Seven Steps to Solving Your Big Problems in Life

How to Solve Problems

Everyone has a cross or challenge they will have to face in life. Generally, you will figure most situations out, and will find a fast solution or delay a decision until a clear answer emerges. If you oversleep you may call in to work or hail a taxi instead of catching a train or biking into work as usual. You figure things out on a daily basis-we are all natural problem solvers. However, when life challenges you with an especially difficult circumstance you can buckle under the stress and forget that you are indeed a natural at solving problems. Some extreme life circumstances seem to have no solution, and the normal strategies you usually employ simply don’t fit. When these extreme crosses and challenges come your way, you will require a different strategy and the seven steps below outline a process to help you overcome almost any problem.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

Step 1. Identify if you actually have a problem
First, it is important to determine if you in fact have a problem. Once you establish a problem actually exists then you can begin the work to address it. Crosses and challenges may cause you to immediately have denial, often avoiding, ignoring or procrastinating on an issue that needs action. However, avoiding problems causes a small challenge to become a much greater challenge over time. Make a habit of writing problems down so they can be acknowledged, and your natural problem-solving mind will be activated. It may also be helpful to work the problem out in written form to get all of your thoughts in front.

Step 2. Define the nature of the problem.
Defining the issue or challenge you face is vital to finding solutions. You can learn much about the nature of your problem when you ask questions. What is my situation? What would I like the situation to look like? What is the primary obstacle keeping me from my desired outcome? As you answer these questions avoid opinions and assumptions, be specific and answer the questions with facts. When you don’t have the facts, seek help or research the facts.

Step 3. Plan goals as solutions for your problem
A vital step in the problem solving process is setting goals. Perhaps you first need to place a call to gather facts to address a problem. When you paint an ideal picture of solutions to your problems you subconsciously begin to move toward that objective and desired outcome. Set realistic goals and be specific- if your goals are too vague you may not even recognize when you have reached them. Begin with short-term goals that can be attained quickly, and as you gain momentum you will likely move closer to solving your problem.

“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us
face to face with another problem.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Step 4. Brainstorm new solutions
One mistake often made in solving problems is to employ the same unsuccessful techniques that did not work in the past. If a past solution worked, you wouldn’t be in the same predicament you’re in now. Try something different. Think out of the box, and look for examples in the world for how others solved similar problems that you face.

Step 5. Decide on a solution
Settling on a decision can be one of the most stressful steps of problem solving. However, when you make a final decision remember that the overall goal is to find the best solution to your problem. Temporary fixes may suffice for the moment, but do your best to come to a lasting solution. Be aware that a perfect solution may not exist and seek advice from a trusted source.

Step 6. Follow through
Remember that action equals results. When you take action and follow through on the plans you established after identifying your problem your condition should change for the better. At this stage you may fear that you chose the wrong solution. This is natural, however, it is better that you took action than did nothing at all. Make an action plan, set it up monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly and, if necessary, change course if the desired solution or result is not obtained.

“Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.”

—John F. Kennedy

Step 7. Pray and have faith
We all have crosses and challenges to bear, but the good news is that you are a natural problem solver and if you are not broken or paralyzed by the circumstance you will learn and grow in the process of solving problems. Prayer provides strength in uncertain times. Have faith that you have what it takes to survive. Embrace your crosses and challenges in life with enthusiasm because you will learn from each experience how to solve even greater future challenges in life.


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