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You might have heard the word ‘growth mindset’ thrown around at school by your teachers or maybe you’ve heard your parents mention it.

But what exactly is a growth mindset?

Simply put – there’s two different kinds of mindsets: ‘fixed mindsets’ and ‘growth mindsets’.

Fixed mindsets are when we believe that our character, intelligence and creative ability are the results of genetics, and can’t change in any meaningful way.

On the flip side, growth mindsets take the belief that intelligence can grow and be strengthened with effort.

With a growth mindset – if you don’t know how to do something, you believe that you are still capable of achieving what you want to do so long as you put in the time and effort to get there.

When you’re young – especially in your teens through your mid 20s – your brain is still growing, and as such, having a growth mindset is a far more effective way to think. When you push yourself to learn new things (even if they feel hard or beyond your ability), you’re turning on parts of your brain that haven’t been on before.

So what are some ways to help grow your brain and feed into a healthy growth mindset?

Here’s one to try: start making ‘to do’ lists.

While it may not sound that impressive – the results definitely are.

By having a to-do list clearly visible in your life (maybe it’s on your phone, or written up and stuck on the fridge or a wall in your room), this will lay a solid foundation for growing your brain in a number of ways.

While you’re making your list, why not use a bit of colour or images too and make it more exciting to look at (try using emojis if you’ve done it on your phone ? ).

Keeping a to-do list can help with:

  1. Staying organised
    You can see when school deadlines are coming up so you can balance your time and not get overwhelmed.
  2. Keeps you motivated and driven
    You can have a separate list for things that you want to do, for example, reading a book a month, exercising three times a week, or starting to learn an instrument. When you’ve done that thing, you can cross it off the list and that will help you see what you’ve accomplished. It’ll make you feel motivated to push yourself further and keep your body and brain active and healthy.
  3. Helps you identify priorities
    Sometimes life can get overwhelming and it can feel like you have heaps in your head. At those times, it can feel easier to say that things are too hard and give up. Instead, with a to-do list, you can plot out what your priorities are in order, and give yourself a greater sense of confidence to plan what you should tackle first. You’ll find that you can get through all those things when you put in the effort!

So go ahead and make your brain happy by starting your journey towards a healthy growth mindset – you won’t regret it!