How To Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and Stay Focused

The goals you set for the new year? Here's how to stay focused and achieve them.
How To Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome and Stay Focused
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This story originally appeared on Calendar

Another year has started and you’re probably excited and geared up to go after all your goals. But then all the noise starts. You see someone’s post on social media. You come across a billboard when you’re driving. Someone in your mastermind group shared a new strategy they’re trying out and you become instantly intrigued.

Shiny object syndrome starts to sink in fast. Before you know it, you’re shifting your focus and priorities to focus on another task or project without fulling going through with your original idea.

Signs you may have shiny object syndrome

  • You can’t focus on just one idea or project at a time
  • You get excited about new ideas but don’t ever see them all the way through because you’re too busy jumping from one goal to the next
  • You’re constantly setting up new domain names and websites, and buying new courses that you don’t complete
  • You find yourself saying yes to every opportunity

This is a common occurrence among many entrepreneurs. We want to be everything and do it all which is not possible by the way. Still, it’s a common struggle you’ll want to overcome this year. If you want to know how to avoid shiny object syndrome so you can focus on your specific goals and priorities first, here are some tips that can help you throughout each workday.

Related: 5 Ways to Stay Focused in a Distracted World

Limit your goals

One of the best ways to avoid shiny object syndrome is to limit your goals. This may sound like a bad thing, but there is such a thing as having too many goals. Having too many goals means you have to split your focus in many different directions. Ultimately, you run the risk of overworking yourself and burning out or just getting distracted by the next goal.

Take some time to narrow down what you truly want to accomplish and set some clear deadlines. When you give yourself 1-3 core goals instead of 10, you allow yourself to really focus on giving your 100% to those few goals and not moving onto something else until you complete them.

Sure, shiny object syndrome may become a temptation but if a new idea or project doesn’t align with the few goals you set, you can talk yourself out of straying from the path you set out.

Give it some deep thought

Don’t be so quick to give into shiny object syndrome. When you jump too soon, you may find out everything that glitters isn’t gold. I’ve gotten many ideas from people before and have even heard different success stories and felt like I wanted to pursue the same path.

Last year, I jumped the gun and bought two new websites without thoroughly doing my research and giving this major decision some deep thought. After a few months, I realized that I bit off more than I could chew and had yet again fallen for shiny object syndrome.

Related: 40 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused

Moving forward, I’ve learned to slow down before making any hasty decisions and really think about how a particular idea would affect my time, my business, and align with my end goal.

Reward yourself for finishing a project

If you want to avoid shiny object syndrome, be sure to find a way to resist distractions. Shiny object syndrome is basically an intense distraction that causes you to feel like you need to make a big and hasty decision.

Instead, you need to stay on the path that you’ve decided in order to get the results you want. One clever way to avoid distractions is by rewarding yourself for finishing a project.

For example, maybe you want to take a vacation somewhere this year but need to finish up a major project in your business. Tell yourself that you can start researching and planning for the trip once you finish the project. This really works.

Related: 18 Proven Ways to Stay Focused That Increase Productivity

Your reward doesn’t have to be something as huge as a vacation either. Just choose something that will motivate you to stay focused on the task at hand. Plus, once you finish the task or meet your goal, you’ll definitely be in the mood for a reward and you’ll feel like you deserve it too.

Take time away from social media

Let’s face it. Social media can be a huge distraction when you’re trying to stay focused on one thing. There are times when you may see something on social media and get an idea. Or you may start to compare yourself to other people and try to emulate their success.

Consider taking multiple breaks from social media in order to gain clarity in certain areas of your life and business. Realize that you can’t focus on your own agenda when you’re focusing on what other people are doing and letting it sidetrack you.

Get some accountability

Being able to avoid shiny object syndrome can be challenging on your own. Take responsibility by doing your part to avoid distractions but also consider adding in some accountability to help you stay focused. This may mean meeting with a mastermind group or accountability partner to share your goals and provide updates on your progress.

If you fall off track or start giving in to shiny object syndrome, these people can call you out and remind you what your ultimate goal and focus is.

Stay focused

Once you are able to differentiate a shiny object from an actual legitimate opportunity, you’ll have a much better time staying focused on the task at hand. Train yourself to stick with a project from start to finish before moving on to the next thing and be careful about how you receive influences from others.

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