8 Steps For Developing A Growth Mindset

Hi, it’s Coach Suzanne and today I’m giving you 8 steps for developing a growth mindset.

8 Steps For Developing a Growth Mindset


A growth mindset is the belief in your own ability to learn and grow. Those with a growth mindset understand that everyone can change and grow through experience and effort.

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset believes their abilities are unchanging and tend to give up easily when things start to get difficult.

Athletes dealing with mental blocks often get stuck in a fixed mindset which holds them back from overcoming the block. Therefore, it’s important for them to start working on getting out of that fixed way of thinking and being more open to growth and change.

The benefits of developing a growth mindset include being more willing to try new things, going for your goals, having greater motivation, and decreased stress and anxiety. All of which result in overall better performance.

Below are 8 steps any athlete can take to begin developing a growth mindset:


Step #1: Identify the areas you need to grow in

The first step is to build your self-awareness by identifying the areas you need the most growth. What things do you tend to get stuck on? It could be anything from trying new things, being a perfectionist, dealing with self-doubt, communicating with your coach, etc. Think bigger picture, not just a specific skill you may be struggling with right now. 


Step #2: Challenge your current beliefs

What beliefs do you have that are holding you back? Beliefs like “I have to be perfect” or “Everyone else is better than me” or I’ll never be able to do that” can be very detrimental to developing a growth mindset. Challenge the belief by asking yourself if that is really true. Most of the time they don’t have to be true. 


Step #3: Set a vision and define your goals

What’s your big dream? Take some time to think about what you really want to accomplish in your sport. Then identify the steps you need to take to get there. Finally, write down three things you can do this week to get a little bit closer to that goal. Creating your vision board is a fun way to brainstorm that big dream!  


Step #4: Focus on learning

When it comes to achieving a growth mindset the process is always greater than the outcome and effort counts more than talent. It also must be acknowledged that mistakes are part of the learning process. So instead of viewing a mistake as failure, think of it as an opportunity to learn and grow. At the end of every day ask yourself, “What’s one thing I learned today?”   


Step #5: Try new strategies

As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If something isn’t working, try it another way! This is where communication with your coach comes into play because sometimes it requires asking your coach if there is another way of doing that skill, drill, or exercise. If your strategy for getting a new skill on beam has been to get up there and stand until you go for it, but you aren’t going for it, then it’s time to try something else. 


Step #6: Take ownership of your goals, effort, and attitude

It’s easy to place the blame on others for our short comings, but to develop a growth mindset you must keep yourself accountable and take responsibility for your behaviors. Always be honest with yourself; you aren’t doing yourself any favors by lying to yourself. If you didn’t give it your all today, that’s okay. Admit to yourself that you didn’t put in the effort you needed to and then commit to giving 1% more tomorrow.    


Step #7: Stop seeking approval from others

The opinion that matters most is your own. It’s common for athletes to seek approval from their coaches, teammates, or parents, but we cannot control how others respond to us, we can only control our own responses/reactions. Set goals, track your own progress, and reward yourself when you meet even the smallest goals. Waiting for a compliment from someone else can not only keep you in a fixed mindset but can also negatively affect your self-worth. 


Step #8: Be patient

The last step is to be patient with yourself. Growth takes time, but the best thing you can do is be consistent. Use this list and the other mental skills you’ve learned every day. Schedule yourself 5-10 minutes a day that you will dedicate to your mental training.


Those are the 8 steps that will help you develop a growth mindset. Start by identifying the areas you need to grow in. Then take the time to challenge your current beliefs. Set a vision and define your goals so you know exactly what you are working towards. Focus on learning and trying new strategies. Always take ownership of your goals, effort, and attitude. Stop seeking approval from others and be patient!  

Finally, it’s important to practice self-compassion. No one is perfect but with consistent practice you can develop a growth mindset that will help you get one step closer to achieving your goals.   


To get in touch with Coach Suzanne Pottratz, PhD, you can email her at suzanne@completeperformancecoaching.com.

Is your gymnast struggling with mental blocks or fear?  Check out my FREE resource for parents.