goal setting fixed vs growth mindset

Goal Setting: How to Have a Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

One of the most powerful ways to transform your business and your life is to set the right goals. In this post, I’ll show you how to create a growth mindset and set smart, ambitious, and achievable goals.

To create goals using a growth mindset:

  • Focus on creating goals that change your habits and actions over the long-term.
  • Zero in on the actions you’ll need to take to accomplish what you desire.
  • Have a clear vision of what you want your life to look like. Make goals that will help you reach that vision.

How does goal setting with a growth mindset differ from regular goal setting?

  • Goal setting with a growth mindset is centered around believing you can improve many areas of your life. When you have a growth mindset you believe that you can make significant changes with enough effort and determination, even in areas where you are not “naturally gifted”.
  • A growth mindset is about becoming the person you would like to be. Rather than making a goal to make $1 million, you take the actions and habits that are required to become a millionaire and stick with it for years.
  • It’s focused on making a positive long-term change in your life. “Lose 5 pounds” is a traditional goal, but it isn’t centered around a growth mindset. Working out consistently for 100 days, on the other hand, is centered around the belief that you can change your habits and grow.


What’s the Difference Between Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset?

Fixed mindset people:

  • believe that there is little that they can control. They are simply bad at sports, unorganized, a screw-up, etc.
  • believe that traits are fixed. Some people are smart and others are not.
  • are afraid of failure and they feel defined by past failures.
  • focus on things that they can’t control, like events in the past, politics, getting passed up for a promotion, economic downturns, and bad luck.
  • make excuses and blame others.

Growth mindset people:

Infographic, developing a growth Mindset
Source: Mbusd.org
  • believe they can change their attributes. They believe that with hard work they can become better singers, become more intelligent, create a successful business.
  • shape their habits. They are constantly working to improve.
  • focus on the things they can control. They can’t control the economy, but they can control the actions they take to make their business succeed.
  • aren’t terrified of failure and they aren’t defined by their past failures.
  • like taking on challenges and believe they can be successful with enough practice.
  • are looking to make long term changes. They focus on large changes rather than trying to get rich quick.
  • love to learn.

Even if you have a fixed mindset, you can change to a growth mindset. It’s simply a matter of viewing your life events and setbacks differently.


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10 Examples of a Fixed Mindset Statements:

  1. I’m just not a good singer.
  2. I’m no good at running a business.
  3. I’ve never been terribly intelligent.
  4. I have terrible rhythm.
  5. I’m just not cut out for sales.
  6. I am a terrible cook.
  7. I am not an organized person.
  8. I’m bad at sports.
  9. I’m not a successful person.
  10. I’m past my prime, so it’s too late to start a business.

10 Examples of Growth Mindset Statements:

  1. Singing doesn’t come naturally to me, but I work at it every day. In time I’ll be good.
  2. Running a business is tough and requires a lot of setbacks. I’m going to stick with it until I succeed.
  3. Even though I struggled in school, I’m learning and improving and becoming more intelligent.
  4. It will take more practice for me to develop a great sense of rhythm.
  5. While selling is difficult for me, I recognize it’s a skill that I’ll work on over time.
  6. I’m taking cooking classes so I can become a better cook.
  7. I create really effective organizational systems since I’m really unorganized by nature.
  8. Sports don’t come naturally which is why I put in extra work and extra practice.
  9. I’ve had setbacks and challenges but successes as well. I’m not going to give up and I’ll keep pushing forward.
  10. I have so many years of experience and knowledge to start my new business.

Growth Mindset Goals for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is finding the right mindset. It’s so easy to lose faith in yourself, your business, and your actions. And there is no exact roadmap to success, so there will be many setbacks along the way.

It takes time to build connections, build a list of customers, and grow income. Small business owners with a growth mindset have a clear vision for what they want their business to become. These goals should be more than financial goals. It should also be centered around what the business owner wants their day to day life to look like, and what impact they want their business to have on the world.

Growth mindset entrepreneurs don’t cut corners or try to get rich quick. They know building a thriving business will take setbacks and failures. They’re committed to continuing to learn, adapt, and take consistent action.

Make Goals Centered Around Actions Rather Than Outcomes…Here’s Why.

