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Problem-Solving, Step 4: Try It On For Size

Part 6 in my series on problem-solving

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

Final Steps – Implement and Evaluate

When I go through department stores, I am constantly on alert for that good bargain or unique pair of pants or top I might enjoy wearing.

If something grabs my attention, I hold it up in front of me in a nearby mirror to do a quick assessment.

  • Does the color look good?
  • Do I like the lines of the garment?
  • What draws my attention to it from all the others on the rack?

If I still like it after a quick evaluation, I will try it on.

Only after I have tried it on will I know whether it is right for me. Does it look as good on me as it did on the quick preview?

Many times, after I put the garment on, I discover it looks completely different. The cut is all wrong, the color isn’t as complimentary as I thought, and it isn’t comfortable even though it is my size. While I still like it, it isn’t for me.

In the final steps of problem solving, look over your list of options, make a choice, implement it and then follow up with an assessment.

While I choose an option I think will be the solution to my problem, only after I “try it on” will I find out whether it is the right choice for me. It might seem to be the right answer on paper, but may not work out the way I thought it would in real life.

If my choice doesn’t work, I look at my other choices again. I do a new assessment.

  • Have I identified the problem accurately?
  • What new information can help refine the problem and its outcome?

As you’re assessing your own situation, on reflection, you might ask whether this is your problem to resolve, or perhaps it belongs to somebody else?

If it is yours, then keep trying different possibilities.

If it isn’t, focus on how you are responding to this situation. This can be a time of valuable insight.

For example, when I try on clothes, the bulges, extra weight and changing profile that I would rather forget are revealed.

Our solutions to problems can also be revealing.

If this problem includes other people, remember that each person involved needs to be included in the implementation in some way.

  • Has everyone been honest about how they feel?
  • Has everyone agreed to try out this potential solution and are they willing to move forward?
  • Who evaluates whether the problem has been solved?
  • How will you know if it is a successful solution?

It is easy to get discouraged when, after doing all the preliminary work, you find that the choice you’ve made isn’t working like you thought it might.

Don’t give up.

Refine, revise, or throw it out if necessary.

If others are involved, negotiate.

After executing the best solution, ask yourself, “Has my problem been resolved?”

How do you know? If it is working, what makes it work?

Be specific. In complex solutions that require a longer time frame, this follow-up helps keep you on track or continuing to refine your solution.

There is always some kind of resolution to our problems.

It may simply be an internal resolution that asks for a change in attitude and response in a different way. We aren’t able to make everything happen the way we want. Sometimes, what we learn in problem solving is a greater understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others.

Go back and look at the areas of your life where you want changes to happen. How can you use these problem-solving steps to help work out new strategies and results?

Choose one change you want to make and put it into a goal statement and plan of action. (click here for My Goal Plan.)

Remember that goals take time and energy.

Goals are not just about solving problems but achieving the things we want to accomplish.

If goals are too big or expansive, they need to be broken down into manageable chunks or we will get discouraged and abandon them.

But when our goals have personal value and reflect what is important to us, we will remain motivated.

Goals are both liberating and demanding.

We are required to use discipline and restraint to stay on course. Even when we have made a very detailed plan on how to reach our destination and have explored and made provisions for potential obstacles, we can run into unexpected setbacks that require adjustments or even a major redesign of our plan of action.

My husband and I were sailors.

Self-Correcting When Life Takes You Off Course | FocusWithMarlene.com

After determining where you want to go, you choose a route to follow and a timeframe. On a sailboat, the wind determines how your sailboat will move. With a headwind, you are required to tack back and forth in a zig-zag fashion to move forward.

If the wind is too strong, you reduce the amount of sail you have up. If the wind dies down, you put up a lightweight sail that can capture the slightest breezes.

The wind is the driver – the  source of energy that moves you from place to place. The expert sailor knows how to take advantage of it so that you arrive at your destination.

Goals are the driving force – the source of motivation that energizes us to get to a new destination.

The winds of life at the moment will determine the adjustments or corrections that must be made. Knowing how to adjust your “sails” will allow you to compensate for whatever conditions you are facing, keeping you off the rocks and shoals.

When we run into problems or are not making the headway we want, it is necessary to step back and evaluate the situation.

While solving problems sounds simple, identifying the problem accurately is often more difficult and complex. We see the symptoms but may need more information and input to correctly identify and resolve the problem.

When our goals follow our passions, we will become excited. We can see ourselves doing this for the rest of our life. Those passions are the result of the skills and unique talents God gave each of us.

When we develop these skills and talents we serve others as well. Those passions are for the good of all, not just us. When they are, our goals will not only give us pleasure and joy, but that sense of contentment and satisfaction.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

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To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Problem-Solving, Step 3: Evaluate, Prioritize, and Choose

Part 5 in my series on problem-solving

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

Step 3 – Evaluate, Prioritize, and Choose

In step one, you identified the problem, looked at it from different perspectives and expanded it to include all possible contributing factors.

In step two, you listed potential solutions. As you brainstormed and generated possibilities, fresh ideas were added to your list without preliminary judgment or comparisons.

Now, in step three, it is time to evaluate, prioritize and choose.

Which solutions are relevant and helpful? Which might point to another possibility you hadn’t thought of yet?

Let’s continue to work on the problem we chose earlier – problem #1. Here it is.

You are the primary caregiver for an aging parent. This may include taking them to doctor’s appointments, shopping, or visiting them at a care facility, etc. As your parent ages, you are becoming overwhelmed with both the care and decision-making. You want to do what is best for your parent.

Some potential solutions we came up with:

  • What caregiving can be shared with others in the family?
  • What social services are available that might assist me?
  • Are there adult day care centers? How safe are they?
  • Are there family members who could periodically visit their parent?
  • How can I let my aging parent know that I still love and care for them and am not deserting them if they need to go into a care facility?
  • Encourage grandchildren to become a part of their grandparent’s life.

