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9 Steps To Fix Any Problem In Your Life

Breaking FreeToday I am honored to introduce Shannon Lee who graciously offered to write a guest post for my subscribers while I was recuperating from my recent outpatient cataract surgery.

Shannon Lee  The “Stuck Spot” Remover, is a personal growth expert with over 20 years of experience in helping people to identify and overcome their obstacles to happiness, success and well-being. She is the founder of Inner Harmonies and the Director of the Self-Awareness Institute. Visit her at http://www.becoming100percentyou.com to receive her complimentary 7-part ecourse on Becoming 100% You!


Have you ever found yourself feeling stuck or overwhelmed by something that’s happening in your life? We’ve all experienced it – the job that makes us miserable, those extra ten holiday pounds that just won’t go away, the relationship that is not working out the way we expected. . . We all face these setbacks, curve balls and unpleasant surprises from time to time, and it’s how we choose to handle them that make all the difference. Here are 9 steps to help you gracefully and effectively navigate your way free of these challenges:

Step 1 – Notice
This is what I like to call the “Oops!” moment: when you first realize that something isn’t going the way you planned, or your feelings have been hurt, or your worst fear is coming true. . . This is no time to play Captain Oblivious – the sooner you become aware that your life is derailing, the easier it is to get it back on track again.

Step 2 – Acknowledge
Once you’ve noticed that things are not to your liking, it’s time to acknowledge the situation. It’s okay (and actually quite healthy!) to admit that you’re not happy with an aspect of your life, even if you’re only admitting it to yourself. Acknowledging how you feel about the situation will give you permission to look at it more closely and objectively.

Step 3 – Understand
It’s time to do a little research. How did this situation happen? In retrospect, were there any warning signs you ignored or didn’t see because you were distracted? Has something like this happened before? How do you feel about all this?

Step 4 – Commit
Decide right now if you are going to let this situation keep you down, or if you are willing to do whatever it takes to fix it. No matter how upset you may feel or how powerless you may think you are, you DO have a choice! You don’t have to know how you’re going to fix it right now, just make a commitment to yourself that you WILL move forward.

Step 5 – Plan
Figure out what you need to do, have or be to break free from this problem. Do you need to set some boundaries? learn a new skill? get some help? process your emotions? release some unproductive habits? make amends? You don’t have to do this on your own – consult a trusted friend or mentor, hire a coach, or find a therapist to help you develop your plan.

Step 6 – Act
Now that your commitment and your plan are in place, it’s time to take action. If your plan is simple and short term, do it now! If it’s more complex and includes long-term goals, get organized and stay on track.

Step 7 – Release
Once you have done your best to take action and fix the situation, it’s time to let it go. There’s no need to dwell on past mistakes or disappointments – after all, you have the future to look forward to! Sometimes releasing the past means forgiving the person(s) who hurt you – and sometimes you may not yet be ready to do that. Everyone processes at a different pace, so be true to your own feelings.

Step 8 – Review
Now take some time to look at the big picture again – both the problem and your solution(s). What would you have wanted to do differently in the original situation? You may want to write this down in a journal, to increase your chances of remembering your new strategy and being better prepared in the future.

Step 9 – Repeat
Once you have completed the first 8 steps, breath a sigh of relief, bask in your sense of accomplishment, and vow to do it all again at the next sign of trouble!

That’s it! Following these 9 steps will help you to not only break free from those stuck or overwhelmed spaces – it will also help you to prevent a repeat of the same trauma and drama later on down the road.

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford



14 Responses to “9 Steps To Fix Any Problem In Your Life”

  1. I loved this article. I’ve successfully used some/all of these steps several times in my life, without knowing the sequence. I think I got it right! After my third child was born, I still carried 30 lbs extra nine months later. I saw a picture of myself and acknowledged it. The rest followed. Within 2 months, the 30 lbs were gone. Thanks for the steps, they might be helpful with my teenagers as they face unhappy situations in life, too.

  2. Thanks so much Dorien. I will forward all the comments to Shannon. I’ve used these steps too in my life perhaps referring to them with different names. It’s all the same and it works every time.

  3. I’ve followed these steps when misery set in and they work. The thing is, it’d be healthier to act before I feel that bad but pain is a great motivator. I’m happy to see the list in writing – I may be inspired to follow these suggestions earlier.

  4. It’s a really helpful post Sandi. Thanks to Shannon for writing and to you to publish. I’ve gone through some of this step in my life and even recently, but it’s really usefull to have them all in sequence. I’ll keep them in mind because it’s a good practice to do them sometime in the week regardless if we’re really stuck.

  5. That is a very good process. on “Notice” : if you are not aware of the impact of what you do make sure you have a good friend or partner who gives you constructive feedback but ignore criticism as it will only makes things worse buy giving you guilt.

  6. Thanks Anne for your insightful comment. I’ll share with Shannon.

  7. Thanks Fabrizio. I appreciate your comments and I am sending all the comments to Shannon. The 9 steps are indeed a helpful reminder.

  8. Thanks S. Kim for your thoughts. I’m forwarding all the comments to Shannon.

    A suggestion from me in reply to your comment about wanting to act before you feel “that bad”. Shannon has her first step to “Notice”. I call it being “aware”. And I have to say first off that many times we get caught off guard. Life slips up behind us and suddenly we’re in the throws of an issue. It happens to all of us. For me I find that when I become aware and let go of any judgement I may have concerning the “issue”; then it’s much easier to move to the 2nd step and acknowledge. I hope this helps you.

  9. Wow, does that ever get to the nitty-gritty of things! Thanks, Shannon, for your clarity and orderliness. I’m printing the 9 steps out and putting them on my office wall.

  10. Thanks Caroline. i’m forwarding all the comments to Shannon.

  11. Sandi, Shannon: Great outline and how to guide for Fixing Problems. We all need to know how to best deal with and get over them and this is great advice.

  12. Thanks so much Joel. I’ll let Shannon know you appreciated her great advice.

  13. Great article Sandi. It’s a good thing to have a step-by-step process for resolving problems you face in your life. I think the toughest part for most people is between step 5 and step 6, right before you take action. For some reason during the planning stage all the seemingly real obstacles start to haunt us and prevent us from advancing to the Act stage. Usually it comes down to we just don’t have the time and/or money to throw at the problem and those two resources seem to be our only lifeline. Furthermore we start to become overwhelmed by the situation and may decide to put it off until another day. If we do decide to review the situation again we find ourselves starting at step 1 only to be overwhelmed by step 5 again. If someone is the type that gets overwhelmed like this, they might be best to note the progress they make so they can start right at step 5 when they revisit the situation in the future and can hopefully make some headway.
    Thanks again,

  14. Thanks Bill. Good point. I’ll let Shannon know that you liked her post.

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