caffeine withdrawal, growth mindset

Growth Mindset, Grit and Its Connection To Food Choices

Grit And Growth Mindset

What if I told you that you need to be able to fail and be wrong  in order to succeed. And if having a growth mindset could create longevity in your successes. Would you believe me?

I watched a recent TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth where she talks about her various studies. She tries to understand which children and adults in different circumstances were more likely to be successful. She analysed a military academy in order to see who would finish their military training. In addition a spelling bee to see who would reign successful in the competition. 

Her finding highlighted that that individuals that possessed grit were more likely to be successful.

What is Grit?

Grit is defined as:

“a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective)”

With this personality trait there is a focus on long term goal achievement rather than short term pleasure. Thus meaning these cadets and students had perseverance and passion to continue working. This was despite setbacks in order to achieve their long term goals. Consequently this was the deciding factor above all others, including socio-economic status, attractiveness, IQ, etc.

If you have read my other blog post Why can’t I stick to my diet, I discuss this as being due to System 1 and 2. The child in us (System 1) wants the immediate gratification. However, the adult in us (System 2) understands the logical benefit of delayed gratification.

With regards to many topics including food choices, exercise, leading a healthy lifestyle, etc. possessing grit is a fundamental. As a result we can continue down a  desired path despite the obstacles we may encounter.

How do I get Grit?

I have had many friends and family come to me and tell me how they have fallen off the wagon with lockdown. Being healthy and exercising has not been possible, or at the front of their minds. After pondering over this, I wondered if grit had a part to play in this.

Despite the major setback the pandemic has caused, many of us would like to get back to where we were. By implementing grit we can move past these obstacles, and actively try to carry on making better choices.

Duckworth comments that the best way to achieve grit is by having a growth mindset. 

What is a Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset was first coined by Carol Dweck as a concept in which a persons mindset can affect their performance and achievements. She presented this in a number of studies and discusses the two mindsets a person can hold, a fixed vs growth mindset.

  1.  Fixed mindset: The belief that ones abilities and intelligence are fixed and nothing can be done to change this. Either a person is smart, or they are not!
  2. Growth mindset: The belief that ones abilities and intelligence are malleableand if you put in the effort and time you can develop them further. A person works hard to achieve something!
With a fixed mindset individuals believe that people have different skills and these cannot be learned. On the other hand, a growth mindset individual will recognise they can learn skills over time.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

The image above shows a brief overview of some of the ways in which an individual with each mindset will react to a problem.

People can face problems with consequences that go beyond just food choices. For instance behaviour in the workplace, career choices, personal life choices, etc. I have listed some of the signs of each mindset below for comparison.

Mindset signs in an individual

Growth Mindset

  • Their goal is to develop abilities over time.
  • Embrace new and challenging tasks as opportunities to learn.
  • More persistent and show high resilience when obstacles are ahead.
  • Enjoy putting in the effort because the past has shown that it is worth working on something.
  • Handle setbacks in a constructive way.
  • More likely to develop new strategies, and try everything they can to succeed.

Fixed Mindset

  • Their goal is to always look smart to others.
  • Avoid new challenges and miss opportunities to learn from mistakes.
  • Stop trying sooner and show less resilience when obstacles are detected.
  • Don’t bother putting in effort, they believe you either have it in you or you don’t.
  • Have problems with setbacks and attribute this to a lack of intelligence.
  • More likely to lie about obtained scores in tests, blame others or consider cheating

Can I develop a Growth Mindset?

I am delighted to say a growth mindset can be achieved by anyone who wishes to have one. That’s not to say it’s easy to do. However it is certainly achievable!

Growth Mindset Step 1

Firstly If you make individuals aware of different mindsets. This includes the signs, and the consequences. By doing so you can start the process of moving towards a growth mindset. So technically if you have read this, you are already 10% there!

Growth Mindset Step 2

Secondly, you need to emphasis and rewards the process instead of the successful solutions. In terms of making healthier choices, celebrate the small wins like reducing from 3 chocolate bars to 2. This will motivate you to carry on with your plan.

Growth Mindset Step 3

Thirdly praise effort and resilience, not intelligence! If you have a friend who is working hard at something or trying to lose that lockdown weight, praise them for their effort to carry on. Moreover for the hard work they are putting in. This will be a much more beneficial way to support them, and help their growth mindset develop.

Growth Mindset Step 4

Fourtly, be encouraged to try new and difficult challenges. By setting personal goals that initially seem out of reach, you set yourself a target. Remember that you are trying to better than the person you were yesterday, not anyone else around you.

Growth Mindset Step 5

Lastly, remember that the goal is not fast learning and immediate results. Instead it is deep learning and long term goals that you are interested in. These take time and can seem never ending. However, the grit trait you develop will help you not only in your food choices, but many aspect of your daily life.

That's all for now folks...

Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Have you come across any interesting topics around this? Leave your comments below or via

Check out the TED talk from Angela Lee Duckworth below:


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