Whenever we have the opportunity to experience or do something new, it can be very exciting… initially. Having variety is one of the great joys in life. The energy, sense of anticipation and being able to explore new opportunities are signs that there is something to look forward to.
While the opportunity to learn or try new things is highly desirable, it can also be a major distraction. When we have too many distractions, it causes us to dilute our focus, lose momentum, not keep our commitments and agreements, and even give up on projects or goals we had set.
Rather than staying on course and completing what we currently have going on, being attracted to these new “shiny objects” can lead to failure, frustration and overwhelm.
Being able to stay focused on one thing at a time is one of the secrets of success. I once heard the word FOCUS described as Follow One Course Until Successful. Being able to recognise when we are falling for the new shiny object syndrome is the first step in turning it around.
I recently decided to create a “Self Learning Tracker” where I listed down everything I was learning or wanted to learn from like books to read, online courses to complete, audio programs to listen to, and videos I wanted to watch. Before doing this exercise, I kinda new that I had a few courses and programs that I needed to complete. But to my utter surprise, I had over 50 things on my list! And these weren’t short courses or programs. Some of them will require many, many hours to complete.
Needless to say, I wasn’t completing the courses or programs in a timely manner, which was causing me to get frustrated with myself for taking on too much at once. Something needed to change.
After becoming aware that I had to do something, here are some steps I have taken that you may also be able to apply to avoid falling for the new shiny object syndrome.
- Say, “No more!” Until I have completed most of the programs on my current list, I have decided not to begin any new courses or programs. Unless there is an exceptional case, where a new course or program will bring me a huge benefit, I will not be enrolling in anything new. Sometimes, all it takes is to have some breathing room and by saying, “No more!”, I am giving myself that breathing room.
- Do one at a time. This is really obvious because studies of highly effective and highly productive people will show that for the most part, they only work on one thing at a time. Being laser focused on one thing will generate momentum and facilitate the process of reaching completion a lot quicker. For me, I am currently working my way through a course about product launches as I know it will be the most beneficial for me over the long term.
- Know your “why.” Before agreeing to take on anything new, being clear on why it should be done is very important. What are the benefits? Also, being clear on the impact any new decisions and commitments will have on current commitments should be a factor to consider. In order to enrol in new courses or online programs, the course has to provide a solution to a problem or challenge I am currently facing in my business. That is my why!
Staying on course and maintaining the focus needed to complete projects and achieve goals can be really challenging with so many new shiny objects screaming for our attention. It takes commitment and discipline. By applying these steps and resisting the temptation to start something new when it is not necessary, you will develop the habit of completing what you start and ultimately feel good about what you accomplish over time. I will also heed this advice.
Question: What else can be a way to avoid falling for the new shiny object syndrome?
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