Let’s evaluate each option and make a choice.

There may be some potential solutions that can be lumped together. For example, you may want to start with family, their availability and potential help, as well as their input. From there you may want to look at the resources that are available and what the costs would be.

As you review the list, are there others that you hadn’t thought of? If not, go over the potential solutions, prioritize and number them in order of their importance.


Here’s an approach I might take to this problem:

First, I would is gather as much information as possible.

  • What is the prognosis for the aging of my parent, as seen by their physician?
  • What services are available to assist in caregiving? That includes in-home daycare as well as facility daycare, part-time or full-time. What are the costs?
  • What social services are available in my area? What are the costs per visit, monthly fee, etc. If I hired them three times a week would I get a reduction?

Next, I would ask people I know about the reliability of their services. Who has used them and what was their appraisal?

I talked with two friends who were dealing with this problem but who lived in different areas of my state and had used the social services available to them. One was very pleased with the care that was available – another said she had to constantly be on top of things to be sure they were doing an adequate job.

Next, I would reach out to family members who lived nearby and give them an update on the health of our parent and the options for care.

  • Could any of them be available to help and how often?
  • If finances were a major problem, perhaps family members who lived farther away would be willing to contribute some financial help.

Whenever working with family members, respect where they are as you share your concerns. Make a decision beforehand not to blame or create resentment.

After I had a consensus of some kind, and if I remained in charge, I would need to decide which services I would begin with – perhaps home care every day or several times a week as needed.

  • Can my parent remain in their home or would it be more practical to have them move closer to me or set up a large spare room in my house as their new residence?
  • If decline of mental capacity becomes more apparent, looking at in-person facilities would be an important step.

What additional information is needed to move forward?

Have a discussion with your parent(s). You want them to know your concern is both for their safety and well-being. Share your concerns about safety and some of the ways you can make them safer while still being independent.

Help them to know the viable options before proceeding further. If a care facility is needed, let them know you are not deserting them, but that you care for them. Immediately removing them from their home can be very traumatic.

As you gather additional information, you will be able to better assess what you can afford and where specifically you need help. Then you can evaluate each step towards more full-time care and choose an option and go with it.

Give yourself permission to think outside the box.

Take your choices and look at them in different ways. Allow yourself to formulate a fresh perspective of the problem and potential solutions. Give yourself time to properly evaluate the options you have.

Play devil’s advocate. See your position from alternative points of view.

  • How do other members of the family see the problem and how we proceed with solutions?
  • How do you express precisely what you want and why, and then listen thoughtfully to others point of view?
  • What outcome is wanted by all involved?
  • You may have considered a plan that works, but this is a family problem. How do they feel about it?
  • What objections do they have, and can they be worked out?
  • How can everybody offer something without being hurt or left out and still get the results needed for your aging parent?

Here is the time for good listening skills and mediation.

Before initiating a plan of action, visualize how each of the possibilities may work out.

There are some problems for which good solutions are not easy to find. But with a desire to seek the best for all involved, you will be able to find solutions.

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To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Problem-Solving, Step 2: Brainstorm Possible Solutions

Part 4 in my series on problem-solving

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

Step 2: Generate a List of Possible Solutions

Once a problem has been identified, we can start looking for solutions. In this step, we begin brainstorming all the ways we can find a solution. Be as creative as you can. Don’t dismiss any possibilities even if they seem bizarre or impossible. Writing them down often helps us see alternatives we wouldn’t have thought of without this free flowing of ideas.

There are so many variables, both to our problems and their potential outcomes. Ask friends and others you know to help you brainstorm. You want as many suggestions as possible.

Sometimes those who are not directly associated with a problem can have great ideas we might not have thought of because we were too close to the problem. Take time to do this.

Whenever others are directly associated with this problem, find a way to work together. Avoid pressure to compete or insinuate that there is only one solution that says, “My way or no way.”

Try to defuse tension, strife, or rivalry as you go along and be as honest and thoughtful as you can when considering another’s input. Believe that you will find a solution.

If you find yourself getting emotional, stop and address it. You can’t find solutions if you are after revenge or retribution or trying to outdo one another. Avoid blaming others and ask for a ten-minute break if needed.

Address anything that may be contributing to this problem. And again, take the “person” out of the problem and focus instead on actions that may be contributing to the problem. That includes your emotional reactions.

As you work on any problem, remember that none of us is perfect, and we can learn from our mistakes. Use downturns, failures, and defeats as an opportunity to learn and grow. It can be the spark of creativity and ingenuity.

People who have been successful learned how to use their mistakes and failures to their advantage. When we do, we are well on our way to solving many of the problems we face. If we dwell on our insecurities, lack of experience, shame, anger, etc. these emotions become a stumbling block to finding good resolutions.

Be honest. Humility is a good thing and occurs when we face our vulnerabilities, weak points, and failings. Be willing to learn, not only from your mistakes, but from the mistakes of others as well. Be willing to look at the other’s point of view. This can be difficult, especially if you believe you are right, and the other is always wrong.

Examine how another might see the situation or conflict. Then come together to negotiate and mediate a solution that works for both parties.

Take responsibility for your actions and allow others to do the same. Become proactive instead of reactive and let your values and principles guide you through difficult decision-making.

Generating Solutions

Since we started working with problem number one (in the previous post in this series), let’s continue with it.

family discussing a problem

Here is the problem:

You have been the primary caregiver for your aging parent and are feeling tired and overwhelmed. You love your parent and want to find a way to keep him/her safe. But you also recognize you need help in doing this. Family members need to be informed and included in finding a reasonable solution.

Before you do any serious brainstorming, you must identify anyone who might be affected by this problem. In this case, the problem involves all the family, from siblings to relatives who might be available to help in some way.

Remember, when others are involved, their input is important to both help define the different aspects of the problem as well as options they might suggest.

Here are some things that might be included in that brainstorming list. You will notice that the problem is expanded as all aspects of it are defined.

