As we kick off 2019, it’s likely that many of you (especially if you’re reading this) have made New Year resolutions with the intention of living a healthier life, getting a leg up in the workplace or just being your best self. However, as the saying goes “even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry.” This especially happens when it comes to goals. Too often, we abandon them after hitting a small bump along the way which has make us feel as though negativity is swirling around us or our endeaveor has been completely derailed by the incident.
This is where our reframing exercises can be incredibly helpful. You can learn to reframe the way you usually see a challenging situation in a way that empowers you rather than debilitates you. One small bump – or even a fairly large bump (or heck, an entire fall down a figurative mountain!) – won’t have the power to derail you from advancing toward your goal. Instead, you’ll be able to start seeing challenges as opportunities to learn, re-evaluate and reset to begin again. So, what is a reframing exercise? In this post we’ll discuss what it is, how to complete one, and what the benefits are.
What is a Reframing Exercise?
A reframing exercise is, essentially, exactly what it sounds like – recognizing a difficult event, acknowledging your emotions and attitude toward it, and reframing it in your mind by putting a positive spin on it. In other words, rather than sinking in to your first reaction based on what initially appeared to you as negative or as an impossible situation, this exercise will teach you to step back and encourage you to see it from a different perspective. This shift in attitude can help you see things in a more positive light, helping you respond in a more helpful way. As you practice shifting your mindset to a more empowering one, you are building resilience and gaining tools to help you better face the inevitable challenges that lie ahead.
How Does it Work?
When you partake in a reframing exercise, the key is to examine the situation you’ve found yourself in and think more deeply about what the situation has presented. For example, if you’ve recently experienced a seemingly negative situation such as having a frustrating meeting with your boss, rather than wallowing in self-pity, getting angry at the injustice of it all, or questioning your worth, you could take a step back and evaluate the positive outcomes of the situation.
Those outcomes might be things that – at first glance – aren’t obvious at all, such as seeing the conversation as an opportunity to ask for constructive feedback from your boss on how you could do your job more efficiently. Or, you may realize that with additional training, you could hone your skills and become more proficient at a certain aspect of your job that you may have been struggling with. Additionally, you could view the “frustrating conversation” as somewhat of a gift in that your manager thought you were valuable enough to speak to you about the issue, giving you the opportunity to improve rather than allowing issues to pile up or turning to someone else to get the job done.
In a personal, rather than a professional example, the situation might be that you feel overwhelmed by having to travel from place to place over the holidays, rather than being able to relax at home. When you reframe the situation, you could look at it from the viewpoint of realizing that rather than having to travel from place to place, you get to travel and spend time with loved ones that value your presence and may not get to see as often as you’d like.
What Are the Benefits?
The benefits of reframing exercises are pretty simple – by reframing specific events or circumstances as they happen, you’ll be able to see that a negative experience doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all on your way toward achieving a goal. Similarly, by reframing events in a more positive way, you may begin to realize that your once “grass is always greener” attitude has now become a bit more “the grass is greenest where you water it.”
Are you interested in learning more? Our 90-Day Goals Planner not only makes sure you’re taking action every day to help you jump-start and achieve your goals, it’s also chock-full of helpful tools such as the reframing exercise to make sure your mindset in line with your intentions. If you’d like to try out our Reframing Exercise, you can download a free copy here.
Let us know in the comments below what you learned from this exercise. We’d love to hear from you!