The Shiny Object Syndrome

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With 2017 nearing its last quarter how many of you have completed your New Year Resolutions for this year or at least have come as far as half-way to completing them? How many of you even remember what goals were important enough a year ago to make it to your list? According to statistics, only 8 % of people do achieve their New Year Resolutions.

One thing that prevents many of us from sticking to our resolutions or other important goals in life is the syndrome we share, the Shiny Object Syndrome. For the record, having the Shiny Object Syndrome or SOS, doesn’t necessarily mean you are drawn to objects in your peripheral vision that look glossy, sparkling, glittery or too polished. Your SOS is kicking in when you lose focus on your goals because you constantly get swayed by new ideas that seem nice, or by what other people around you appear to be into. As the novelty of the new object wears off, so does your interest in it.

If it is any consolation, the vast majority of people, are prone to the Shiny Object Syndrome to some extent. Especially in this age of technology we stay “connected” 24/7 and have literally thousands of distractions at our fingertips, begging to be clicked on. Research shows that the higher the number of distractions available to us, the harder it is for our brain to stay focused on one task.

If you want to stay on track with your goals, the very first step is to acknowledge you have the problem. You know you may if you have a hard time bringing to completion important initiatives you start. It could be a fitness program, business idea, the knowledge area you want to educate yourself in, the skill you want to improve on. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things between you and this transmittable disease called SOS.

How to beat Shiny Object Syndrome: 

  1. Watch your behavior patterns. Do you constantly run into new ideas that seem equally attractive? Or the change of direction is more of a controlled effort resulting from strategic re-evaluation your priorities. (If the latter is true in your case, then it’s not SOS).
  2. Find the reason you are getting distracted. Why did your goal lose its original allure and importance in your eyes? Are you finding the implementation stage much more difficult than what you expected? Did you realize that you aren’t as good at it you thought you’d be? There is always a higher chance of dropping your goals when you run into challenges with their realization.
  3. Follow up with Action. As soon as you made the decision on where you stand with your priorities and goals – follow up with the action plan with the timeframes assigned to each action item. Your goal may seem too big or even unachievable but keep chipping away at it in order to get there.
  4. Persist – Be prepared that you won’t get great at your new skill right away. Speaking from first-hand experience – at times, even more often, it will feel as if you are not good at it and you are not getting the intended results. Doubt may creep into your mind – what if you are not cut out for this? Remember that even those who seem to have it all figured out, had to go through their own path filled with self-doubt and many challenges before they got successful.
  5. You don’t have to do it alone – I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of having a mentor. A good mentor will bring out the best in you, guide you through the process, serve as a sounding board for your ideas and do a lot more. As a bare minimum, get yourself an accountability partner – someone who will help you stay on track with your goals and demand to see evidence of steady progress no matter what.
  6. Sleep on it – despite all your efforts to stick to your goals, you may still come across a shiny object that keeps popping in your peripheral vision and looks tempting. In this case, resist the urge of jumping on it, and instead, choose to sleep on the idea. Revisit the subject after giving yourself enough time to evaluate how it will support or sabotage your current goals. We all have 24 hours in a day, and stretching yourself too thin will take away from the quality of your results.

We still have over three months before this year ends.  If you manage to keep all shiny objects at a distance – right where they belong, you still have time to revisit the goals you have set up earlier this year and take action.

Do you face any challenges with shiny objects or do you have strategies that help you keep your SOS at bay? Please share in the comments as others may benefit from hearing about them.

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. When I made my New Year Resolution I didn’t know that it will be that difficult to stick to it. Thank you for your tips, Natella. Hope they will help me to focus on my Goal.

  2. There are indeed plenty of “shiny objects” and tempting offers anywhere you look! I find that I do much better staying on track with my goals or resolutions when I have someone to keep me accountable. When “no one is looking” it could be a completely different story :).

  3. I used to fall into this shiny object syndrome for years. There was always something new when it came to fitness, nutrition, and professional growth that guaranteed results way quicker and with less effort than I knew was actually possible but it was so shiny and I couldn’t help but be drawn to it……What’s that saying?….”If it looks too good to be true….” Looking back, these fads where setting me up for failure before I even started and it’s no wonder why I would lose interest after the novelty wore off. Years ago I made a commitment to change my lifestyle. Rather than focus on fads that come and go with the promise of dramatic change, I focused on smaller, more gradual change over the long term. I learned the benefits of hard work and persistence as the best way for me to gain real results and avoid the dreaded SOS.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Jason! This is so true! Especially in the fitness and nutrition world there is always advertising going on for that next life changing program, the magic pill or the potion that you can take and be on your way to tremendous results without as much as a minimal real effort on your end to watch what you eat or how much you move. Same does apply to those get rich quick schemes.

      But I guess we know better that there is always effort and work involved if you want to get lasting results you can enjoy for the rest of your life. And the key words are the gradual changes, not something as dramatic as overnight success,

  4. It’s hard to find educated people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what
    you’re talking about! Thanks

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