This problem solving technique is commonly used by psychologists in the counseling process to assist individuals in finding a solution on their own, and put it to use in a real scenario.
Step 1: Identifying the Problem
Ask yourself what the problem is. There may be multiple issues within a single situation. Make a list of these issues and define why each one is a problem to you. Focus on behaviors rather than on yourself or a person (Incorrect example: “The problem is that I am stupid.”) (Correct example: “The problem is that I easily allow others to betray or disappoint me, because I trust people too quickly.”).
Step 2: Defining Goals
Try to define your goals specifically, while making them as realistic and attainable as possible. An example of a poor or broad goal is “I want to be happy.” First, define what happiness means to you and what you can do to feel happier overall. Try to form your goals in the sense of actions you can take to achieve the desired goal.
Step 3: Brainstorming
Take time to brainstorm possible ways to resolve the problem. Do not rush this process- People often want to prevent and solve problems before they even appear. Write down all ideas, even the ones that seem absurd or bizarre. Try to find 6-8 varying alternatives when resolving a particular problem.
Step 4: Assessing Alternatives
For every alternative you formed in the previous step, weigh the positive effects and negative consequences that each solution would bring. For every and any option, determine its advantages and its risks.
Step 5: Choosing the Solution
Carefully weigh all solutions. The best solution is not necessarily the option with the most pros and/or the least cons. Think about what means more to you, which solution can highlight the positive effects that matter the most to you, and which solution produces the mildest consequences. When you decide on a solution, it is important to create a timeline of when you intend to achieve your ultimate goal.
Step 6: Active Execution of the Chosen Solution
Don’t worry about failure. In this phase, concentrate on the journey that will lead you to your goal- don’t worry yourself with potential problems.
Step 7: Evaluation
It’s time to evaluate your success. If you were successful, congratulations! If not, no worries. Maybe you didn’t quite choose the right solution or the situation changed. You have definitely learned something. Take this newfound knowledge, return to the beginning steps, and try again!