Consciously Frame Your Decision

Share this post

Framing is clarifying the decision we're addressing.

In this video, you'll learn decision tools to help you properly frame a decision. We need to define what it is that we are deciding, what we are not deciding, what we should take as given, and what goals we wish to achieve.

A decision frame has three components:

(1) Purpose—what we hope to accomplish by this decision;

(2) Scope—what to include and exclude in the decision; and

(3) Perspective—our point of view about this decision, consideration of other ways to approach it, how others might approach it.

Framing is like taking a picture with a zoom camera.  What we include inside the picture is the scope. From where we take the picture to get the right lighting and angle is our perspective. And what kind of picture we want—for example, an action shot or portrait—is the purpose.

Imagine a student trying to decide where to go to college.

To begin:

  • State the problem (what it is, what it is not, what the issues are).
  • Determine whether this is part of a bigger decision that should be addressed now.
  • Determine whether you may be covering too much ground.

Complete these statements:

  • My primary purpose for attending higher education is...
  • My short term goals in and out of school are...
  • My long term goals after graduation are...

Ask your head:

  • Why is this problem difficult to solve?
  • Who else might be affected by my decision?
  • Have I imagined the possible outcomes I'd experience from each school?

Ask your heart:

  • Whose choice is it?
  • Is the decision mine alone?
  • Who needs to be involved to reach a decision that makes sense and feels right?
  • What would keep me from acting if I saw the answer clearly?
  • How would someone else you trust and admire frame this situation?

Traps to avoid:

  • Plunging in to make a decision without thinking about the frame
  • Being limited by fears, peer pressure, etc.
  • Framing the problem too narrowly to bring it into your comfort zone or too broadly to make it difficult to address
  • Making wrong assumptions—taking things as given that don't have to be


  • Think creatively about your frame.
  • Try contracting and expanding your frame.
  • Consult with others for life-changing decisions.
  • Avoid being limited by fears, peer pressure, etc.
  • Avoid framing too narrowly to bring it into your comfort zone.
  • Avoid framing too broadly and making it difficult to address.
  • Avoid making wrong assumptions like taking things as given that aren't so.

Featured Decision Guides

Find instructions and educational information to help guide your college choice.

Decision Making Step by Step

The Conversations for Clarity worksheet provides a structured method for making progress toward a decision. It helps you find your weakest Decision Chain link.

Learn the Decision Chain

The purpose of making good quality decisions is to get more of what you truly want out of life. A good decision makes sense and feels right.

Commit to Follow Through

Commitment to follow through means that you are set to execute on your decision. It's like pulling an internal switch, and you'll do whatever it takes to make your decision real. You're ready when you're prepared with all the necessary resources like time, effort, money, and help from others. You should also ready to overcome obstacles and have a plan B prepared.

Sign up for our online class

It's a 5-6 hour, self-paced course and recommended for any age 13 and above.