Is it a brick wall or learning opportunity?

Monday, December 12, 2016

I have a client, we will call her Clare, and last week she told me how she is such a procrastinator after not implementing the evening exercise routine we discussed at her previous appointment. Clare works a desk job in Durham from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday-Friday. After work, she has a 30 minute commute home, a puppy to take outside, and dinner to fix for her elderly father.  When finished with dinner, cleaning up, and getting ready for the next workday, Clare enjoys lounging on the sofa watching TV or visiting with her father. This is not the time of day she feels motivated to get up and start exercising!

Clare spent 4 weeks between appointments feeling guilty about not getting into the exercise routine we had planned. She continued to work hard monitoring her eating and portion sizes; however, all of that work was overshadowed in her mind by her lack of physical activity.

What went wrong?

We can see the exercise strategy we put together was not conducive to Clare’s lifestyle. The other underlying issue, that’s less obvious, is the story that played in her mind over those 4 weeks. Clare was convinced the only way she could be successful at exercise was to walk or do another activity that raised her heart rate for 30 consecutive minutes. In this scenario, Clare demonstrates a fixed mindset, meaning when she was not successful she could not think of other options that would work better for her. In our conversation, I gave Clare a gift – the gift of a growth mindset! Now she can use these barriers or “problems” as learning opportunities instead of brick walls that stop her from achieving her goals.  

Food for thought

Have you been hitting your head against a brick wall?

Most of us have a personal or professional improvement goal, and sometimes all we see are the barriers keeping us from reaching that goal.

Today, take a moment to think of your barriers as learning opportunities instead of problems. What can you learn and do differently?

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