Struggling with a self-limiting mindset? Here are 4 steps to get past it.

Struggling to move ahead? Here's how to change your mindset.

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut—either in your personal or professional life? You’re not alone.

Success, happiness, and fulfillment may seem elusive, but there’s a way forward. And it has nothing to do with trying to manipulate external factors. No; it’s all about addressing your own fixed mindset.

You see, most individuals have a static idea of themselves. The unfortunate consequence is that they never really take the initiative to develop themselves.

If you are serious about transforming yourself and taking vital steps forward, however, you are going to have to overturn your entrenched view of yourself and gain some healthy perspective on your own potential and progress.

First, a little background. The theory of prevailing “fixed mindsets” was revealed by way of research conducted by Standford Professor Carol Dweck. When she examined the idea of students’ mindsets, she found that those who believed that they could change aspects of themselves were more likely to achieve success than those with incredible dreams and a self-limiting perspective on what was possible.

There is no denying that dislodging a fixed mindset is a difficult process. It requires determination, practice, and patience. However, if you make the necessary effort, you will be able to expand your view of your own potential and, as a result, make success truly achievable.

With this in mind, here are a few techniques to use that will move you from permanent stagnation to daily growth and achievement:

Use yoga to restructure your thinking

Many people use yoga as a way to improve their fitness and manage stress or anxiety. But it has a tangential benefit that few pay much attention to: It helps reframe how you think.

In fact, there are studies that show yoga can actually help to change certain structures in your brain. Let’s focus on the part of the brain that pertains to your mindset—namely, the superior parietal cortex, which directs your mind’s attention.

Scientists have discovered that yoga devotees are more likely to experience an increase in the size of this area of the brain. Thus, they are a lot better at re-directing their attention to desired topics or matters.

How does attention link up with changing your mindset? Well, a fixed mindset often stems from persistent negative thinking patterns and deprecating self-talk. If you are constantly bombarded with thoughts that insist you can’t achieve a certain goal or move forward, you fall into the habit of succumbing to those negative voices.

However, by practicing yoga, you have more control over the attention paid to those thoughts. As a result, when these negative thought patterns appear, you’re better able to direct them to positive affirmations. Put simply, you can change the nagging “I can’t do this” refrain to a more productive “I can do this” thought pattern.

Focus on yoga as a tool for self-awareness

Meditation is a large part of yoga, so little surprise that your mind is affected by successful meditation practices. 

In fact, there are studies that prove certain kinds of meditation, especially those linked with yoga practices, increase the amount of gray matter associated with self-awareness. So, the more meditation and yoga that you practice, the better you are at being self-aware.

As you can imagine, this plays a rather large role when it comes to your mindset. By being aware that your potential is not limited and that you can continuously grow and learn, you free yourself from the bonds of “go-nowhere thinking.” You are able to fairly objectively analyze who you are and what you are capable of, allowing you to take steps toward realistic goals.

In addition to yoga and meditation, it is also important to ensure that other aspects of your life are geared towards promoting mental and emotional wellness. This includes leading a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, engaging in moderate amounts of daily activity, and maintaining stable sleep patterns.

Yoga, meditation, and physical life changes are absolutely key to deconstructing the jailing, negative views of yourself. But there are mental exercises that are necessary as well.

Change how you view challenges and failures

A fixed mindset can make any obstacle or failure seem like the end of the world. To a person struggling with this kind of success impotence, any negative experience often serves to reaffirm their own inability to succeed.

But it’s important to recognize that you created that worldview for yourself, and just as successfully as you created, you can un-create it.

One way to do this is to embrace the inescapable human truth that we all make mistakes. Even the richest, most intelligent, most successful individual has been unsuccessful at some point.

So, what separates them from you? They didn’t stop trying.

Failure doesn’t mean the end of the road; it just means that you have to find a new way of doing things. So, rather than blaming your intelligence or talent, try to come up with another way to solve your problem. Develop a plan. Map out specifics. As Craig Ballantyne often says, “Action beats anxiety.” So act.

Also, keep in mind that this action doesn’t require rethinking everything about how you live your life or conduct business. If you start with this goal, you’ll be too overwhelmed to implement any change at all. Pick something small and achievable, then build on it every day. 

Dedicate yourself to a cause instead of a passion

One of the most overused pieces of advice that people receive is this: “Find your passion.” This is often followed by another gem: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Well, it turns out that you can’t really follow these positive affirmations too closely.

The previously mentioned Carol Dweck went onto expand on her initial research, which is how she discovered the connection between growth mindset and passion. She, along with other researchers, came to the realization that perseverance, along with a moderate level of interest, trumps the fulfillment of passion pursuits.

Perseverance is the key here. It’s all about being determined to stick with a particular career path or goal rather than just looking for projects that excite you.

By taking this particular route, you are more likely to reach the goals you have set for yourself. So, do what you need to do to steel yourself and focus on completing the objective at hand. With time, you will be able to find satisfaction in achievement and, ultimately, success. This, in turn, will help shift your current, fixed mindset to one that embraces challenge and possibility as fodder for new goals.


There is no way to tell how long it will take to change your mindset. It could be weeks, months, or even years. What is important, however, is that you don’t give up. If you stick with the physical and mental exercises mentioned in this article, you’ll soon find your fixed mindset replaced by one of growth and possibility.

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Joi Bellis

Joi Bellis is a writer with a focus on psychology as well as on emotional and mental wellness. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree. When she isn’t writing, Joi spends her time doing yoga and spending time in nature.