Summary: when improving your life, you never get to 'solve' a problem area, you only ever get to choose a better class of problem. Thinking this way is far more conductive to making actual progress.
Body: This is a simple but effective mental strategy to reframing your problem -> analysis -> implementation process when dealing with life improvement.
Instead of thinking of solving a problem area of your life, think of it in terms of choosing a better class of problem.
Are you fat? choose to have a better problem: how to stay within a daily caloric budget without feeling too hungry.
Are you flabby? choose to have a better problem: how to fit in gym 3x a week with your schedule.
Are you shy? choose to have a better problem: how to handle the embarassment after having talked to a stranger in public.
Are you in debt? choose to have a better problem: how to save X dollars a week.
Why this works
This is conceptually similar to breaking down your goals into manageable intermediate steps, but rather than working on the rational side of you (which, for the most part, knows full well what ought to be done) it acts on the irrational side of you: the side that looks at that detailed, step-by-step plan, and still thinks about the seemingly unachievable ultimate goal rather than that first reasonable step.
When you tell yourself "My problem is not being fat, my problem is finding a way to stay within X calories per day" you get our mind off that distant big goal and thinking of the here and now. It's a way to consciously trigger an uncoscious realignment of your mental focus.
How to implement it in practice
When you are trying to handle a problem area of your life, consciously reframe it in terms of choosing a better class of problem.
Say to yourself: "My problem is not bad grades, it's how to study X hours a day"
Say to yourself: "My problem is not being fat, it's how to eat X calories per day"
Say to yourself: "My problem is not being shy, it's how to handle being embarassed after talking to that girl"
Verbalize this thought, either with your inner voice or out loud. It will snap you out of aimlessly wondering about your 'big' problem and will get your mind on the practical steps at hand.
Consciously reframe your problems in terms not of solving them but of choosing a better class of problem in their stead to get your subconscious focused on practical solutions rather than aimless despair. If you don't know how to reframe your problem, post here in the comments or PM me and I'll help you do that.
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