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How Reframing Events Leads to Success

How Reframing Events Leads to Success


    Have you ever wondered how some people always manage to achieve success in life even when they are going through traumatic events or situations?

    What’s their secret?

    I’ve researched what the most successful people do when the going gets tough and there’s one killer technique that I’m going to share with you today that you can start using immediately.

    This is it:

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    ‘Reframing’ Situations

    Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we can always ‘reframe’ our situation. So – no matter how bad everything appears to be, we always have the choice to make ourselves feel better by changing the way we view our problems or situations.

    The key point is this:

    We can’t always change the things that happen to us in life, but we can change the way we view them

    Here’s an example of a smart student using the ‘reframe‘ technique to help her parents ‘view’ a situation differently:

    Dear Mum and Dad

    Apologies for taking so long to write, but my writing utensils were destroyed in the fire at my apartment. I am out of the hospital and the doctor says I should be able to lead a healthy normal life. A handsome young man called Pete saved me from the fire and kindly offered to share his apartment with me. He is very nice and drives a lovely motorcycle, which I like to travel on with him – we go so fast and it is fun. I think you’ll be happy when I tell you that he did the right thing and we got married last week…you see you’re going to be grandparents very soon.

    Actually – there was no fire, I haven’t been in hospital, I’m not married and I’m not pregnant. But I did fail my biology exam and I just wanted to make sure that when I told you, you put it into proper perspective.

    Love Your Daughter

    So essentially, ‘reframing’ events is a way of changing your ‘perspective’ in life so that you don’t get so caught up in everyday problems.

    The way that we choose to ‘frame’ our lives will depend on our personal happiness and achievement.  The fact is that there will be times when you don’t have control over an event or a situation. You do though, have control over the way that you ‘view’ the event or situation.

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    You can choose to ‘view’ it negatively or you can choose to ‘view’ it positively.

    The research shows that those who reframe challenging events & situations positively will achieve much more success than those who reframe negatively.

    Why?

    In my opinion it can be easy to get caught up in everyday problems and this can block us from getting ahead. By ‘reframing’ events you can ensure you’re always moving forward and are not getting fixated on the problems in your life.

    It’s all about context –  if you perceive something to be bad – that is often because you are comparing it to something you perceive to be better.

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    So, take a lesson from the most successful people in history and choose to reframe positively.

    The inventor of electric light, Thomas Edison was a genius at ‘reframing’ events in his life and in my opinion it was this technique that powered him forward through every failure to his eventual success.

    Having been asked this question by a New York Times journalist: “How does it feel to have failed seven hundred times?”, Edison’s reply was as follows:

    I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated all the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.  - Thomas A. Edison

      Imagine what you could achieve if you began to ‘reframe’ the failures in your life instead of being blocked by them?

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      How Can you Start Reframing Today?

      1. The next time you notice yourself feeling frustrated about a situation or perceiving something to be ‘bad’, ask yourself how you can reframe it?
      2. Start by finding something worse to compare it to by thinking, “At least ‘X’ didn’t happen”.
      3. Try flipping the situation around to gain a positive from it.
      4. Think about what you have learned from the experience – this can often provide a positive reframe.
      5. Consider how the experience will help you move forward and remember that failure is always a pre-requisite for success.

      (Photo credit: Businessman Different View via Shutterstock)

      More by this author

      Zoe B

      A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

      How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

      There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

      With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

      With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

      1. Determine Your “Why”

      Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

      The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

      Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

      “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

      That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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      I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

      Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

      Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

      2. Write Down Your Goal

      If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

      This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

      When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

      3. Set a SMART Goal

      A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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      Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

         

        By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

        • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
        • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
        • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
        • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
        • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

        Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

        4. Take One Step at a Time

        Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

        Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

        For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

        This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

        5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

        With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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        For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

        The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

        Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        6. Schedule Your Tasks

        Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

        What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

        For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

        Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

        While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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        7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

        Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

        Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

        You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

        8. Check off Items as You Go

        You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

        There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

        If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

        9. Review and Reset as Necessary

        Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

        If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

        The Bottom Line

        When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

        More on Goal Action Plans

        Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

        Reference

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