If you can practice growth mindset activities in daily life, it’s much easier to be happy and successful in our world. But…
What is the growth mindset?
Our view of life drives our most basic thoughts and actions. The latest research tells us that there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth.
“A fixed mindset” person thinks that our levels of intelligence, character, and ability are permanent. We are what we are, and extraordinary people were born that way.
- It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough.
- It’s easy to let our excuses get in the way of our dreams.
- It’s easy to think that we don’t have enough talent or skills.
But a “growth mindset” person believes that growth is limitless. They challenge themselves daily and use failure as a stepping stone for progress.
Which one do you think goes farther in life?
Other Growth Mindset Benefits
And there are even more excellent reasons to cultivate a growth mindset:
- Improve self-esteem
- Take advantage of more opportunities
- Learn new and different skills
- Forgive yourself more easily
- Cultivate resilience
Now, what are some examples of a growth mindset?
These HUGELY impactful people all struggled early. But they realized that their initial challenges were only a part of learning for future endeavors.
They didn’t give up. And this is the growth mindset in action.
- Thomas Edison’s teachers said that he was too stupid to learn anything.
- At the newspaper Walt Disney first worked at, his editors fired him because they thought he lacked imagination and good ideas.
- Oprah Winfrey was abused at the age of 9, ran away at 13, and was pregnant by 14 (she lost her baby shortly after birth).
- All 12 major publishers rejected the Harry Potter manuscript as J.K. Rowling was divorced, single parenting, and on welfare.
- Einstein didn’t begin speaking until he was 4 or reading until he was 7. Some thought he was mentally handicapped.
Now, how do I teach my child a growth mindset?
These people are amazing! And wouldn’t it be great if we could all thrive through our challenges? We can! Start with these hands-on growth mindset activities for your home or classroom…
1. Model Behavior
First, here’s the thing. If you don’t have a growth mindset in yourself, don’t expect it from your kids. They don’t listen, they imitate.
So, use the exercises below to show them what a growth mindset looks, sounds, and feels like.
Spend time building your own mindset, and you’ll have a MUCH better chance of teaching it. For that reason, most of the growth mindset activities in this post apply to adults as well as kids.
2. Read Fun Growth Mindset Books
The world is built on engaging stories. And there are so many enchanting books that explain the growth mindset better than a lecture ever will. So, put books in your library that get the key concepts of growth across in a fun way.
Then, have fun reading together!
*Read this post on the best growth mindset books for kids and adults.
3. Ask Growth Mindset Questions for Kids (And Yourself)
Next, use these questions daily at meal times or bedtime to encourage a shift in thinking:
- What did you do today that was hard?
- What mistake did you make today? Did you learn from it?
- What would you like to get better at?
- What is something you have gotten better at recently?
- What’s something you’re curious about?
- How did your brain grow today?
- What question did you ask someone today?
- What did you do today that made you think?
- What did you do today that you’re proud of?
4. Make An Action Plan for Failure
Failure is a key part of life.
It gives us critical feedback about what to improve on. So, when it happens, what’s your plan to bounce back? What strategies can you learn? How do you need to change course?
Write your plan on paper. Do this yourself as an adult, and do it with your child. Soon, you’ll both realize that failure is important.
*A growth planning worksheet is included in my family growth pack! The pack includes 70 easy printables to build responsibility, mindset, and connection with kids.
5. Practice “How Can I Do That?”
This is mindset advice taught to adults, but applies to kids too. So often, we think to ourselves, “I can’t do that.”
But the person with a growth mindset instead asks, “HOW can I do that?”
See the difference?
The new question instantly gets you thinking outside of the box. And instead of giving up, you’re inviting in creativity and possibility.
So, the next time you or your kids use “can’t.” Ask how instead.
6. Sort Fixed and Growth Mindset Sayings
Write these sayings on a slip of paper (or just say them out loud).
Now, have kids tell you whether these are fixed or growth mindset phrases. (This activity reminds adults of what we want to encourage in our own thinking as well.)
7. Turn Negative Into Positive
We all have a small voice in our heads that tells us negative things. So, spend a few minutes brainstorming the kind of negative thoughts that you experience. Then, have everyone practice flipping those thoughts around.
8. Research Famous Failures
Remember those failures from above? Introduce those facts to your family!
Point out that the world’s most successful people had ridiculously hard obstacles to overcome. Read HERE for more famous people.
Who’s your favorite famous failure? Leave a comment below to share.
9. Share Good and Grit: Growth Mindset Dinner Activities
One variation on “high and low” at dinnertime is to express something good that happened that day and something “gritty.” In other words, share something that made you show up with determination.
- a tough math test?
- a difficult client at work?
- trying something for the first time?
- a classmate who said something unkind?
By doing this every night, you’re training everyone in the family to problem solve, learn from mistakes, and focus on growth.
10. Praise for Failure
One of my favorite stories is of a young female entrepreneur that came home from school every day to one question.
Her father asked her if she failed today. If the answer was yes, he gave her a hi-5. If not, he acted disappointed.
Now, because her childhood home life reinforced the value of getting out of her comfort zone, she has a much easier time doing so as an adult.
