New Year, New Mindset to IMPROVE

Implementing a growth mindset in the new year to work toward self-improvement.

New Year, New Mindset to IMPROVE
Carrie Cravens
Feb 16, 2023

The start of a new year often brings, you guessed it, new resolutions, new goals and new beginnings. Most people see the new year as an opportunity to start over, to refresh, to learn something new, to change in some way. While setting new goals and working toward bettering ourselves is important and necessary in our growth as human beings, what happens when life gets in the way and we feel like our goals cannot be realized? How can we cope with the disappointment, shame and frustration that accompanies this? Some people avoid making resolutions all together for this very reason – and it makes sense! Why set myself up for disappointment or even failure? I’ll admit, I have been guilty of avoiding resolution making for these reasons. But, if we can change the mindset from a resolve to looking at ways to improve, that can help us feel that our path is leading toward growth rather than absolute achievement. It’s all about making ourselves better, making changes in order to see a different result, but with grace. So, instead of saying “my New Year’s Resolution”, what if we say, “I’m working to IMPROVE in 2023”? Here’s how we incorporate a growth mindset in order to IMPROVE:

Intentionality: Being intentional means doing something with purpose or deliberately. This is an aspect that often gets away from us as we go throughout our daily routines and get caught up in the busyness of life. Sometimes it’s helpful to pause and ask ourselves “What is my intention?” Obviously, we cannot do that in every situation, but when we can, it helps us make sure that we are communicating and acting in the ways that we intend. It’s also helpful for one’s mindset to be able to look back and evaluate the intention of an encounter when we are ruminating on the interaction. Recognizing that your intentions aligned with your desired communication and/or action can help you rest, knowing that you did your best.

Motivation: Much like intentionality, we can look at what motivates us to do certain things. Once you know what works for you, you can structure experiences that provide motivation. In a similar light, evaluating our motivation behind our actions can help us tailor behaviors for the future. For example, let’s take exercise. What is your motivation to exercise – is it to gain health, to lose weight, to tone your body, to decrease stress, to improve your mental health? All great reasons to exercise, but knowing your main motivation helps you set up a plan for success, rather than just exercising because “it’s good for you”.

Prayer: Who couldn’t use a little more prayer in their life? Spending time in prayer keeps us grounded, allows us to focus on what’s most important and puts our faith and God first and foremost. We all know we need prayer, but how often do we forget to do that first? That’s my hope for 2023 –before I do anything, pray.

Reframing: The concept of reframing refers to “a process of re-conceptualizing a problem by seeing it from a different perspective”. Looking at a problem, an emotion or a thought in a different light can be useful in opening up new possibilities or ways of thinking. This is important in so many aspects of life. There are many good examples of when it can be useful to reframe, however I’ll give one I hear often from parents. Many parents feel sad and nostalgic when their child enters a new stage of life. They grieve the years gone by and feel loss as their child grows older. If parents can reframe their emotions and thoughts to celebration of the new, excitement for what’s ahead, joy for their child’s accomplishments and hope for the future, they can be focused in the moment with their child and enjoy the gift of the present.

Opportunities for growth: We can look for opportunities for growth in many areas, church, continuing education, seminars and workshops. All of these experiences stimulate thinking and promote movement toward change. Also, along the lines of reframing, sometimes we need to look at a negative experience as an opportunity for growth. This can help in accepting mistakes and moving forward, rather than dwelling on the past.

Valor: Bravery is important and can be hard to come by at times. Approaching hardship, change and adversity with valor cannot only help you feel that you’ve come out with a win no matter what the outcome but can also set a strong example for those around you.

Encouragement: Finally, encouragement. My goal is to encourage others and to accept the encouragement I receive from others. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we need our people and our people need us. May we all strive to be encouraging to others, support without judgment and surround our people with love and grace.

Whatever goals you set for 2023, I hope you aim to IMPROVE and are able to see the benefits of intentionality, motivation, prayer, reframing, opportunities for growth, valor and encouragement.