Reframing negatives into positives: creating a compelling future

Image result for reframeNothing in life ever goes quite like you would want it to, otherwise we would live in the ideal world, wouldn’t we!? So, what do you do when you’re faced with a lot of these curve balls, how do you get yourself back on the right track?

We are going to use a technique called reframing. You might need a pen / paper and you may want to pause / re-read – come back to this blog again and again.

  1. Identify the behaviour causing you the issue
  2. Ask yourself – are you willing to be honest and change these behaviours?
  3. Self talk: identify the positive intent of that behaviour
  4. Identify and generate 3 possible alternatives / choices
  5. Evaluate the alternatives as better than the initial behaviour
  6. Future pace the alternative – where will you be instead?

Step 1: identify the behaviour

First we need to identify what it is you want to change. This is usually a behaviour, perhaps associated with a particular recent event.

example a recent event that was out of your control that angered/ upset you.

example a behaviour associated with a particular circumstance / event / place.

Perhaps you should make a list, write them all down in the order that they pop into your mind. Then, look at your list and re-order then, placing the behaviour that has the largest negative impact on you right now, at the top of the list.

Step 2: are you willing to change

This is an important step. Ask yourself, are you willing to be honest with yourself, truthful, and most importantly are you willing to recognise the reasons behind these behaviours and take positive steps to change them? Think of the reason why you are even reading this now: the behaviour must be having a negative impact on you to be in the position of seeking a solution in the first place.

Step 3: identify the purpose of the behaviour.

Analyse what function the behaviour has. What purpose does it serve you? Think hard and find a real true positive purpose to this behaviour for you specifically. Usually it would be to protect, reassure, perhaps due to fear or uncertainty. Whatever it is, write it down.

Step 4: identify alternatives

Now here’s the hard part. Spend time here thinking carefully. You will now have an event – and a behaviour/ reaction. There’s nothing you can probably do about the event, so we now need to look at what you can change: your reaction/ response.

  1. Make a list of all the negatives associated with the event in question
  2. Notice how thinking about these things feel. write it all down
  3. Now make a list of all the positives you can associate with the event in question.
  4. Notice again how thinking about these things make you feel. Write that down also.

Hopefully you will be able to see a pattern between an emotional and a physical response in both cases.

Step 5: evaluate the alternatives as more positive responses.

Now take the list of negative responses listed above

Next to each, write one reason why this is an unacceptable response and one way this could damage your future (either emotionally or physically)

Now take the list of possible positive responses listed above.

Next to each one write 3 reasons why this could be an acceptable response to the event. Think about how will these responses serve you positively in your future, both emotionally and physically.

Look at both lists. Which list of options is will help you create a more positive compelling future? Hopefully, the positives list.

Step 6: Future pace – where will you be as a result of this new behaviour?

We are now going to work exclusively with your positives list created in the previous step.

For each positive alternative, do the following exercise:

  1. What positive changes will this alternative create for you?
  2. How will your future be different as a result of this change
  3. How soon will you see a positive change in your future? Write a target date down.


You have just worked through NLP reframing. Hopefully now you have managed to change an initial negative response into a list if alternative positives in response to your initial event. This will inevitably mean a less stressful mores positive and compelling future for you and your family.

Has this process helped? If so we would love to hear from you and let us know how it has worked for you!

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