen to podcasts, read books, or work with a coach who’s an expert in mindset resets.
Here are a few resources to check out:
- The Mel Robbins Podcast shares motivations, stories, and tactics to improve your life.
- The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher helps you redefine success and chase your life goals.
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success written by Dr. Carol Dweck provides a psychological explanation of success and how to shift into a growth mindset.
- The Miracle Morning written by Hal Elrod details how to create a morning routine that gives you motivation and focus to improve your life.
“The speed at which our mindset can be changed can be influenced by a few specific factors,” says Danielle Joworski, a mindset and business coach for women.
These factors include:
- Clarity: Be clear on the desired outcome or goal to be achieved in your new mindset.
- Connect: Connect to a reason for why the outcome or changed mindset is important.
- Consistency: Take consistent actions and steps to change your mindset, and reinforce the change using tools that work for you (e.g., writing or saying affirmations, journaling daily goals, working with a coach).