  • Who in the immediate family may be helpful?
  • Have I alerted family members of the seriousness of the situation?
  • What social services are available that might be of assistance?
  • Are there adult day care centers? How safe are they?
  • Are there family members who could periodically visit or help?
  • How can I let my aging parent know that I still love and care for them?
  • Have I discussed my concerns with that parent?
  • Are grandchildren available to visit occasionally? This is important for them as well as for their grandparent.

When we remain open to possibilities, we can discover many alternatives to resolve problems.

At this stage we want to promote innovative thinking and discourage restrictions. Encourage and solicit ideas from family members. There is plenty of time to evaluate and eliminate in the next step.

Next week we will evaluate and choose one to implement.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Problem-Solving, Step 1: Identify the Problem and Define the Conflict

Part 3 in my series on problem-solving

Problems usually demand a resolution.

Most decisions we make are so insignificant we rarely think about them, such as, “What will I wear to work today?” or “What shall I plan for dinner?” But other decisions are more complicated, demanding thoughtful consideration.

When symptoms keep us edgy and anxious, it may take a while to separate and identify the problem from the symptoms it is creating.

Problems need to be resolved as soon as possible. Sometimes we can put off for tomorrow or a later time. But usually, problems only get worse when not addressed.

How heavy is your problem?

glass of water

A professor was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and held it up in the air. Then he asked the class, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”

The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500g.

To which the professor replied, “Does it matter how absolute the weight is or does it matter how long you hold it before it becomes a heavy burden? If I hold this glass of water for a minute, it won’t be too heavy. But if I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it all day, you may have to take me to ER. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

We are created with a huge capacity to do impossible things, carry many burdens, and resolve difficult problems. When we use our energy to resolve problems, we will be amazed at what we can accomplish.

However, if we carry our problems and burdens and never put them down, we will become exhausted. Eventually our bodies will begin to break down under the strain and we will suffer mentally and physically.

Just like the glass of water that becomes heavier and heavier the longer we hold it, your problems will get heavier and heavier. If you put it down from time to time, rest in between, or figure out ways to hold it up, you can go on for a long time. You may even decide it isn’t worth holding at all.

How do you know when you have a problem?

Are you able to separate problems from the emotional reaction you have?

  • What is your first reaction when faced with a problem?
  • If others are involved, how do they respond?
  • How do you talk about problems with them?

Problems can be obvious or not so obvious. Decisions as to what restaurant we will go to for dinner tonight or what we could do to relax over the weekend are fairly easy. But others are more complex, requiring adequate time to think through and resolve so we don’t create more problems.

We get so caught up in the ongoing emotional turmoil that we do not recognize why we are so upset. When couples continue to fight and have disagreements about anything and everything, their emotions are in charge. They can’t think logically and coherently, unaware that neither is listening or concerned about how or what the other person thinks or feels.

(Further reading: That’s not what I meant)

Complicated problems are those that extend over time and often include other people. For example, my husband is getting older and wants to sell our home and move into a condo, but I’m not ready to give up my home.

Or, if I live alone, is it time for me to give up my home and move closer to my kids? I am still in good health even though I am getting older. Is this the time to sell my house or wait until I can’t live alone anymore?  

Step 1 – Identify the problem and define the conflict

Whether the problem is…

  • How I can improve my life?
  • How should I prepare for my financial future?
  • How can I take care of family?
  • How do I have a significant and meaningful relationship with others?

…We need to know what is the root cause of the problem.

We need to step out of that turbulent emotional arena and focus on resolving that underlying cause of our anger, worry, unrest, or distress.

3 sample problems

Problem #1:

I am the primary caregiver for an aging parent. This includes taking them to doctor’s appointments, shopping, or visiting them if they live alone. My days keep getting overloaded with caregiving and there’s no time left for anything else. How can I find time for me as well as caring for my parent?

Problem #2:

My spouse and I constantly aruge. Discussions often turn into quarrels that separate us instead of coming to a satisfactory resolution. How can we have a conversation without immediately fighting?

Problem #3:

The high cost of living keeps increasing, making it difficult to meet my obligations. Where do I begin?

Who is involved?

Let’s look at problem #1. In this problem, you may be the one who has stepped up to respond to this family need, but it still involves other members of the family. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to work together to find solutions. If there are no other family members, then problem-solving is on you alone.

Whenever others are involved, choose a time and place to have a discussion. This might be a Zoom meeting or an in-person meeting. Perhaps you can host a family get-together where the issue is discussed, and everybody is encouraged to have input.

Respect everyone’s contribution, even if you dislike or disagree with their ideas.

Problem-solving includes working with feelings and behaviors in a proactive way and requires active listening and perception checks for accurate interpretation.

If conflicts directly involve another person, such as in problem two, where there is ongoing conflict with your spouse, considering how the other person sees the situation is critical to reaching any agreement.

(Further reading: 4 catastrophic traps couples can fall into)

How do each of you see the problem? How does it impact each of you? (I will be posting about communication and conflict at a later time.)

Within intimate relationships, emotions can run high, and emotions are often accompanied by misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Everybody sees the world differently. When both people feel free to talk and be heard, points of view, assumptions, expectations, and personal perceptions can be discussed.

This is important not only when working through conflicts with a spouse, but when working with family members on other issues.

What outcome do you want and why is it important?

For example, is it more important to win an argument, or to be able to work together for a positive outcome? If the latter is your goal, then it requires a sincere willingness to negotiate and compromise.

In relationships and families, strong, passionate emotions are often triggered. When both parties feel free to articulate their point of view, assumptions, expectations, and personal perceptions, it can help us see the world from their perspective. But it requires active listening.


Recognizing/analyzing/defining problems

  • What is the problem? Who says it is? How do you know?
  • Who does it impact?
  • What are the underlying causes? Name as many as you can.
  • If there is more than one central problem, identify any substrates and separate or break them apart.
  • What has to occur for a solution to be reached?
  • Define specifically and clearly. Focus on the problem or task versus just the feelings. Eliminate unnecessary vocabulary. Stay on task.

