Resilience 101 - Goal Setting & Mindset

goal setting goals mindset resilience Aug 28, 2022

We are thrilled to share our third post in the Resilience basics series, featuring different skills and practices that can help increase resilience. 

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 

There is consensus across researchers that resilience is a capability that can be built. This 2016 HBR article recaps that “five decades of research point to the fact that resilience is built by attitudes, behaviors and social supports that can be adopted and cultivated by anyone.” Being resilient does not mean we don’t face curveballs, hardship and adversity. It means we are better able to recover from those setbacks and press on. 

We have had two posts in the series so far. Our first was focused on journaling, a practice that has been shown to help process difficult experiences and emotions. We discussed different approaches to journaling and how to get started (including our downloadable favorite journaling prompts). The second post explored meditation, outlining some of the most popular kinds of meditation and a helpful how-to guide to get a practice going. 

Today we dive into Mindset and Goal setting, two elements that have been shown to have powerful impacts on resilience.


What is Mindset?

Mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone.

Having a resilient mindset means seeing challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Carol Dweck’s masterpiece “Mindset” discusses the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Here’s how she defines them:

  • “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits.” (Dweck, 2015)
  • “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015)

Dweck’s book also highlights that it’s possible to have different types of mindsets in different domains of our life. For example, one can have a fixed mindset for artistic and athletic ability, but a growth mindset for raising children. She also details why it’s so important to build a growth mindset in all domains of our lives, and how it’s possible, with practice, to do so. 

Having a resilient, growth mindset requires us to apply positive thinking to difficult situations, and look for the opportunities these circumstances might create for us to develop new skills, abilities, insights, and contributions through the hardships. This perspective helps us endure when things aren’t going our way, because we know we can grow as a result.


How can I shift my Mindset for Resilience?

Simply learning about mindsets can begin to shift them. If fixed vs. growth mindsets are a new concept for you, pick up Carol’s book, or read her 2016 HBR article that summarizes the concepts. Rest assured, if you recognize a fixed mindset, you can shift towards a growth mindset through awareness and practice. 

When you are facing a difficult situation, ask yourself growth focused questions to put yourself in a growth mindset. These kinds of questions can be great journaling prompts! Here are some examples:

  • What opportunities might this challenge create? 
  • What have I learned, or what could I learn from this experience/failure/setback?
  • What skills, knowledge or capabilities might I cultivate to be better able to handle these kinds of situations in the future? 
  • How could I share my experience with others to support/inspire/coach/teach them?

When you find yourself in a swirl of self criticism and defeat, try answering these questions to reframe your experience. As you focus on the journey, the process and the lessons you are learning, you build your growth mindset, and your resilience. 


What is Goal Setting? 

Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

We’ve talked about Goal Setting in the past as a wonderful practice to help ensure congruence in our lives. When we are clear on our desires and aspirations, it helps ensure that our efforts are aligned (or that they’re aligned more of the time, at least). Unsurprisingly, goals also have motivational benefits: simply setting them stimulates positive action in the direction we desire. 

In the context of Resilience, having goals can also help us bounce back from hardship and adversity. They do this in a few ways:

  • Goals can help us reestablish a sense of perceived control over our circumstances.
  • Goals can help us reframe our difficult experience. 
  • Goals can help us endure temporary difficulties as we work towards something meaningful to us.


How can I benefit from Goal Setting for resilience?

Check out this blog post that outlines a six step goal setting process, along with a downloadable virtual workshop. The process outlined in this blog post is one that we’ve used time and time again (including as a featured experience in our retreat) as a tool for reflection and goal setting. The steps of the goal setting process are:

  1. Reflection and celebration - Look back on all that’s happened, and celebrate what you’ve overcome and accomplished.
  2. Connect with your deepest hopes and dreams - Through a visualization and reflection exercise, identify where and you want to be five years from now. 
  3. Brainstorm goals - Open the aperture and connect to potential goals across different time horizons and categories.  
  4. Set goals at various levels - Inspired by the brainstorm, hone in on life goals, annual goals, and daily goals that are connected and aligned. 
  5. Create a visualization - Put these goals in a format you can reference often to stay motivated and keep perspective. 
  6. Find accountability - Connect with others, or implement goal tracking to stay focused. 

Goal setting can be an inspiring and powerful experience, that you can do right at home!

We hope these tools support you in continuing to build greater resilience, no matter what life throws your way.



Have you seen our brand new E-Book yet? Head over to the recently relaunched Mindfulness Incubator home page. At the bottom, you’ll find our Mindfulness & Resilience Basics E-Book. In its 50+ pages of content and worksheets, you'll learn actionable practices to build your resilience and live a more mindful life.

As always, let us know what you find helpful, and how these tools and practices are supporting you in living with more ease and purpose. 



Our next retreat is right around the corner! The magic happens September 16th-19th in New Mexico. We have extremely limited space remaining to join this transformational experience. If you’ve been working too hard for too long, struggling trying to hold it all together, and longing for a real break where you can renew, refocus, and build your resilience skills, this is the experience you’ve been waiting for. The all inclusive Mindfulness Incubator Digital Detox & Renewal Retreat includes luxury glamping accommodation, incredible farm to table dining, an amazing community of women, and carefully curated experiences and workshops. Reach out if you have any questions!

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