My Health Counts! Self Management
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Problem Solving Steps

Like most things, self-management is rarely a smooth process. Chances are you will run into a few roadblocks along the way. When it seems like you're getting a little worse or hit a plateau, keep in mind that ups and downs are unavoidable. If your plan doesn't work, don't give up! As we saw in “Ann's Story” there are specific steps that can help you tackle the barriers that get in your way.

Kate Lorig at Stanford University has developed a very successful program called the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program .

The following steps are adapted from this program:

Identify the problem. This is the first and most important step, but it is usually also the most difficult step, it may take some work to identify the root of the problem.

List ideas to solve the problem. Once you have your list it may be helpful to consult with your “self-management support team”—friends, family, your doctor or community resources.

Select one method to try. New activities can be difficult, so make sure you give your selection a fair chance before deciding that it doesn't work.

Assess the results. If you've solved the problem great! If not it's time to substitute another idea from the list.

Reach out for additional resources. If you still don't have the solution it's time to reach out once again to your “self-management support team” for more ideas.

Accept that the problem may not be solvable at this moment. Just because that problem isn't immediately solvable, doesn't mean it won't be solvable later. Don't give up. Don't dwell on what you can't do. Start working on another goal you'd like to accomplish.