Today’s challenge

Choose a simple problem you may be experiencing and try to identify accurately why it is a problem. Then think about how you will resolve it.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Work on Problems, Not Symptoms

Part 2 in my series on problem-solving
Part 1: Problem-Solving: 5 Basic Components

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

We often confuse our initial emotional responses as the problem itself. However, our emotional reaction is the byproduct of problems.

For example, you find yourself reacting with anger whenever your spouse suggests something. Before you even take time to consider the request, you have already identified the problem as your spouse.

The real problem – unresolved conflicts between the two of you and inability to communicate appropriately – hasn’t been identified.

For further reading: Information Emotions Give Us

Emotions are always an integral part of the problems we face.

They can be as small as frustrations or annoyance. Or they can be heavy with worry, concern, and anxiety, knowing that the decision we make will have a long-lasting impact on those involved.

The problem comes when we go with our first emotional reaction instead of considering in-depth the actual problem and options.

It’s not just anger or anxiety we experience, but fear. Nothing perpetuates fear faster than regenerating it through our thoughts.

What are you saying to yourself about you and your situation?

While we need to commiserate with friends and share our problems and concerns, it is the continual stream of conversation we have with ourselves 24/7 about that problem that becomes harmful over time.

If your brain hears you constantly saying how bad things are, how little control you have, how helpless you are, how others are so much better off than you, etc., you will begin to act in that way.

If you think there is no use in trying, you will have little creative energy to move forward.

Our thinking can produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. Negative beliefs soon become a reality.

We can perpetuate the problem, or we can find ways to resolve it. We can give up or we can generate determination and an “I can do it” attitude and mindset.

5 Ways to Rationally Identify the Problem

Before we start resolving problems, we need to step out of the emotional arena, put on our rational thinking cap and properly identify the problem.

1. If you find your emotions taking over your rationale, stop and deal with them first. Repeat some calming statements to yourself, such as, “I can do this,” or “There are answers to all problems,” or “I can ask for assistance and input.”

2. Focus on taking slow even breaths. It is hard to think when our anger, fear, or anxiety levels remain high.

Tell yourself: No matter how hard it is, giving up is not an option.

Woman looking into cracked mirror

3. Focus on the things you can do, not what you can’t do. Problems can become like a mirror – we stand in front of them and all we see is the problem. We polish it; look at it continually, and our problems become our frame of reference for life.

Put up a new mirror that reflects possibilities and options. Let go of what is not working, even if it worked at one time.

4. Next, identify specifically what the actual problem is. Sometimes it is obvious; other times it is difficult to separate problems from their symptoms.

If others are involved, include them in this process. How does each person perceive the problem? This is especially important for couples and requires listening skills and clearly communicating wants, needs and goals.

5. Once the problem is defined, list all the options that might resolve it. Ask others to help brainstorm.

Then evaluate each option, prioritize, and choose one to try.

When other people are involved in the outcomes, their concerns, time, and association need to be considered. Even simple decisions like family times or family vacations require a willingness to work together and negotiate.

Many problems can be avoided by planning ahead.

Parents who have periodic family meetings listen to their kids’ concerns and establish basic household rules, responsibility for chores and duties, play time, etc. While kids are included in the discussion, the parents maintain the last word on resolutions.

Problems connected to aging can be reduced by putting in place end-of-life wishes, thinking through a retirement financial plan, etc. Even with pre-planning, however, problems will arise that you had not anticipated.

5 Components of Problem Solving

Let’s expand on the 5 basic components of problem solving that I introduced in last week’s post.

1. Identify and define the problem. Separate it from the symptoms. Is this an ongoing problem or a recent development? When does the problem emerge? What has helped to minimize intense emotions in the past? What has worked and what has not? Gather and analyze as many facts as possible to determine the underlying problem. There may be several problems. Identify and clarify each.

2. Identify what and who is involved. Separate individuals from behaviors. The focus is not on people but actions and what is happening.

Work together with others who are directly involved to seek acceptable resolutions. This requires active listening and communication, taking responsibility for your emotions, expressing your needs and preferences and a willingness to work together to find solutions instead of blaming.

3. Brainstorm. Generate as many potential solutions as you can. Make a list of whatever comes to mind, even if it seems far-fetched at the time. In reviewing your list these can often stimulate further options that might be important.

4. Evaluate and implement. What are the pros and cons, positives and negatives of each? Select one, create a plan of action, and implement it. If several people are involved, be sure everyone understands their part.

5. Make an assessment. Is the problem being resolved? If not, try another one. Don’t feel as though you have failed. You won’t know if it will work until you have tried.

Some solutions create additional problems you may not have anticipated. Don’t hesitate to keep searching. It isn’t how quickly you find the right solution, but that you methodically and consistently work through it to find one that will work.

Here are some typical life problems you might be facing. Using the example above, how would you look for solutions?

  1. My spouse and I keep arguing and blaming each other for the problems we have. How do we resolve it?
  2. My parents are aging and having difficulties. How do I assist?
  3. Our families are always arguing and fighting. How can I help resolve conflicts?
  4. I am having difficulty with my in-laws. How do I bridge that gap?
  5. The high cost of living keeps increasing making it difficult to meet my obligations. Where do I begin?

Creative solutions usually come after much thought, patience, and a willingness to fail.

It took Edison 9,000 times of failure before he was able to discover the right filament for his electric light bulb. His response to why he kept at it was, “I haven’t even failed once; nine thousand times I’ve learned what doesn’t work.”

Think more about the process of discovery than the results.

Expand your view of perception from one of tunnel vision to thousands of options. Become like children who love to explore, experiment, watch and observe.

Problem-solving is a skill that once learned will become automatic in your thinking.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Problem Solving: 5 Basic Components

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

“You think you’ve got problems – you should hear what happened to me last week…”

And on and on it goes – we cannot wait to get together and share our stories of what new disaster we encountered.

