When you learn the basics of problem-solving it will be a skill that you use automatically.
In last week’s post, I outlined five basic components of problem solving; questions you need to ask to find the solution you want. Today you will set the criteria to resolve your problem and learn how to identify exactly what the main problem is.
Identify the problem – define the conflict
Whether the question is how to advance beyond basic survival, how to prepare for your financial future, or how to better communicate with your spouse, it is crucial that the problem be correctly defined.
Unless the problem is correctly defined, you will be trying to rid yourself of emotional distress rather than resolving the actual problem.
We experience problems every day that require some kind of action. Most are insignificant, or require little thought, such as, What will I wear today? Do I want to take the weekend off and get away? We make a decision and move on.
But other problems are more complex with more serious outcomes, such as, How can I make enough money to support my family or care for an aging parent? How do I survive this pandemic?
One problem often has a multitude of other problems attached, each requiring thought and consideration. An aging spouse with health issues may require additional care.
What is your daily time routine? Habits and time management go hand-in-hand. If you want to maximize your time, you need to put habits in place that will help you follow those guidelines.
Next week you will learn what keeps habits in place. But first, let’s set up a time management program that works for you.
Time management is more than making to-do lists.
We all make lists of things to be done and then either abandon them or become stressed in the process of trying to get everything done. And we tend to do the things we like doing first and then put the rest on hold until we feel like it.
It has been said that over 40% of our actions each day are habits. If so, much of our day is on autopilot, and it behooves us to look carefully at our habits to discover which are working for us and which are working against us.
This is especially important as you prepare to make new goals for the future. Successful goals rely on habits that keep you on track.
“Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them.”
As you reflect on the goals you have made in the past, why were some never completed while others were? What made the difference?
Developing a vision is more than just thinking about what you might want to do or to have. It’s also developing a new focus. Your focus determines who you are and who you can become. It makes you unique.
On the front page of my website I have defined my platform with the following:
Last week you reflected on all you have learned on this journey through loss. Now, you will use that information and take that next step in putting together the pieces of your life that were disrupted into a new picture of who you can become.
Early in my writing career, I did an interview with a Christian radio station host. Before the interview, I was given a set of questions to preview that would be used in our discussion. They included my years growing up, my family, my teaching and counseling career, and my new career goals as a writer and speaker.
The interview preparation made me pause and think about who I was before and after the loss of my husband, what I valued, and how the things I learned helped me achieve. Taking some thoughtful time to reflect gave me a deeper appreciation of myself, the attributes I had, what I had learned about myself, and the life experiences that helped shape and mold me.
Each of us can uncover similar things when we take time for reflection. We are a composite of DNA, personality traits, childhood experiences and core beliefs established along the way. We are a combination of strengths and weaknesses. When we’ve suffered a major loss, our thoughts revolve around why we can’t or won’t succeed that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You have grieved, accepted, let go and are now ready to put your energy into making plans for the future.
Before making any major long-term goals, some preliminary questions can help you avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Some of those questions include identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
Have you given thoughtful consideration to what you would like to do in the future and what obstacles or barriers you may encounter?
Starting over is never easy.
When we started out in life, it seemed there was a more defined path to follow: going to college, establishing a career, getting married, starting a family, etc. Somehow it was easier to coordinate all the pieces and move in the direction we wanted to go.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
You may be wondering why I am spending so much time on humor, laughter, blessings and gratitude in this series. I am because they are such powerful mindsets that can overcome depression, sorrow, and hopelessness.
They are some of life’s most powerful tools that can be used every day in many circumstances to lift our spirits and motivate us to look for ways to accomplish goals and be happy. This is especially beneficial when healing from a loss.
Did you know that just by searching for positive things to be grateful for, you are activating your brain to produce more feel-good hormones? Just by the process, you are changing how your brain is working. Wow – I think that’s pretty significant!
Most of us would agree that a blessing is something fortunate that has happened to us for which we are thankful. We think of them in the moment as a relief from pressure, something unexpected that reduces stress or makes us feel good.
I have discovered, however, that many times blessings come disguised and are only realized later. We are required to make tough choices within the challenges we face. Making those tough choices has taught me to think beyond the moment.
This was especially true when I was creating a new life for myself after the death of my husband. I knew I not only could survive, but I could use my skills to rebuild a meaningful life.