Mindset/Motivation

Below you will find helpful handouts regarding different aspects of mindset and motivation that can support your academic success. If you would like to discuss any of these handouts further, consider scheduling an academic coaching meeting.

Before opening this handout, please watch Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk to learn about Grit.

This scale will tell you your grit score on a scale of 1-5. There is no bad Grit score to have!!! Use it as a point of reference in taking the first step to become “grittier.” To learn how to become, “grittier” see the resources on Growth Mindset below. Also, students find discussing grit in an academic coaching meeting.

Before opening this handout, please watch this video to learn about Mindset.

Mindset is essentially the established set of attitudes held by a person. Mindset easily can deter us in our academic pursuits. As a student, you may have thought:

  • I’m just not smart enough to pass this class
  • I’ll never be on time to class
  • I give up because I can’t do it.
  • I’m not a math person

These are some examples of a fixed mindset. If we follow a growth mindset, we may think instead:

  • I am determined to work hard and seek help to learn what I need to know to pass this class
  • I can get to class on time if adjust my plan and ask ____ for help
  • I want to give up right now. But in the end, I will persevere. Achieving my goal is important, not just to me, but also those who count on me.
  • Math may never be my favorite subject. But I am motivated to get a 3.5 GPA this semester. So I will go to a Math tutor to make sure I get the grade I need to achieve my goal.

If we have a growth mindset towards academics, it can be our strongest ally. Having a growth mindset shapes how we experience our college education. It has a direct correlation to academic success, and career success. Like grit, students find discussing mindset in an academic coaching meeting can often lead to strong results.

“My mindset was fixed. And still is on some things, but not nearly as much! I used to think little of myself. I thought this was my fault, but talking to my Academic Coach helped me realize it wasn’t. Since I started school, I was told I wasn’t good enough by a lot of people. When my Coach taught me about growth mindset, I was inspired to think about myself in a better way. It was hard to be positive at first…because I wasn’t used to it. But I kept at it, and I feel much more confident about myself now. The new way I look at things has been, by far, the biggest thing to help me get through college! Talk to an Academic Coach about mindset if you want school to go your way!!!” – Student who is embracing a growth mindset

Motivating ourselves is not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes, we rationalize how we ought to feel motivated but do not intrinsically feel motivated. This sheet gives a brief overview on three factors that influence intrinsic motivation. The sheet also gives space for you to write reflections on these influences. Exploring why we feel a lack of motivation is key in order to grow intrinsic motivation. This can be a tricky thing to do! To discuss this sheet and how to grow motivation in general, consider scheduling an academic coaching meeting.

The language that we use on a daily basis is important to our level of motivation. This handout gives examples on how the words we think/say can sabotage our motivation. It also gives many examples on how the words we think/say can create a stronger level of motivation and responsibility. Transitioning to actively use “Creator Language” is hard if we are not accustomed to it. With time, mindful effort, and determination, we can all use more “Creator Language,” to enhance our growth mindset and feeling of motivation.

“When things did not go my way in school, I always blamed another person. The professor, an advisor, the college itself, whoever. When I first saw this handout, I realized that my mindset was similar to all the examples on the left side of the page. That scared me and caught my eye. After talking to an Academic Coach, I realized that I wanted to think more positively. This sheet helped me focus on the positives, with others helping me along the way. I don’t make excuses for myself or blame others nearly as much. Using creator language has made me way more confident and motivated! ” – Student who uses Language of Responsibility

Read this poem from top to bottom, and then bottom to top. It teaches us an important lesson: There is more than one way to look at a something. The way in which we look at a situation has a direct relationship to the wellness of our mindset, and motivation. Hopefully, this poem will serve as inspiration to perceive what’s around you in a positive light.