Problems usually require a decision of some kind. Most decisions are small, but even small ones have consequences.

For example:

I don’t feel like going to work today. But unless I do, I will soon be without a job and no income to pay my bills.

Sometimes it’s as simple as weeding my garden:

I would rather sit and read my book. Yet, unless it is weeded and watered, I soon will not have a garden.

Many of our daily decisions involve how we feel in the moment.

There are tasks that need to be completed but we put them off for another time because we just don’t feel like doing them.

When we continue to respond emotionally vs. rationally, we find ourselves in a mess. Many of our everyday problems are the result of not planning and putting in place routines to accomplish what needs to be done, when and how often. The problem arises when we simply do what we feel like doing instead of doing what we need to do.

When the results of our decisions have more serious consequences, it’s time to stop and carefully consider potential outcomes.

For example: Who is taking the kids to school today and who is picking them up?

We had assumed someone in the family would always be available. However, if family members are not available, the problem can now become more significant.

  • Is a neighbor available or a school mom?
  • How well do I know that person?
  • If no one is available, what other options do I have?

Depending on the age of the children, these may include allowing them to walk to school by themselves, etc. Part of this problem was not anticipating ahead of time that this could be a problem.

All decisions are based on identifying a problem accurately and the pros and cons of potential solutions. When problems become more and more complex, it becomes harder and harder to identify what the actual problem is.

For example: A husband and wife are getting older. Both are experiencing deteriorating health, but one spouse’s health becomes worse and requires full-time care. The healthier spouse does not want to put the other spouse in a long-term care facility and continues to try to do all the caregiving required, further compromising health issues of safety.

This problem creates a whole bunch of other problems such as finances, potential moving, emotional trauma, etc. The main problem, however, is how do I keep my spouse safe, keep my health from deteriorating and find assistance?

Options have their own problems:

If I continue to take care of my spouse, how can I guarantee that person will be safe should something unexpected happen to me? What costs are involved with in-home health care vs a caregiving facility? Will I need to sell my home? Is there a way for us to stay together? Can we hire someone full time to help?

When adversities come at a rapid and unexpected pace, we easily become overwhelmed. If we are not familiar with problem solving, we will find it difficult to step out of the emotional morass and apply some logical steps to help resolve our problem.

5 Basic Problem-Solving Steps

Step 1 – Identify and define the problem succinctly and accurately.

Step 2 – Generate Solutions.

Step 3 – Evaluate, prioritize, and choose one.

Step 4 – Implement solution.

Step 5 – Make an assessment – did it solve the problem?  If not, pick another solution.

In the following weeks, we will spend time with each of these steps to make them less formidable and easy to apply to whatever problem you may be facing.

As we apply these steps to our decision-making, it becomes easier and can save us from expensive and disastrous outcomes.

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To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Step 9 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

Part 9 of a 9-part series on Designing a Meaningful Life

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

Throughout this series I have indicated the importance of asking the questions, “Who am I and what do I want?”

It is vital to get to know yourself and identifyy our strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs. To become all you can be, you need to have both a knowing and an acceptance.

Acceptance opens the door to opportunity.

Throughout your life, you move from one stage of development to another – from infant to toddler to middle childhood to teens. You leave school as a young adult. You develop a career, marry, or have children.

As you grow, you develop perceptions about yourself andy our world – frames of reference – that you use to interpret and make sense of life.

At each stage of life, you have the opportunity to reach a higher level of understanding about yourself and the world you live in, gain a new perspective about life, a new interpretation of “me,” and a new, meaningful focus.

You’ve been learning throughout this series that any transitional period can create a sense of confusion, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Sometimes a crisis or loss will trigger feelings of anxiety and even panic. What worked in the past is no longer working.

Sometimes there is an underlying discontent that has gone unchecked for a long time, and you ask, “Is this all there is?”

But it is precisely at such times that you have the opportunity to gain a new perspective – develop a new focus.

Growth, whether starting to exercise more seriously or becoming mentally more fit, is taking what you have right now and working with it to create a new design to put into action.

You frame life in response to the experiences, expectations, and the beliefs you hold. You are not a prisoner to old beliefs that dictate whether you can or cannot do this or that.  Every day you determine your locus of control and how you will frame your circumstances.

You have heard me say it before and I say it again: If your frames of reference are small and narrow and rigid, your life will remain restrictive, limiting, negative, and inflexible.

Throw that old frame of reference away and replace it with a belief in yourself and God. Only then can you explore healthy options and opportunities.

Here is an example of two siblings, a brother and sister, who grew up in the same household, but whose lives took dramatically different directions.

Suzie and Johnny’s family were poor. Their dad worked hard all day, came home and started drinking. Mom was a stay-at-home mom who drank as well and constantly berated them.

The messages Suzie and Johnny heard while growing up were: “We are poor, and we can’t do anything about it, so just accept it and move on. Other people get breaks; we don’t.”

They never heard statements such as: “Never give up,” or “Work hard” or “Believe in yourself.”

Instead, it was the opposite… no matter what you did it wouldn’t make a difference. The messages implied they were victims to their circumstances, and they just had to accept it.

At school they heard bullying remarks from other kids. They wore hand-me-downs, never “fit in” and were treated as outcasts.

Suzie was the brunt of other girls’ whispers and laughter. She would hear words such as “fatty” and “ugly” and “stupid.”

She was lonely and had few friends. She began to internalize the labels and believe them. Her mother gave her no support. She was afraid of her dad and of doing anything wrong. She worked hard at her studies to get recognition and praise from her teachers. But when she got recognition, the other kids ostracized her even more.

Her brother, Johnny, also heard negative remarks from other kids. But while Suzie withdrew and studied harder, Johnny became openly rebellious and soon earned the labels “belligerent – troublemaker – stubborn.”