The Best Way to Hit Goals is to Work Backwards: Let’s say you want to make $1 million. Can’t your goal simply be “make $1 million”? This isn’t a bad goal, but there’s room for improvement. Here’s why:

The goal of making $1 million is likely far off. While it’s not impossible to accomplish this goal in a year, it’s fairly unlikely. Another issue with this goal is progress is not going to be linear. It could take a year to make the first $15,000. You could get hit by a recession or lose a big client and your income could decrease compared to the previous year. At moments like this, it’s easy to give up. The goal of $1,000,000 seems far off. When trouble and setbacks come, it feels like you’re moving away from your goal, not toward it.

Having a growth mindset means focusing on what you can control. With a $1 million goal, many things out of your control will impact you reaching the goal. What if instead we created goals centered around the actions that will get us to $1 million.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

-Bill Gates

Work Backwards Toward Your Goal to Achieve It (Example):

You can ask a series of questions that will help you reach your goal. We’ll do this with the example of making $1 million.

What would you need to do consistently to make your first million?

I would need an average of 2 new clients per month.

How could you gain 2 new clients per month?

I would need to create 4 proposals per week.

What would you need to do to create 4 proposals per week?

I would need to go to 2 networking events, make 30 cold calls, and write a blog post to share on social media 46 weeks out of the year.

chart of exponential growth
Progress toward an outcome is often exponential, not linear

There are your goals. If your goal is make $1 million, the only way of measuring your success is by the money you’re making. When your business is slow to start, you get discouraged. However, you know that attending 2 networking events, making 30 cold calls, and creating one blog post will get you there. You may get hit with challenges, setbacks, and downturns. But if you are hitting your cold call, networking, and blog post goals you are still making consistent progress. You are still on your way.

Ask yourself, if I was a millionaire, how would I behave? Who would I need to become? What actions would I have taken? Build those habits and become that person today. If you do this over and over for years, you’ll eventually hit your goals.

Example 2: Growth Mindset Goals Around Weight Loss

One of my friends decided they wanted to get in shape and lose 10 pounds. They decided to work out every day for 100 workouts. They decided to eat healthier food. They wanted to continue living a healthy lifestyle and work out even more, after they had worked out.

The scale did not move FOR 62 DAYS. They looked in the mirror and didn’t see a change. Most people would have given up at this point. However, they were committed to 100 days of workouts. All of a sudden things started to change. They ended up losing 12 pounds of fat, gaining 5 pounds of muscle, having more energy and continuing a healthier life.

Day Pounds Lost Workouts Done Weight Loss Goal Progress Action Goal Progress
0 0 0 0% 0%
10 0 10 0% 10%
20 0 20 0% 20%
30 0 30 0% 30%
40 0 40 0% 40%
50 0 50 0% 50%
60 0 60 0% 60%
70 1 70 10% 70%
80 3 80 30% 80%
90 7 90 70% 90%
100 12 100 120% 100%

In the book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins describes the concept of a fly wheel.

“Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first. You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn…You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns … ten … it builds momentum … eleven …moving faster with each turn … twenty … thirty … fifty … a hundred. “

It takes time to build momentum. Whether your goal is to be a better singer, play the guitar, be a better dancer, build a business, build a healthy marriage, it all takes consistent action, effort, and focus. Growth is often an exponential curve.

Growth Mindset Goal Examples:

  1. I will write a well researched blog post weekly for the following year. l’ll continually improve and become better at writing and keyword research.
  2. I will work out for 30 minutes a day for the next 100 days. After that, I will continue to work out 4 days a week until the end of the year.
  3. I will make 30 cold calls per day for 40 weeks. I’ll do the cold calls first thing in the morning. This will help me scale my business quickly and I’ll become a better communicator.
  4. I will practice piano for 30 minutes a day for the next 12 weeks. I’ll work with a teacher to speed up my progress and practice chords and scales to improve at a faster rate.
  5. I will do public speaking once a month. I’ll attend a toastmasters meeting 3 weeks a month to gain practice. I will reach out to 2 networking groups a week to line this up.

How to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals With a Growth Mindset

One popular method of goal setting is S.M.A.R.T. goals. What does the acronym S.M.A.R.T. stand for?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timeline

Let’s briefly look at each area and how we can approach them using a growth mindset.


Saying, I want to be fit someday, I want to get more business, or I want to be rich some day is extremely vague. You can go through the exercise by working backward from your goals. Set a larger goal to make $100,000, but then come up with the actions you’d need to take to hit that target. Create specific actions that you can carry out.


