The magic of a beginner’s mindset
On a super hot July 17th, twenty-five years ago, I became a mother for the first time.
In many ways, it was the beginning of a magical journey.
When my daughter Meredith came into the world, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I’d be. Sure, I had babysat, loved to be active, been a camp counsellor and a mother’s helper in my teens, but until I was a mother myself, most of the things I had to manage and learn in life came with textbooks or instruction manuals.
Parenthood was different as I had to embrace a beginner’s mindset to navigate or even predict what I should do next to keep her alive!
Luckily, Meredith was a joyful baby (we nicknamed her Sunshine from an early age).
Her birth changed my outlook on life on so many levels, especially looking at common ways to explore and enjoy life.
A whole world was opening up to me again through the magic of my child’s eyes. Meredith reintroduced me to a lot of things about play in all its forms – from playgrounds, jumping in puddles, walking in the woods, building forts in the living room, and functioning in everyday life.
I’ve taken these back to basic ideas into my coaching practice with my clients even today.
Approaching your exercise and nutrition habits with a beginner’s mindset is refreshing. It opens you to learning something new about a familiar action and experience the remarkable way your body responds.
A beginner’s mindset might change your attitude about fitness and wellness and inject a sense of fun even when you’re doing necessary activities (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and then working up to being able to do walking lunges as you go).
Do you ever really think about paying attention to what muscles you are using when you exercise or what food tastes like when eating?
People who use a beginner’s mindset find joy in things that others have become complacent with.
In my book, The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health, I remind my readers that every effort equals progress. How? Well, growth happens just by starting and then consistently showing up.
For example, a small child learns how to crawl, walk, and run, by beginning with short, consistent efforts. What’s more, children don’t judge themselves or take themselves too seriously when they fall; they keep practicing until they get it right.
I love the quote by Meiko S. Patton that says, “Every improvement in any part of your personality or performance boosts your self-esteem and causes you to like and respect yourself even more.”
Many of my clients are encouraged by their progress when they think this way.
Keeping a written or photo journal of your progress helps to cement that you are still showing up.
There are different schools of thought about how long it takes for a new habit to stick, but a generally accepted time frame for behaviours to become habits is 3 to 12 weeks.
When we embrace the magic of a beginner’s mindset adopting a new healthy habit – without judgement and without taking ourselves too seriously – magic happens.
Who says we have to lose the power of a beginner’s mindset as the days and years pass?
Happy birthday to my baby girl, and thank you for inspiring me every day. I am genuinely grateful and honoured to be your mother.