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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.