At home his dad would tell him he wouldn’t amount to anything and that he was “stupid, headstrong and lazy.”

Johnny’s anger grew but any outbursts were rewarded with a whipping. So, his anger went underground as he fanned the fires of rage and injustice. He started hanging out with kids who were always in trouble. Some of his coaches tried to get him to focus on his athletic abilities, but he wouldn’t listen. By the time he was a teen, he was living the labels the world had placed on him. Drugs, gangs, and minor law infringements became a part of life.

Both Suzie and Johnny were bright. But while Johnny chose to hook up with kids that gave him the strokes he needed in a negative way, Suzie continued to work hard to get the praise and recognition she craved from her teachers. Several teachers took her under their wing, gave her encouragement and steered her towards college.

She worked hard, entered a community college, supported herself and earned the scholarships to get into a four-year university. It wasn’t easy. She had to study and work nights and weekends.

She struggled with the old negative labels and low self-esteem. But she continued to focus on the encouraging comments and beliefs of her teachers. She refused to accept the labels of the past, and gradually the low self-esteem was replaced with confidence.

That focus kept her going and she realized her dream of finishing her BA and entered graduate school. She graduated with honors and found a job in her area of expertise. When stress triggered old irrational critical messages, she challenged and replaced them with rational thoughts, beliefs, and evaluations.

Johnny, on the other hand, never went to college. He was able to get jobs in construction, but his anger and resentment kept him from advancing. He continued to listen to his internal critic that harassed him about his lack of worth. They became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He drank to reduce the emotional pain and continued to hang out with the wrong crowd. He went to jail a number of times for misdemeanors. Eventually he got married, but became his “dad” all over again, abusing both his wife and children.

Both came from the same home. Both received negative messages and lack of support. But Suzie chose to reframe her circumstances into a new belief system and lifestyle. Johnny, on the other hand, chose to follow the life script set up by his dad and continued to live his life by it. He felt locked in – a victim to circumstances.

No matter what has happened or is happening, at any moment in time we can make different choices that hold a different potential outcome. We can change our focus.

You have received a lot of life tools to help determine a new focus for your life.  But only you can pick them up and use them. Only you can say, “Yes I want to become more of who I can be.”

I invite you to continue following my blog as I illustrate other life tools that can be extremely beneficial.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Step 8 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Celebrate and Affirm Your Work

Part 8 in my series on Designing a Meaningful Life

    Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

    Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

    “From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

    – Ephesians 4:16

    Step 8 – Celebrate and Affirm Your Work

    A home is always evolving. Gardens are never complete. Sometimes new dirt is needed, fertilizer spread, gravel replaced, old plants and bushes removed, trees trimmed, and new plants planted.

    But to the gardener, once the initial design is in place, it is a joy to continue to build, refine and maintain their garden. It is an ongoing labor of love.

    Your life, too, is constantly evolving. You take a vision, develop a design, and work it out with goals. You may want to alter parts of your design or add more to it. But it all becomes an exciting project because you already know where you want to go.

    We began this series by using Butchart Gardens as an example of how a big hole in the ground – a gravel pit – could be turned into one of the world’s renowned gardens.

    You developed a vision and then created a design.

    In Step 6 you activated your plan and made your first primary goal.

    In this last step you will celebrate and affirm your work.

    Let’s return to the landscaping model we used when we began this series. Whether you have built a house or designed a landscape, both require ongoing care to replace plants or reassign rooms in your house, etc.

    The same is true with our lives. There will be ongoing work and upkeep. Create and keep a toolbox of life tools ready to use to refresh, renew or build.

    Create a Toolbox for Your Life

    Just as tools are needed to maintain our home and garden, so tools are needed to maintain our lives.garden watering can and trowel

    Here are ten essential life tools you need to have in your toolbox.

    1. Your Master Plan.

    Keep your master plan and design in front of you at all times. Focus on your goals. To remain motivated, remind yourself where you are going and what you want to do.

    We often start with a burst of energy and then slow down just as our design begins to take shape. Some goals, such as replacing wasteful and unproductive habits, may not show visible results at first. But you are building a foundation to implement your ongoing vision and design.

    2. Flexibility and resiliency.

    You will be hit with unexpected obstacles and roadblocks. Be prepared to roll with the punches. Identify the problems and look for solutions but do not let obstacles sidetrack or deter you from your lifelong goals.

    3. Develop your stride.

    Each of us has a unique way of doing things that allows us to maximize our efforts. Re-adjust your time frame as needed to meet the demands of life while working on your goal plans.

    4. Break down big goals into smaller ones.

    With small goals or steps, you will see accomplishments, no matter how small they might seem.

    In designing my home, there were many little steps that needed to be taken before actual construction could begin.

    5. Evaluate progress on a regular basis.

    We can easily get discouraged when there are no visible and immediate signs of accomplishment.

    Congratulate yourself for staying on task, for personal growth, persistence and becoming more disciplined.

    After you have mastered your initial goals this becomes an ongoing process. Life itself keeps us updating and revising even when old goals have been completed.

    6. Schedule daily time for rest and relaxation.

    Every day there will be new struggles, new demands, new problems. No matter how many goals you have accomplished, the needs for others will always pop up.

    Daily rest and relaxation is a need, not a luxury. It will prevent overload and burnout. Don’t wait until you are exhausted and tempted to give up on new habits and goals. Carve out time every day for this.

    It may seem frivolous at first, but it is incredibly important and will enable you to achieve your goals. Put your mobile device or phone away and go for a walk.

    Focus on the beauty of nature or a fun project, spend time with loved ones, share your talents by giving to others, etc.

    Remember, you are a unique part of God’s plan and of His garden and design. You are needed, wanted, and loved. Love and respect yourself and your gifts and talents.

    7. Repeat affirmations every day.

    Affirmations train the brain to move toward a direction. Affirmations keep us motivated and encouraged.

    Create positive “I” statements that represent where you want to be in the future. Then stand tall and act as if they were so.

