That title got your attention, didn't it! Wouldn't it be wonderful to get rid of all the problems in your life? Well, stay with me on this because if you follow the method below it will make a dramatically positive difference in your life.
You might be thinking that I'm going to say something like "Don't think of them as problems, just think of them as opportunities." Or you might be thinking something from Norman Vincent Peale, who was considered the father of positive thinking. He said "Problems are a sign of life, and if you don't have problems you had better start to worry because the only people that don't have problems are in the grave!"
No. That's not what this article is about.
It's great to re-characterize your problems into opportunities and make yourself feel better about them. But as Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said, it's also very true that "problems" are a sign of life.
This article is about how to actually solve your "problems." Let's start with a simple question. Are you actually making progress and doing anything about your "problems?"
You see, most people don't actually do very much about the "problems" that they face. They think about them, they worry about them. They are on the mind constantly, but, most of the time people are not actually doing something positive about their problems. Take a look in your own life. Is there something that is a "problem" for you, but you are not really doing much, if anything, about it?
So what's the solution?
The solution is first to envision how you would like the situation to be. And then to simply think about what is the next action step you can take to try and move in the direction that will bring it about. Sounds blindingly simple, right? But are you actually doing it in your life?
With complex problems (ones that you obviously haven't yet solved), sometimes it's difficult to think of every action step that you need to take. The good news is that you don't need to plan the entire solution. Instead just plan the next step to take, and as you take that next step, plan the next step after that. The solution will often reveal itself as you go through this process, even if it seemed hidden before you started.
Let's say you are in a job you are not particularly happy with. Your vision is to be in a job that you are inspired about, but you are not quite sure what that job would be. You decide that your first step is to make a list of 15 or more jobs you have thought of previously that sound pretty cool. After doing that, you decide that your next step is to spend an hour talking with two friends who already work in industries that you are interested in, and ask them about how to get started in that area. You write this project down and review it at least weekly, making sure that you are continuing to take action steps.
Or you are concerned about your mother's health as she is living by herself. You want her to be in a situation where she has more people around her. Your first step is to brainstorm at least six possible solutions to this issue. You come up with that list and then you decide that the next step is to discuss it with her and find out about her ideas on the subject.
The main point of this message is that there are certain areas where you might feel stuck in your life. But are you actually taking action and doing anything about these problem areas? Or are you just worrying about the issue? As soon as you start to take some action you will often find that your worry about the issue starts to diminish. And if you take continuous action you will sooner or later find the solution.
So here is the exact method for solving any problem in your life. Follow this method to the letter and you will eventually find a solution to your problem.
Step 1: Identify the outcome that you want for the situation. The outcome must be phrased in a positive way. What you want to happen, not what you don't want to happen. For example, instead of saying "I want to be out of this terrible job," write "I want to be in a job that I really love and enjoy." The list also should be specific and measurable. When this outcome occurs it needs to be obvious to someone who reads the list.
Step 2: Write down the outcome that you want.
Step 3: Next to this outcome write down the very first step you could take toward it. Remember, this doesn't have to be accurate. You might get it wrong the first time you try, but even if it's wrong, it's still taking some kind of action towards the outcome.
Step 4: Reminder system. You will definitely need a system for remembering to evaluate and review what happened. For example, put a note in your diary every week (this only works if your review your diary religiously!). You can't rely on your brain to remember to review. You MUST have a reminder system. Another system is to use something like Google Calendar or Outlook to email you automatically every week to remember to do it. If you are truly motivated to solve it, review it daily not weekly.
Step 5: Evaluation step. When you receive the reminder to review, take a look and see what you have actually done.
Step 6: During the evaluation, work out if you are going to keep doing the same action or come up with a new action. You must always write down this new action.
Step 7: If you find in the evaluation step that you didn't take any action, then this is what you should do: make the action step easier and smaller. Break it down into the very first really easy thing you can do. For example, let's say your problem is that you are single but you want a relationship. Your action step is to go on a date. You evaluate after one week and you didn't go on a date. So break it down into an easier action step. For example, write a list of five ideas about how you can find someone to go on a date. Or, join an online dating web site.
It's important that with these steps you take the time to think carefully about the next appropriate action step that you can take. Don't give up. Keep thinking until you come up with an idea about what you can do. If you can't think of anything to do, ask someone else to help you.
Additional bonus step:
Step 8: To really identify the best way to solve the problem, it helps if you find someone who has solved this same problem before. For example, let's say you want to get out of debt. Find someone who has been in lots of debt and can tell you how to get out of debt. You can find advice on most common topics like this on the internet or in books that you can buy on the subject. Just make sure that the person has had this problem before and successfully has solved it.
It's likely that you will discover that different people have different perspectives. For example, if your problem is that you have had severe back pain for years, you will probably discover that others have succeeded using multiple approaches. Not all those approaches will succeed for you, but the more perspectives you find, the more likely you will find the right one for you. So read every book you can find that might help you. Also find a person that you know that has solved the problem and is willing to help you.
You can use this system for ANY problem in your life. You might even want to list every problem that you can think of and apply this method to each of them.
If you feel this method is not working after following it religiously for more than 10 weeks, please contact me on the web site and tell me exactly what you did. I will get back to you about what to do next.
I'm going to remind you of all the steps that you must take in order to succeed with this method. If you don't follow all these steps exactly, you can't complain that the method didn't work, because you're really not following the method.
- Determine the outcome that you want.
- Write down the outcome in positive language (what you want, NOT what you don't want).
- Write down any action step you can take toward this outcome.
- Get a method that will remind you to review your actions at least every week, but preferably every day.
- During your review, work out if you are going to keep going with the same action, or if not, write down a new action.
- If you didn't take action, make the action step smaller and easier.