11. Create Growth Mindset Affirmations
Affirmations have the power to change your thinking over time. So, use them to change your mindset. Try one of these affirmations:
- I give my best effort.
- I can do hard things.
- I stay with a problem, even when it’s hard.
- Challenges make me stronger than before.
- If I can’t do something, it’s only because I haven’t learned it or figured it out yet.
- I can learn new strategies and ways of doing things.
Have your kids say them at breakfast or say them yourself in the shower.
12. Journal for a Growth Mindset
Next, use a journal to guide your thoughts. Write a record of new experiences, things you’ve learned, and skills or habits to improve.
Check out more fun journal ideas for kids HERE.
13. Inspire With Quotes
This article with beautiful growth mindset quotes will motivate your entire family. Put up the free wall art, and you’ll be constantly reminded of the growth mindset you’re trying to build.
14. Practice Adding Yet
As soon as someone says, “I can’t,” add “yet” to the end of the sentence.
I can’t do that math. Yet.
I can’t drive a car. Yet.
Now, make it a game. Who can say it first? If your kids can beat you to saying “yet,” give them a fun reward coupon.
15. Try Role Playing: Growth Mindset Activities for Kids
*Great for elementary students and middle school
Next, use different scenarios to show kids when they’ll need to employ their growth mindset. Ideas include:
- If you struggle with something at school (or work)
- When your sibling or friend can do something you can’t (yet)
- If it takes you a long time to learn something.
16. Reward a Growth Mindset
Did you watch your child work her butt off even when it was hard? Did YOU decide to keep learning instead of giving up?
Reinforce these growth mindset activities by rewarding your kids or yourself in a healthy way! Check out:
We continue to do things that feel good, or are satisfying in some way. So, make it so!
17. Try New Things
Next, try new things as a family often.
Courage takes practice. It’s like a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to do uncomfortable things.
So, get out of your comfort zone together and individually (find 50 easy ways HERE).
18. Learn About the Brain
Modern research reveals that the brain is more “plastic” than we originally thought. That’s great news because it puts our learning, progress, and success in our own hands.
Learn more about neuroplasticity as a family >>
19. Talk About Goal Setting
*Great for teens and college students!
Does your child hope to accomplish something specific? Do you have a big goal in mind?
Review the steps of setting a SMART goal, and create a plan for following through with what you want.
Experienced school psychologist, Dr. Jamie Donnelly, says “The idea that abilities are not stable and there’s always room to grow, can help kids work harder towards their goals. If they know they can still improve, they will continue to try. Kids, especially in middle and high school, who haven’t been very successful, start to feel like they are a failure and give up. Growth mindset helps them realize that there is always room for improvement.“
20. Make Your Mistakes Visual
Have everyone in the group (or family) write a mistake on a piece of paper. Now, crumple up the paper and put it in a drawer. After a day or two, get those papers out and review them.
Discuss how it felt when you wrote down your mistake, versus how it felt later. Then, talk about how you can learn from the mistakes on paper.
More Growth Mindset Activities for Adults
While the ideas above work for any age, these growth mindset activities are particularly powerful for adults.
21. Do a 30-Day Challenge
Are you in a rut, but not sure of how to get out? Check out this big list of 30 day challenge ideas, and pick one to jumpstart your life.
22. Ask for Feedback
Whether it’s work or parenting, it’s difficult to understand our blind spots on our own. So, critical feedback is how we grow.
Therefore, ask your children questions that help you parent them, and ask your boss, colleagues, or audience what they’d like to see from you.
23. Read Every Day
The single best thing I did for my mindset was to complete a year-long reading challenge. The amount I learned was mind-blowing (and my income tripled).
Plus, by prioritizing reading over other hobbies consistently, I realized that life truly is a game of learning.
The more you know, the farther you go.
24. Refresh Your Daily Routines
Sometimes, it helps to start small. In this case, evaluate your morning routine and make note of where you can switch it up or add learning to your everyday habits.
Remember, one tiny change will lead to stunning results over time. (1% growth today =38% growth in a year)
25. Keep Your Mind Sharp
Are you training your mind to learn? If your memory is poor, or you’d like to sharpen your toolbox slowly over time, try an app like Elevate.
26. Practice Self-Reflection
Create a daily practice of asking yourself what went well today and what can be improved.
This not only helps you focus on the good, but also gives you insight into habits or experiences that aren’t aligning with your values.
You can also use these deep questions to ask yourself as a guide for gaining awareness into your strengths, weaknesses, and overall life alignment.
27. Keep Your Big Picture In Mind
And finally for adults, it’s easy to get jaded by everything from the news, our endlessly busy lives, and mundane daily routines.
Fight this by occasionally deep diving into your purpose and the legacy you’d like to leave behind.
What are your big life goals? What are your priorities? What would you like others to say about you after you’re gone?
Create a vision board to make these things clearer.
To Consider With Growth Mindset Exercises
I hope these exercises help you develop the mindset to live an inspired life.
Pick one or two to start today, and never stop growing friends! What are the growth mindset activities for kids or adults you’ll do this week?
More posts from Healthy Happy Impactful…
- How to Create Your Epic Vision Board – a free template to begin to plan.
- The Big List of Family goals examples – get dreaming together!
- The Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids – all the meaningful, useful, and learning ideas in one place.