    Here are some examples:

    • I am confident in my ability to complete my goals.
    • I bring all my special capabilities, skills, and talents to everything I do.
    • I love my life even in tough times.
    • I am creative in finding solutions.
    • I draw my strength, faith, hope and wisdom from God who loves me.
    • Yes, I can.

    8. Reframe difficult situations.

    Reframing allows us to see possibilities even in the worst circumstances and turns negative situations into positive ones. Reframing encourages us to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do.

    9. Reduce stress.

    Stress can be environmental, external, or internal. Allowing thoughts of defeat to remain dominant will increase stress. Use doubts and questions to solve problems you face.

    External or environmental stress comes when we don’t have a routine in place, haven’t identified and eliminated time wasters, or practice time management. A

    djust your goals to match your abilities while remaining on task.

    10. Never give up.

    Remember the woman who swam the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida? As she emerged from the water, she said to the reporters, “Never give up.”

    We see this attitude in many athletes who prepare years and years for competitions and achieve great feats. But we also see it in the memoirs of people who have overcome incredible odds. They never gave up.

    As a history buff, I have read many stories of our revolutionary war and the Second World War, Korean War, etc.  A common thread to winning against incalculable and insurmountable odds was determination and resolve.

    The mindset? Never give up.

    We can apply that same principle of purpose and fortitude to our everyday lives. At times our lives can seem like war zones – the battle to survive exhausting. Sometimes adversity can seem endless – stretching for miles and miles. You are exhausted and your resolve and will is tested beyond the norm. And you just want to crash and give up.

    It is never easy to keep going when you feel there is nothing left. Yet, I’ve found in my own life that there is always a reserve that will take me through; a hope that with God’s help I can persevere and a resolve that continues through the toughest times.

    There are many things in life I have no control over. But I always have control over how I respond to whatever is happening.

    Life is an ongoing process.

    Success is in the journey, not just the end result. Our master life garden design is just the beginning.

    But the work continues as we improve, re-arrange, dig out, re-do or replace.

    Check your emotional pulse every day. Keep God at the head of any ongoing project.

    If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

    Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

    To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

    I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Part 7 in my series on Designing a Meaningful Life

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

“Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”

– I Corinthians. 10:12, The Message

Step 7 – Plan Your Goal

Goals enable us to accomplish what is really important to us. It involves ongoing evaluation and monitoring to correct time frames, remove obstacles, or break into smaller components if necessary.

When replacing an established habit, for example, it takes time to put a new one in place.

Goal-setting helps us become aware of all the things we could accomplish that seemed impossible before.

Creating that goal statement and developing a specific plan of action is both exciting and keeps us on course. Goals need to be personal and have value to us.

Here are the basic components of any goal:

Goal Statement

  • Says exactly what you want to accomplish
  • Needs to be realistic, obtainable, and measurable


  • Set a specific time when you will start and when you hope to complete your goal


  • What will keep you from meeting your goal? Obstacles can be financial, physical, current obligations, etc. Develop a plan to overcome any obstacles, both current and those that become obvious as you work through your goal. “If this happens, I will…”
  • Make a list of obstacles you face right now and ways to overcome them

Plan of Action

  • Put down step-by-step the ways you will complete this goal


Unless you write down the benefits of reaching this goal, you won’t have the motivation to keep going when things get tough.

  • What benefits will I receive because of this goal? What will be different?
  • Will the benefits outweigh the risk and work? Benefits must be personal and satisfying.

Tracking or Ongoing Evaluation

  • Evaluate your progress weekly. Does your goal need refining? Is it still important to you? Why? Why not? Write down ways you will overcome discouragement.


  • Without a commitment, you can get off track and get discouraged. A commitment continues to motivate and encourage you. Write it down, sign and date it.

I, _________, hereby make a commitment to _____________________. Date __________

Visualize It

  • Close your eyes and see yourself having reached your goal. Imagine how it feels and all the pleasant things resulting from this goal. Do this every day.


  • Turn your goal statements into affirmations. Write the affirmations down and repeat every day as often as possible. Visualize and feel the end result.
  • Affirmations are repeated as though they were already true

Celebrate the completion of your goal with people who love/appreciate you!!

Goals are not intended to be so rigid and inflexible that we become broken by them.

Goals are often discarded because they are not important enough to overcome the obstacles to get there. When that happens, we may feel like a failure. If our goals are right for us, we will be energized even when the going gets tough. After starting your goal, if you discover it isn’t what you wanted, refine, or rework it until it is right for you.

One of My Major Goals

Step 7 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Plan Your Goal

Here is an example of how I took a life-altering event and worked it through to a new beginning. As I came to terms with the death of my husband, I realized I needed to make some major changes. I would need to sell my home. That involved decisions of where I wanted to live, where I could afford to live, and finding a way to make it happen.

As I worked on my initial goal, I soon realized I needed to modify it. There were no homes for sale within my community that fit my requirements.

I reviewed additional options: purchase and move a modular home to a site, build a new home, or move out of my area. I wanted to remain in my community. The costs and risks involved in moving a modular home were not fiscally sound for me. After careful consideration, I chose to build myself a new home. Here was my revised goal.

Goal Statement: While my house is on the market, I will look for a building site, a house plan, and a contractor. From the sale of my current home, I will purchase a lot and initiate construction. If needed, I can put in place a small mortgage.

Time: Begin immediately. My time-frame had to include not only the sale of my house, but finding a lot I liked, a house plan to fit that lot, and a reliable building contractor. It required working with a dependable real estate agent.


