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How to Break Free of a Fixed Mindset After 60

By Joanie Marx November 28, 2022 Mindset

How many people do you know from our beautiful generation who remain stubbornly beholden to a fixed mindset that limits the love, happiness, and fulfillment they so deeply desire?

Even those of our generation who have routinely pushed the envelope of what is possible can often find themselves overwhelmed by the state of the world and underwhelmed by the fixed options we are told are available to us after 60.

Can you relate?

If so, you are in the ideal place to begin shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Continuing our series on how to undo limiting beliefs, in this article and the accompanying video, we will look at what a fixed mindset is.

What Is a Fixed Mindset?

A fixed mindset is based on a set of limiting beliefs.

Those with a fixed mindset look at life through a narrow lens, perceiving growth as finite after a specific point in time. This establishes a fixed concept for how life is.

For example, a fixed mindset sees little opportunity for themselves or others to learn new things or try new ways of living after a specific age.

A person with fixed mindset, therefore, views the present day through the limitations of the past. According to this perception, the future is set in stone since the present conditions are perceived as unalterable.

The Voice of a Fixed Mindset

The voice of this mindset is your inner critic. Having arisen from early childhood trauma, your inner critic becomes your inner protector.

As we covered in a previous series for Sixty and Me readers, your inner critic perceives danger in change. It is not going to encourage you to seek out new and better ways to live life through childlike curiosity or initiating new adventures via your imagination.

Through a fixed mindset, your inner critic will remind you of all the reasons why curiosity is dangerous. It will tell you daydreaming is a waste of time. And it will try and convince you inner growth is not practical after 60.

To prove its point, your inner critic will use outside opinions, distort your perception of reality and weave irrational stories to convince you being overly cautious is the safe and ideal path to well-being.

When Rational Is Irrational

As reasonable as a fixed mindset may appear to be, and as rational as the inner critic’s reasons for following the rules of life may seem on the surface, they are irrational.

What makes them irrational is the limiting beliefs and stories a fixed mindset is based on, though they are not connected to present day reality. A fixed mindset is predicated on stories and experiences from your past.

With the help of your inner critic, the past gets unconsciously overlayed onto present experiences. You then find yourself triggered by people and events that appear to have randomly occurred in the present but in reality, originated in the past.

Without being aware of this, you unknowingly seek for solutions to outside problems that can only be resolved from within.

This brings us to another reason a fixed mindset and the stories that support it are irrational. It is the belief you cannot change your outer circumstances.

For instance, one of the more prevalent aspects of a fixed mindset is the relationship people have with money. If you have had reoccurring challenges with your financial affairs, they will keep showing up after 60 if you don’t change the story you tell yourself about money.

It’s Not Just About Money

Money is not the only area of life where the effects of a fixed mindset routinely show up. It holds true for your perceptions of romantic partnerships, your health, and what you can learn and unlearn after 60.

Consider how many times you have said, or heard someone else say, a variation of the following:

  • “I’ve always had money problems.”
  • “An old dog can’t learn new tricks.”
  • “I’ve never been good at _______ (fill in the blank).”
  • “I want a loving partner but my options are limited.”
  • “I’d like to take a vacation, but I don’t have time or money.”
  • “I’d be more active, but I have concerns about my health.”

A New Story Must Be Told

I am not suggesting your concerns with health, relationships, or money are not valid. I am saying what makes them remain true for you is your mindset and stories you have created about them.

How do you flip the script on a fixed mindset? How do you change a limiting narrative you have about yourself and life after 60?

By telling yourself a new story about who you are.

As author Neville Goddard once wrote, “Change your conception of yourself and you will automatically change the world in which you live.”

In the follow up article, we will look at what a growth mindset is and how to develop one after 60.

For now, I invite you join me in the video for this article. To help you integrate what you are learning, I will share additional insights and also guide you through a six-part action item and 10 empowering affirmations.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What is your mindset fixed on – the things you lack and think you can’t do, or the things you have and are ready to take on? How does your mindset help you be who you want to be after 60? In what ways does your mindset need improving?

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Devamarga Goldy

My inner critic tells me to stop wishing for a lover. I’m not listening . I know it will happen by keeping a positive mindset ! In my youth I mostly let myself be chosen. Now I am more discerning.


Great article and video. 60 is the new 40!
Let’s get after it!

Lorelei Almand

I had to have a good long talk with myself about 3 years ago. I left my home of 35 years and moved then I moved in with my only daughter and her family. The reasons for doing so were a choice and one that required a total mindset change. I never in a million years thought I could sell my home, sell about 90 percent of my possessions, live happily with a couple much less a 3 year old! I did! I can and I encourage anyone who is making excuses why you can’t change to really know you can. I’m not the first woman who did this over 60 and I’m certain I won’t be the last. Go for it! Do the thing you think you can’t do. I had to put my excuses in the trash. They were holding me from living my best life! Enjoy your new whatever that may be!

Farida Shah

Yes, I agree with you.even after 60, we can have a lively life by overcoming the fixed mindset.
I retired in 2017 and after fulfilling my grandparenting duties, I took to painting my passion. I am trying my hands at crochet too.
It is my intent desire to do a higher level course in Economics, my subject, and search for a job , may be part time, in USA or Canada( as my children are here). My children also don’t have objection . But sometimes my inner critic prohibit me to go forward., your article has motivated me . I will follow your conversation further.


This fixed mindset hit me hard when I became a widow right before my husband and I retired. My mindset was trapped since I kept telling myself I will never finish the life of retirement we planned for together. There is no grandma & grandpa for our family. There is only grandma. Years later, i moved forward into a new loving relationship. The mindset took over with my new love and myself. His mindset was to make -up for his two adult children’s childhood of being without a united mother and father under one roof. He divorced when they were young and has now taken them into his home. Their ages are 28 & 21. I on the other hand wanted to remarry again but my mindset was to finish the retirement phase within a new marriage. My mindset did not include raising adult children I also believed he was enabling them for his own selfish mindset. There was no way i could be or replace their childhood years of being without a mother & father under one roof. I could see his mindset was to instill all the family values he feels they missed witnessing. I am in love with this man. But our values for this time of our lives at 68 years old dont line up. A perfect example of expectations and a mindset that keeps us from living a full life. How do we sort through a mindset like these and open to a compromise without giving up dreams and values that are very important ? Is it time to let go of this relationship? Or can our mindsets be changed?

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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