Washington is having an unusually warm winter, so I’ve found myself out on my bike a surprising amount for February. I enjoy biking, but I’m probably best defined as a “weekend warrior” – someone who cranks out 20-30 miles, then doesn’t touch the bike again for a week. As a result, I’m not well-conditioned to the activity, so I find myself seeking out flat paths or wanting to ride only when there’s not a head-wind.
Despite my best planning, however, I’m often grinding my gears on a climb or leaning into a strong wind. And in those moments, I instinctively employ a coaching technique that’s called a “reframe.” If you’re not familiar with the concept, here’s how it works: a”reframe” is when you take a thought that is deflating you or holding you back, and you turn it around into something that can fuel you.
When I’m on my bike, the initial thought I have is, “Crap. Of course there’s a monster wind driving against me. No wonder my legs are tired.” But then I quickly flip the script and begin telling myself, “Maybe you’re not riding into the wind. Maybe the wind is at your back but you’re just generating a breeze from going so quickly…” or, “Think how toned your legs are going to be. This is a fantastic workout!” or, “Think how awesome the ride home will be with that wind at your back – better to have it coming at you now while you have fresh legs…”
You probably noticed that my first reframes sounded like I was trying to snow myself, but by the end, I found a way to think of it that felt authentic and actually is motivating to me. Riding 15 miles where I allow myself to feel like I’m fighting the wind is completely different than riding 15 miles when I tell myself the best is yet to come. A simple mental shift and I’m in a better place for the ride.
How can a reframe serve you? I’d encourage you to ask yourself:
- What mental talk tracks do you have that cast you as a victim of your circumstances or less than empowered?
- When do you feel your energy being drained – and what stories are you telling yourself about the circumstances?
- What’s another way you could retell the story that spins it so it works for you instead of against you?
- Does it feel true for you? (If not, I’d invite you to keep brainstorming until you find one that feels right and gives you energy.)
- The next time you’re in this situation – how do you feel when you call up this thought instead of your old one?