  • Find a suitable lot within my means
  • Find a contractor I trusted and who I could work with
  • Find a house plan that I liked and could modify to fit my lot
  • Sale of my current house with enough reserve to purchase a lot and build
  • Find reliable mentors who would help me think through all the critical steps
  • Establish a construction loan package that would convert to a permanent loan
  • Deal with higher levels of pain from a deteriorating hip joint

 Plan of Action:

  • Ask my realtor to locate available, affordable, and buildable lots
  • Consult a local builder who had built other homes in my community. Did the people like the homes he built? Was he easy to work with? Did he listen and give specific answers to their questions?
  • Match costs to build with proceeds of the sale of my home
  • Talk with trusted individuals about my plan-of-action. I had some previous knowledge about building as my husband and I had built two previous homes.
  • Find a construction loan that would roll-over to a permanent loan with a low fixed interest rate
  • Have my house plan drawn up; review modification particulars and sign a building contract

All plans of action get more involved as you work within them. I found a lot I liked that was within my budget, sold my home, put together a loan package, signed an agreement with a builder who modified the plan I brought him to meet my specifics, and entered the hospital to have a hip replacement the day they started building my new home. After my house was completed, I moved, with the help of many good friends, from my old house to my new one.

Reviewing the process

Once I started, I was committed to following through. By reviewing all the potential obstacles, I was able to find ways to overcome them. I refined and modified my original goal. I affirmed my goal by visualizing my new home. I was an active participant in the whole building process, measuring my furniture to meet the specifications of my house plan, etc.

I wanted a home I could live in within my means and enjoy for many years.

Before I broke ground, I gathered with a group of my friends to celebrate this new transition. Later, my friends were invited to help celebrate my new home.

I love my home. It is right for me and my needs. But to have the home I have today, I had to let go of a home I loved in order to create a new reality that was right for me today. The goal planning process enabled me to do that.

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.

Step 6 in Designing a Meaningful Life: Activate Your Plan

Part 6 in a series on Designing a Meaningful Life

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

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“For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

– Matthew 25:29

Step 6 – Activating Your Plan

In Step 5 you reviewed the different areas of your life and wrote down the concerns and changes you wanted to make.

Look over your list. Which area will you work on first?

When you choose a goal to work on, ask yourself whether you have all the information you need to activate that goal.

  • Have you defined specifically what you want the outcome to be and why it is important to you?
  • What other goal(s) may be linked to the one you have chosen? For example, if your goal is to dimmish conflict, an associated one might be to build a better relationship. Also involved is learning how to communicate effectively.

It’s hard to make changes without support.

You might have the support of a loyal friend, but it can be helpful to associate with others who have worked on similar issues.

  • Are there support groups at your local senior center or church?
  • Joining a local community group focused on similar interests such as a gardening or book club, are good ways to meet new people.
  • Perhaps joining a service organization that offers volunteer work to people in need.
  • Develop that relationship with God. Check in with Him every day.

Whenever you make changes, finances are usually an integral component. Knowing more precisely what your spending habits and financial needs are can make it easier to choose how you spend your money. Start small with adjustments and then later establish a primary goal to develop a budget you can stick with.

Here is where all your hard work of preparation will pay off. If you haven’t gathered all the information you need or do not have a good description of what you want, you will lose motivation. Too often we start with a bang and then lose enthusiasm.

Wishful thinking to focused resolve

There is a difference between wishful thinking and a focused resolve.

Wishes are desires, but you don’t not want them badly enough to make them happen. It’s like driving around the countryside with no destination in mind. We often spend a lifetime driving through life the same way; enjoying the moment without any plans for the future.

Setting goals is like taking a map and developing a roadmap with a plan of action that will take you on the routes needed to get to your destination. Until you purposefully turn your desires into goals, they will just remain wishes.

Choose an area to start

Return to the list of areas in your life along with the concerns you have in each.

  • Are you prepared to work and make the changes that will benefit you both in the short term and long term?
  • Are you prepared to spend the time, energy, and money to make it happen?
  • Ask yourself how you would feel if you didn’t make these important goals?

In September of 2013, a 64-year-old woman completed her goal of swimming 110 miles, from Cuba to Florida. It was a lifelong dream and this was her fifth try. But she stuck with her goal. As she emerged from the water, she said to the reporters, “Never give up.” She continued to train until she made her goal come true. Wow!

How often do we give up and believe we have no options?

How often do we believe we are too old, too poor, too uneducated? How often do we convince ourselves that it is too hard or requires too much sacrifice? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give up.

Goals are for people who want to make things happen – who want to take charge of their lives. If you lack confidence, go through the process of making and completing some small goals. That can motivate you to tackle bigger ones.

Why You Should Create a Formal Goal Plan | FocusWithMarlene.comGeneral framework of goal setting:

  1. Set a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic, and attainable. State it as an action.
  2. Designate a time to begin and when you want to finish.
  3. Define each of the steps needed to accomplish it.
  4. Write down anything that might deter you – any obstacles you currently face or might encounter while working on your goal. How will you deal with each?
  5. Evaluate your progress. Are modifications or corrections needed?
  6. Make a commitment. Sign and date it.
  7. Turn your goal statement into affirmations you repeat every day.

While working on a goal, if you believe it isn’t right for you, give yourself permission to alter, restructure or eliminate it.

Making a commitment does not mean you have to continue with a goal that won’t be useful.

A commitment is motivation to complete those goals that are right for you. Reward yourself on each of your steps – both for what you achieved and the time and energy you spent.

You are making goals to improve your life.

Keep that foremost in your thoughts each day. It will help motivate you when you get discouraged. You have determined their importance. You are in charge. While it may sound daunting, setting goals and taking charge of our lives is liberating.

Freedom is the ability to choose our direction. Responsibility is our ability to respond to life.

You can look for and ask for help if needed. When you are willing to work through adversity, roadblocks, and any obstacles because you understand how important this is for your life, the blessings will be enormous!

If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends.

Subscribe today to receive a notice in your inbox about each week’s new blog post and podcast episode: http://eepurl.com/baaiQ1

To receive a free 15-minute consultation to help you create a personal plan of action, email me.

I am also available for speaking engagements, retreats or teaching workshops for your church, clubs, or women’s groups.