A Four Step Foolproof Problem-solving Method

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Earlier today I was writing a post about my Jumpstart Your Life class (like that little nod there?).  I mentioned that the way I coach tends to be very laser-focused, very to-the-point and FUN.  I wrote out my whole recipe for change.  It cracks me up, cause it’s super short.  There’s no magic to it.  It’s quite straight-forward.  I figured I would share it here with you, because it’s extraordinarily useful.  Okay, dah dah dah!  Here it is!

1. State your problem or your goal.  

Sometimes we know what your goal is, sometimes we’re just pissed off or upset about something.  Sometimes we’re just scared.  If you don’t know what your goal is, state your problem.  “I’m broke!”  Your goal is often the opposite of that, plus some details.  What do you want?  Not to be broke.  What does that look like?  I need to bring in 5000 dollars by the end of the year.  So 5000 dollars and December 31?  There’s your goal.  

2. List the barriers to your goal.  

This is all the fears, all the excuses, all of the things that people say to you when you say “I will create 5000 dollars by December 31.”  This is an easy list.  It’s too much money.  I don’t know how.  I don’t make enough money to save.  I already have a tight budget, etc, etc.

3. For each barrier, come up with a solution.  

Go down your list.  For the tough ones, put it on a separate piece of paper and come up with 50 solutions.  You doubt that you can do it, I know what you’re thinking.  Do it anyway.  “I don’t know how to make money.”  List all of the things that people do to make money.

4. Take action.  

Pick something on your list.  Do it.  


Seriously.  This is the process.  It is extraordinarily effective.  I do it all day long with all kinds of problems.  So why would you ever need a coach?  The problem is, sometimes we get into our own heads and that’s when we need some help.  Sometimes we need some support in coming up with solutions we didn’t see.  Sometimes we need a cheerleader when we’re losing motivation.  Sometimes we need tools like vision boards or a map or a plan or notes on our bathroom mirror to keep us focused on our goal.  Sometimes you need someone to ask you if you did what you said you were going to do, to keep you accountable.  And sometimes it’s damn boring to raise 5000 dollars and you need some company that will keep you laughing and dancing while you put in the work!  

I hope my process helps!  I encourage you to try it with a problem you’ve been dealing with.  I encourage you even more to get out a piece of paper, write out the steps and your answers to them.  Put your action items on a calendar.  And if you need it ask someone to help.  Your best friend, your mom, your mentor, a coach.  Everyone needs help sometimes.  

If you’d like an extra push, feel free to contact me for a free consultation or click here to get more info about the upcoming group class.

Author: Mary Preston, LMFT

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Life Coach. Through dealing with my own anxiety and attention difficulties over the years I have discovered many useful practices and tools to help regain focus, shift my attention to what’s important and to stay organized enough to get the life that I want. In my practice I work primarily with women and children with Anxiety, ADHD and Depression and I share what I’ve learned to get them back on track to living a full, purpose filled life.

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