- Follow the questions in order, without skipping any.
- Keep your responses short.
- You may move between steps using the progress bar above.
- Select the question mark icon for tips or more information.
Before you start problem-solving, we would like to ensure your mind and body are ready to work on your problem.
Take a moment to think about the problem you would like to solve.
- • What is the problem?
- • Who is involved?
- • Is it stressful?
- • How does it affect your life?
Are you having any negative thoughts or feelings?
- Do you sometimes think that you're a failure or that you are not good enough to solve the problem?
- Do you feel hopeless, sad, guilty or anxious?
Are you having signs of stress?
Your mind can't operate at it is best when you are stressed. It is important to find a relaxation exercise that works for you to reduce the symptoms of stress.
Remember to notice your thoughts, feelings and stress level during your entire problem-solving process. Use the Stop and Slow Down tools to cool your mind and body as needed.
Step 1: Define the problem and set realistic goals
Now that your mind and body are ready to work on your problems, we'll focus on the first Planful Problem-Solving step: Define the problem and set realistic goals.
Reminder: Defining the problem inaccurately may lead your problem-solving efforts away from your goal. If necessary, ask your family members or friends to help.
Set your problem-solving goal.
Your goals should:
- Aim to solve your problem
- Be realistic
- Not be too narrow to be achieved
Describe the major obstacles to achieving your goals at this time.
Your obstacles may be:
- Barriers blocking your way to goals
- Conflicts between you and others
- Opposing goals
- Lack of skills or resources
- The unknown or unfamiliar
- Emotional difficulties
Step 2: Generate alternative solutions
In this section, we'll focus on the second Planful Problem-Solving step: Generate alternative solutions.
Think of alternate ways to achieve your goal. Be creative. List at least 3 ideas.
Your solutions should be diverse and not too narrow. Remember to apply the three brainstorming principles:
- Quantity leads to quality
- Do not judge
- Think of 'variety'
Step 3: Select the Solution that Works for You
In this section, we'll focus on the third Planful Problem-Solving step: Select the Solution that Works for You.
Screen out the obviously ineffective solutions and select your top three possible solutions.
Next you will evaluate each of these solutions individually.
Evaluate the impact of your solutions by considering:
- • personal and social consequences
- • short-term and long-term consequences
Solution 1: What are the "pros" or positive consequences or the "cons" or negative consequences" to this solution?
Solution 2: What are the "pros" or positive consequences or the "cons" or negative consequences" to this solution?
Soltuion 3: What are the "pros" or positive consequences or the "cons" or negative consequences" to this solution?
Decide which solution(s) is the best by choosing the one with the best positive consequences and fewest negative consequences.
- Identify the best solution by weighing the pros and cons of all the potential solutions.
- You may combine the solutions
Write down your Action Plan.
Your action plan can be simple or comprehensive. However, sometimes more difficult problems require a more comprehensive action plan.
Step 4: Carry out the solution and determine whether it worked or not
Now you have carried out your action plan. You should be proud of yourself!
In this section, you will complete the last Planful Problem-Solving step: Carry out the solution and determine whether it worked or not.
Did your plan work and are you happy with the outcome?
If your plan was not successful, ask the following questions:
- Did you define the problem correctly?
- Did you think of a variety of alternate solutions?
- Did you consider both the pros and cons of each solution?
- Did you carry out your action plan as best as you could?