Mindsets for health goal success: Part II
by Annabel Kupke
Balancing work and home life with our personal health goals can be trying, but seeing ourselves as works in progress — i.e. always growing — allows us to take a more compassionate approach to living a healthy lifestyle. In our last post on growth mindsets, we discussed removing some key roadblocks to change, but that’s only one key part of the equation. The other is recognizing and seeking those opportunities for healthy changes. Here enters the abundance mindset and its adversary, the scarcity mindset.
To start, I should underscore that these mindsets are not simple expressions of “have and have-not” perspectives. They’re about how we relate to the resources we do have.
So a little about these mindsets…
Deep-rooted in a belief that resources are easily depleted, the scarcity mindset operates almost entirely within a framework of avoidance — of pain, loss, discomfort. And so, it concerns itself most with protecting its resources. Certainly, it’s good to be careful with how and to whom you give your resources (whether that’s your time or money well-earned), but life feels bleak when it’s the zero-sum game that the scarcity mindset endorses. If you do something well, it puts the next person in a one-down position. There’s isn’t enough to go around.
If we’re approaching the world from a place of feeling like there’s not enough time, energy, and love to go around, the world feels competitive, cut-throat. Granted, some amount of competitive drive amongst us humans is natural and even benefits us at times. A lot of worldly resources are finite, but behavior-shaping resources like energy, motivation, and dedication to a goal are replenish-able. An abundance mindset promotes eustress (“good” stress), which is positively motivating, and helps us tap into our resources and keep them brimming.
An abundance mindset starts and ends with our health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there are many ways to nurture an abundance mindset. You can start with fundamentally recognizing the abundance in your life. This really means finding something — even the smallest thing — you’re grateful for and savoring it. A morning cup of coffee, the park by your house, the friendships you’ve maintained over the years, you can enlarge the footprint of any one thing that seems like a trivial fortune on first glance to meaning more and appreciating it more deeply. It’s something we like to think of as the “window maximizing effect”!
Here are three more ideas for cultivating abundance:
Focus on what you favor. Focus on those health behaviors that you actually like, instead of the health trends that you feel like you’re supposed to like, but actually don’t. Hot yoga not your thing? Don’t force yourself into it. Maybe you’d rather just be outside, cook from scratch, or work on organizing yourself. Health isn’t just about fitness and nutrition, it also involves nurturing your creative and spiritual sides. Do more of what feels right to you!
Accept where you’re at. It’s easy to focus on how far you still are from some change you’re after, whether that’s pounds away from your ideal weight, or relationships away from finding a life-partner. Those with a scarcity mindset respond to that now-later gap with fear, but those with an abundance mindset accept they’ve got some work to do and get going. Because they’ve freed up the mental space they’ll need to work towards those goals, they can approach them with compassion and a clear mind.
Give more. Although it sounds counterintuitive, the more you give, the ‘richer’ you feel. A research study on generosity and time perception found that our sense of having time, what the researchers called ‘time affluence’, can be increased by spending time and energy on others. If this is true of giving time to others, why couldn’t it be true for work, health, and wellbeing? When we focus on what we can give, our investment is easier and we feel lighter and more aligned with how we want to be in the world. Whether you’re looking to put more energy or intention towards your relationships, your workouts, or your nutrition, the simple switch from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” …to this project, workout, conversation, relationship, or blog post changes our way of relating to our resources. And in doing so, creates a world richer with opportunities.
Starting with gratitude improves our health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. As with most things in life, maintaining an abundance mindset requires persistence. We might swing back and forth between scarcity and abundance mindsets over weeks or even on a given day, and that’s ok. Each day and week brings its own wave of opportunities, the choice to pick one over the other and to flex your mind in new ways.
You see, opportunity abounds.
It’s important to note that in much of our country and world, scarcity plays a terrible and sometimes fatal role. A lack of clean water, healthcare, sanitation, and food bring unnecessary suffering, and there is a lot of work to be done by those of us in positions of privilege to spread around the abundance. We hope this piece helps speak to shifting ourselves so we can address the need in the world in thoughtful and compassionate ways.
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At Salubris, we’re most passionate about supporting and empowering the individual YOU. We recognize that evolving ourselves to be healthier is a long process that all of us start in different places, and we hope to provide that extra boost of inspiration and will power needed for each day on the way.