Define the problem

Are you looking for a solution without really knowing what the problem is? Very often we can find ourselves in a pressurized situation where there is a strong sense that ‘something must be done’. If we are not careful that pressure can lead us to trying out solutions without really knowing what the problem is. Sometimes we will get lucky and we will be able to resolve the situation purely by chance, in the sense that our ill-defined ‘solutions’ just happen to address our ill-defined problems. However, what is much more likely is that we will make little progress by being so unfocused and may, at times, actually make the situation worse. So, it’s important that we spend some time and effort in trying to define what the problem is before we try and come up with ways of dealing with it. This is an important aspect of reflective practice.

Focus on what motivates

When we need to make changes in our lives we can sometimes find it difficult to motivate ourselves. This is often because we tend to focus on what we need to do to achieve the desired change rather than on the change itself. For example, if you want to lose weight, focusing on eating less and/or exercising may seem like a bind, something you are reluctant to engage in. However, if you focus on weight loss and the benefits it would bring, you are far more likely to feel motivated to make the changes. This may seem simple, obvious even, but that doesn’t alter the fact that so many people continue to focus on means rather than the ends and thereby demotivate themselves. The same logic applies to not only motivating ourselves but also to helping others to motivate themselves.