Dealing with problems

A problem solving approach can be very useful when you are faced with difficulties. There are 4 steps:

  1. Clearly define the problem: Without blaming yourself or others, consider  how the problem developed, when it occurs and why it is a problem.
  2. Work out what solution (or few solutions) to the problem is worth trying in order to solve the problem: Firstly, make a list of as many possible ways to solve the problem as you can think of. Ask others for ideas if you like. Secondly, evaluate each solution on the list. See if the solution is practical and realistic (e.g. do you have the resources to carry out the solution). What are the possible positive and negative consequences? Is it very risky? Are there ways to prevent or deal with negative consequences if they occur? Will the benefits outweigh the costs? Decide on a solution or few solutions to try.
  3. Develop a plan to put the solution(s) you have chosen into practice and put your plan into action: Decide what you need to do first to implement the solution you want to try and work out a step-by –step plan.
  4. Review how the solution(s) worked: Many problems require that you try different solutions before solving them. Congratulate yourself if the solution worked. However, if the solution was not helpful or there are still parts of the problem that need to be solved, acknowledge the effort you have put into trying to manage the problem and return to earlier steps to try other solutions.

Some problems are more difficult to solve than others. Difficult situations can take time to change or may not even be able to be changed. If this is the case, try to find ways to make things a little easier and enjoyable for yourself, despite the situation.