Growth Versus Fixed Mindset

Growth mindset and Fixed mindset are terms that have popularized recently in several areas such as health and wellness, sport, nutrition, and the professional work setting. In this blog, we will talk about each mindset and how they can relate to nutrition and your health goals. 

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

There are a lot of definitions for “mindset”; to keep it short, it is a set of beliefs and ideas that influences how you think and perceive yourself, surroundings, and others. 

Carol Dweck, a well-known psychologist and author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, coined the “growth vs. fixed” term and since then it’s been used to highlight how impactful the mind is when you view yourself and your abilities to be successful in a certain area. 

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your traits and talents are innate, static, and unchangeable. When you have a fixed mindset, you are more likely to:

  • Avoid challenges to avoid failure

  • Ignore feedback from others

  • Feel threatened by the success of others

  • Hide flaws to avoid judgment from others 

  • Believe putting in effort is worthless

  • Give up easily

If you have a growth mindset, you believe in your ability to change and improve over time when you put in effort. With a growth mindset, you experience the following:

  • Reduced burnout

  • Fewer psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety

  • Embracing challenges

  • Viewing failure as a chance to grow

  • Inspiration by the success of others


Mindset plays a huge role in reaching your nutrition goals; you will probably experience failure of some sort and being able to frame those setbacks/failures as an opportunity to learn and grow, versus giving up, will play a huge role in your overall success. 

People face a lot of obstacles with nutrition, which is why they seek out help through a nutrition coach. However, they must be willing to view obstacles as a chance to improve and get better, which will ultimately bring them closer to their health goals. For example, someone may struggle with getting in enough protein per day:

  • Fixed Mindset: “I can’t reach my protein target, I’m not going to even bother trying today.”

  • Growth Mindset: “I haven’t reached my protein target today, but I will stick to the plan and get better every day.”

Success doesn’t come overnight, and it usually takes some trial and error, failures, or setbacks before we move closer to our goals. If we look at someone who is great at their sport, the chances are they did not start that way. They are at the level of greatness due to their consistency, resiliency, practice, and ability to learn from setbacks. 

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

  1. Identify your mindset regarding the area you are trying to work on.

    1. Do you have a growth mindset in other areas of life? How can you transfer that over to the area you are trying to work on?

    2. Remove the fixed mindset inner voice

  2. Embrace the process and focus on effort over talent.

    1. This was a big part of Dweck’s research findings. In her research, she  found that praising a student’s effort versus natural abilities/talent was beneficial in the growth of the student. It created a positive student-teacher relationship in which they can take constructive feedback and grow from it. 

  3. Get feedback from others.

  4. Challenge yourself and do the hard stuff.

  5. Accept failure and learn from it.

Want to learn more? Check out Karen’s blog which talks about a similar topic: Another Look at Motivation: Mindset Matters