The hotel maids – all who claimed to be the furthest thing from habitual exercisers – were learning how many calories they were burning on a daily basis.
Compared to a desk job, hotel maids are quite active. The scrubbing, vacuuming, and walking from room-to-room isn’t exactly "intense," But over the course of an 8-hour day, the movement adds up.
I don't know about you, but that's more than even I burn on a daily basis. However, 1/3rd of hotel maids believe they get don't get any exercise!
This stat made researchers wonder — if the maids change their mindset, would they change their behavior?
A CHANGE IN MINDSET
To find the answer to their question, researchers gathered the employees of several hotels and separated into two groups.
One group learned the facts about their daily exercise. They received lists of how many calories each part of their job burned – from folding towels to changing the bed.
The second was the control group. They received no exercise information so researchers could compare the difference in understanding of the facts.
After four weeks, without any instructions to diet or change their behavior, the maids who knew the facts started losing weight — while the other group remained stagnant.
By changing their mindset Toward their daily tasks, they recorded seeing their work as good for their bodies better than hard on them.
Over time, this new attitude toward their work led to incredible improvements in their health, happiness, and fulfillment in life.
HOW YOUR MINDSET AFFECTS YOUR RESULTS
If this change in mindset seems heart believe, I don't blame you.
*If they're doing the same work, why does a change in attitude matter?
Are you trying to say that if I believe pizza is good for me, all of a sudden it will become healthy?*
Changing your mindset is not about magic wishes that come true.
It is about choosing to see the benefits from whatever challenge you're facing.
Both sets of maids were getting a lot of healthy exercise through their work. However, the ones who saw their job as good for their bodies reaped the full benefits. 2
Before the experiment, the maids saw themselves as lazy or hopeless when it came to exercise. After all, they could not summon the willpower to make it to the gym or go jogging after work.
And after burning through 900 calories, can you blame them?
Now they saw themselves as regular exercisers and started acting in turn.
- They approached their work with more enthusiasm.
- They started walking more.
- *They began eating healthier.
With each day of work, they identified more with the regular exercisers they were in reality.
The other group of maids, however, just saw themselves as “working.”
This distinction is crucial.
If you feel overwhelmed, it’s going to require a lot of willpower to overcome that perspective and take action toward your goals.
However, if you feel capable of handling the challenge, you will get an instant boost of willpower to rise to the occasion — as I learned two weeks ago.
HOW I CHANGED MY STRESS MINDSET
I felt paralyzed as I sat down and stared at the screen...
It seemed like no matter what I just couldn't keep up with my work. I was over- promising and under-delivering. I was barely sleeping, I was missing deadlines, and didn't know how I was going to handle this.
A downward spiral began as I had more work, less willpower, and less confidence in myself to get on top of everything.
The stress was mounting,
Then I read Kelly McGonigal's book, "The Upside of Stress," and everything changed.
Yes, that title is correct. Stress has benefits — plenty of them.
The stress response (a.k.a fight-or-flight) is your body's natural reaction to challenges. It provides you with energy, focus, and awareness of the situation to help you rise to the occasion.
These are all exactly what I needed to get back on track!
However, our typical mindset toward stress is anything but, "exactly what we need."
So when we feel the increased heart-rate or rush of energy, we don't use it to our advantage. Instead, we try to fight it — and consider it evidence that we "don't have what it takes."
This is exactly how I felt.
Here's how things played out with a "stress is bad" mindset:
My body gave me a rush of energy and focus I saw it as a sign that I was incapable of handling everything
- I spent time and energy trying to fight off the response that was providing me with more energy
- With less energy, time, and adrenaline to meet the challenge, I cut back on sleep and other healthy habits
- Which led to even less energy and more stress to fight off Not exactly a winning formula...
When I changed to a "stress is good" mindset:
- My body gave me a rush of energy and focus.
- I saw it as my body helping me conquer the challenge.
- I used the stress response to focus on one task at a time, and stick with it until it was complete.
- I used the time I previously spent fighting off stress to learn how to build an automation program to manage that task next time.
- Which led to more time, energy, and sleep in the future.
The change was incredible. And the results have been exponentially growing every day since.
This made me realize, even if the evidence in Dr. McGonigal's book was proven false, the results from choosing to see the benefits of stress were real.
As real as the declining numbers on the scale for the maids.
Your mindset matters.
If you see yourself as an exerciser, it will require less willpower to act like an exerciser. If you see yourself as lazy, you will waste willpower just trying to prove yourself wrong.
That is why the right mindset is crucial — but it is only half the battle.
You can't have an "exerciser's mindset" and expect to lose weight while laying on the couch. Remember, the maids were already active (900 calories per day!)
Their mindset changed their body's response to their daily activity and changed their behavior to eat healthier and get outdoors.
So find the benefit in any challenge you're facing.
No matter how hard, how stressful, or overwhelming it may be, you will always be more likely to learn and grow from it with the right mindset.