It’s important that you can track your progress toward reaching your goals. You should know when you’re 25%, 50%, and 100% of the way to your goal. Seeing progress in your business and your life is motivating and a key element of hitting your goals. Create a document (it can be on the computer but I prefer printed documents) where you can check off your progress.


We don’t want there to be the question of whether your goal is possible to attain. Let’s say you want to go to the moon, play in the NBA, or get Warren Buffet to invest in your business. They’re all improbable enough that they shouldn’t be your smart goals. Pick a goal that’s humanly possible. Your goal can be ambitious, but recognize that ambitious goals will take quite a bit of consistent effort, sometimes for years.


Now, with a growth mindset, we want to be ambitious with what we can accomplish. At the same time, we set ourselves up for failure if we expect to radically change overnight. If you are working out 0 days per week and you set a goal to work out 7 days a week for an hour a day, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If your goal is to make $100,000,000 in year 1 of your business, you may be reaching beyond what’s attainable.


It’s important to set a timeline for your progress on your goals. If you want to hit your goal “at some point in the future”, there is no sense of urgency. You can keep putting it off forever.

What Timeline Should You Set for Your Goals?

Some goals simply require a few short goals. For example, learning piano could simply be a goal of playing piano for 30 minutes a day for 4 months.

However, when it comes to starting a business, you may need to create more complex daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Since there are dozens of actions that you’ll need to take, it’s important to prioritize the goals and schedule your time.

While many people set daily, monthly, and yearly goals, I actually prefer daily, monthly, 12-week goals and long-term goals.

The book “The 12-Week Year” convinced me to set 12-week goals rather than yearly goals. When we have the entire year to accomplish a goal, we tend to work hard in January, slack off from March-October, and then regain focus in November as our deadline approaches. It’s easy to feel behind and there’s not the same amount of urgency. While there is a place for yearly goals, it’s easier to maintain urgency and focus to hit 12-week goals.

Lion Daily Planner with pictures of planner
The Lion Planner is the one that I use.

Daily Goals: Review your weekly goals to see what you need to work toward. Then, always start your day by deciding the 1 thing that you can do that will make the biggest impact. Do this action first (before checking your email). Also, schedule out your day hour by hour. I put off doing this because I thought it would constrict my freedom. It’s actually done the exact opposite. Blocking out my day means that I’m more conscious of what I can fit in. I can actually make it through my to-do list since I’ve realistically laid out my day.

Weekly Goals: Every Monday, write out the goals for the week. Refer back to your monthly goals and schedule. Your weekly goals should point you toward hitting your monthly targets.

Monthly Goals: On the first of the month, think about what you’d like to accomplish this month. Look at your 12-week goals to decide what actions will put you on target to hit your 12-week goals.

12-Week Goals: 12-week goals should be based around long-term goals. They should be ambitious, but you should break down what needs to be accomplished in order to hit the target.

Long Term Goals: These are goals to accomplish within your lifetime. Really, they are a compass to point you in the right direction. They’re a vision for your future that’s supported by daily, weekly, monthly, and 12-week goals. These can be relationship goals, personal goals, health goals, and professional goals.


Growth Mindset Quotes:

Conclusion: Setting Goals with a Growth Mindset is all about shaping yourself and your habits.

When you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can improve every area of your life. You don’t make excuses and you have unwavering faith that with enough effort you will achieve your goals. You have a strong vision for where you’d like to take your life and you are brave enough to create ambitious goals. You also recognize that goals should be centered around taking the right actions and making progress rather than the outcome alone. Improvement often starts slow and then grows rapidly over time. For complex tasks, it can be valuable to break up your goals into daily, weekly, monthly, 12-week, and long-term goals. You believe you can accomplish anything you can put your mind toward, even if there are challenges, hurdles, and setbacks throughout the way.

When I help small businesses market, my focus is on helping them create measurable goals, create an action plan, and follow through. So many people simply focus on marketing tactics (Facebook ads, Google ads, etc). Jacob LE’s main focus is achieving the outcomes by working together to find the right goals, actions, and follow through.

If you are interested in growing your business using this method, we offer 1 on 1 consultations to help you create and execute an amazing marketing strategy.

Take a look at the tools I use to stay productive! I can highly recommend them. 

What’s next?

Check out my top 3 things to avoid if you want to be productive!

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For anyone that owns a small business, my article 74 tips for small business owners is a MUST READ.

If you want to know how to effectively market your business, read my article with 78 marketing tactics.

If you have a small business and need some website inspiration, check out my local business swipe file.

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