I think I have shiny object syndrome. I love giving myself health and fitness challenges to try, but the problem is that I get distracted and as soon as a shiny new challenge is introduced to my brain, my focus shifts.
To be honest, shiny objects that distract me don’t just come in the form of new challenges I want to try. Shiny objects can be new diets, relationships, business ideas, online courses, etc. I often start doing a course only to get distracted by a shiny new course halfway through. Sometimes, I finish the first course while daydreaming about doing the shiny new one. And sometimes, I abandon the course I’m busy with completely in pursuit of the new.
Maybe shiny object syndrome is a form of ADHD… I don’t know. All I know is that I think I have it.
What is Shiny Object Syndrome?
Shiny object syndrome is when your attention is focused on something new, exciting, and maybe even trendy, but then when something new comes along, you lose interest in the original thing you were focused on and shift to the shiny new exciting thing.
I’m not the only one who suffers from shiny object syndrome.
Some people struggle to stay in relationships because they keep getting distracted by shiny new people and then move on. If you are moving from partner to partner, you could have shiny object syndrome.
Do you always need the latest gadgets and lose interest as soon as the latest technology comes out? You may have shiny object syndrome.
Do you keep jumping from business idea to business idea? You may have shiny object syndrome.
How Do You Get Rid of Shiny Object Syndrome?
So, what should you do if you have shiny object syndrome?
Wait Before You Act
If you get distracted by a shiny new object and want to act on it and chase the shiny thing immediately, don’t. Wait and give it time. Think it through. I love the idea of giving your ideas some time to develop before acting on them.
I’ve started so many projects and started pursuing so many goals that I decided to go for in the moment, but then as soon as I started doing it and some time passed, I realised that I didn’t really want to do it and I just made an impulsive commitment. And there I am, stuck with the guilt of wanting to quit something I said I would do.
That’s why I’m trying to train myself to wait before I act. I don’t always get it right and I still set goals for myself impulsively, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to and I’m able to easily let things go once I realise I only committed to them impulsively.
I don’t feel like I need to be responsible for what my past self did when her monkey mind and impulses took over.
Return to What’s Important
Shiny object syndrome is not something you will likely overcome in a day or two. It will take time. Chances are that you will get distracted by shiny new objects and abandon what you are currently focused on for the new. The good news is that once you realise you’ve chased a shiny new object and should probably go back to your original focus, you can.
You can abandon the shiny new object as quickly as you got distracted by it.
Give Yourself Some Rules
Set rules in place to help you, such as:
You can only try a new diet or fitness programme once you’ve finished the one you’re currently on.
You can only buy a new tech gadget every 6 months or year.
You can only start a new fitness challenge or diet once you’ve completed the one you’re on.
You won’t buy or chase something just because it is currently trending or new. Just because it is new, it doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with something better than before.
I’m a firm believer that being more disciplined will help you get freedom in life – freedom from things like shiny object syndrome. If you don’t believe me, check out the book “Discipline Equals Freedom” by Jocko Willink.
Do Your Research
To see if a shiny object is worth chasing, do some research before you decide to go for it. While doing your research, you might discover information about the shiny object that makes you even more excited to pursue it or you might find that it wasn’t as exciting or shiny as it seemed when it first came to your attention.
But don’t just spend 10 minutes on Google after you had the idea. Wait until the next day when you’ve “sobered up” and even spend a few days doing research.
Shiny object syndrome does not have to be a lifelong condition. You can beat it, but it is going to take time, dedication, and a lot of self-compassion.