AS@W Antidepressant Skills Workbook: Heling You Deal With Depression
Solving Problems Effectively
Step 5Make an action plan

There aren’t very many problems that you will solve completely with just one action. But there might be many actions that will take you partway toward a solution. If you have a financial problem, for example, then perhaps your first action should be to gather the paperwork together so that you can look at it. Just gathering the paper won’t solve the problem, but it will take you closer to a solution than you were before. The important thing is to get started on a solution.

Your plan of action should follow four rules that can be abbreviated as M.A.S.T.

In other words:

Manageable. Even if you don’t feel any better in the coming week than you did last week (even if you feel a little worse), you could do it anyway. It’s better to accomplish a goal that is too small than to fail at an ambitious one. Here’s a bad example: For my first time out, run a marathon. Better example: Walk one block.

Action-oriented. Make a plan for what you will do, not how you will think or feel while you are doing it. You have a certain amount of control over what you do, but you have less control over your emotions and thoughts. Bad example: Spend a pleasant hour with my children. Better example: Spend one hour with my children.

Specific. It should be very clear what you need to do. Bad example: Get in shape. Better example: Phone the community centre to find out whether they teach yoga.

Time-limited. Your plan should take only a short time to carry out. Don’t plan to change your style forever.
Bad example: Keep up regular exercise for the rest of my life. Better example: Walk 20 minutes three times a week,
review after two months.

What’s the plan, exactly?





Next: Step 6