Shiny Object Syndrome
Regardless of how smart, ambitious or disciplined you consider yourself to be - if you fall victim to shiny object syndrome you'll struggle to achieve the outcome you desire (or any outcome for tht matter!) in your projects and goals.
Shiny object syndrome is the constant change in ideas, goals and projects - almost like AD/HD you're never able to establish focus or attention on a single task or goal for long enough to complete it.
You start things but you never finish them because you start more things.
You think you've found a game changer, then you fall victim to shiny object syndrome once again and change.
I've fallen victim to SOS myself multiple times, wasting time and expending effort while chopping and changing from one task to the next, at the end of the day I had nothing to show for it.
Do You Suffer From Shiny Object Syndrome?
"SJ, is this post even relevant to me? I don't run a business" - Reader
Shiny object syndrome is relevant to all disciplines, whether you're an entrepreneur, an employee, a casual gym-goer or a parent....
Here's a few prime examples of shiny object syndrome in action:
Starting Multiple Websites
Wanting to start a blog or dropshipping store, setting one up and then before producing any significant content or becoming well established changing niches and topics again and again, resulting in a handful of half started, half finished websites is a clear sign of shiny object syndrome.
Changing Workout Routines Every Month
It takes several months to gauge progress from a workout routine, in terms of both size and strength.
Constantly browsing the internet and fitness magazines to find a 'better' workout routine every couple of weeks is a sure-fire way to see no progress and submit to shiny object syndrome.
Changing Diets Before Seeing Results
As above, results in terms of gaining mass and burning fat take time, constant diet changes without allowing time to gauge results is a classic case of SOS.
Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome (Here's What To Do)
Understanding shiny object syndrome is paramount, if you've accepted that you've got it it's that much easier to overcome.
Overcoming shiny object syndrome isn't rocket science, it's merely a case of identification and will to forge your path forward with your original plan.
Below are the steps I personally use when I find myself falling victim to SOS.
Choose A Task That Falls Inline With Your Goals
Ensuring what you're doing in the first place aligns with your goals is essential, for example if your goal is to stack on 20lbs of muscle mass you're not going to benefit from following the workout regime of a marathon runner - the task you're about to perform must provide or assist in building your desired end-state.
If your goal is to stack on 20lbs of muscle then your task may be to follow a 3 day split workout regime for 6 months, this is sufficient time to make solid progress towards your goal (and this style of routine is aligned with your goal) so shiny object syndrome should not come into play because you've set yourself up on the right path from day 1.
When Doubt Creeps In It's Time To Review
It's inevitable, at some stage on your journey another option will appear, be it something you read or hear - another workout regime, another diet, another business idea.
The shiny object!
This is when it's time to review.
Look at the task you're performing, look at the progress you've made.
Are you making progress?
If so it's time to remain rigid and keep pushing - if there's no reason to pivot (e.g. you're not seeing any results at all after months of following your workout regime or diet) then you're not going to pivot.
Change should only be implemented when necessary, be it adding more calories when you're not gaining weight or prioritizing a muscle group in your workout regime because it's lagging behind.
Endure The Dip (This Is Where Most People Quit!)
You're between the half way and three quarter mark on your endeavour.
It's getting hard, progress is slow and frankly you're not sure if it's worth it anymore.
You want to throw in the towel, you think you've found a better method, an easier, more efficient way of doing things.
You debate changing time and time again.
This is normal.
This is the stage when most people will quit.
It's the stage that Seth Godin refers to as 'the dip'.
Expended effort is high while progress appears low.
Keep pushing, regardless of whether the dip lasts a week or a month, you're a lot closer to the finish line than you realize.
Tick Off The Project And THEN Move On
Once it's sealed signed and delivered it's time to look at your options.
It's time to start from the beginning, once again ensure what you're doing aligns with your goals.
You must have a strong WHY to ensure you don't fall victim to shiny object syndrome when you reach that proverbial dip.