Don’t get distracted by the shiny object

I don’t know many people who don’t have goals or aspirations but almost everyone I know feels the tension of not accomplishing what they’d like.

Some people struggle to find their passions but it seems many more have an idea in mind  yet keep getting pulled away by distractions, procrastination and just life itself.

Why is that?

A blog post by Jennifer Louden titled “Why a raw camel milk martini isn’t what you want” addresses our willingness to get pulled from what we know we should be doing.

martini.pngYes, my time-tested observation is that we fall for the new bright, shiny solution, even when it comes in the form of a raw camel milk martini, just when we are actually making real progress on something we care deeply about.

In fact, the more we care, the easier it is to get tricked.

When you are actually making good progress on the memoir? That’s when you decide you must start a short story. When you are opening to deeper layers of radiance in your meditation practice? That’s when you suddenly decide meditation is boring but tai chi? Now that’s the ticket. When you’ve found a way of declaring what is enough for you day-by-day and you’re basking in being? That’s when you read the article about what all super successful people do and bam! you are back to cramming your life with way, way too much stuff that doesn’t matter to you.

It’s tricky in this world of life hacks and instant success gurus to stay in contact with the essential truth of being human: we change slowly and we change instantly. Both are true!

So it’s important to name your goals but it’s also important to stay focused on doing the step-by-step work to achieve those goals, without letting the chatter of your inner critic tell you you’re a failure because you aren’t there yet.

You don’t get off the couch and run a marathon. First you buy running shoes and work up to a 5k. You aren’t failing when you don’t run 26.2 miles right away. It takes time and you need to keep at it long enough to reach that goal.

It’s sometimes frustrating to see the distance between where you are and where you want to be. That’s part of why I love making a detailed project plan so I can see that I’m chipping away. Yes, the end goal is still some distance away but I can see that I’ve lost 10 pounds or I’ve booked the room for my next workshop, so I can see that I’m closing in on what I want.

How do you keep yourself focused on the work of achieving your goals?



Categories: creativity, lifestyle

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. It’s taken me decades to figure this out (and it’s a gross exaggeration to say I have it figured out), but I’ve found that I accomplish much more by narrowing my focus to just a few things. It was so hard to do this at first — I always have so many projects in mind, so many shiny objects in my peripheral vision — but I try to pick just a few to concentrate on each month or each week. Then, if I’m really being disciplined about it, I pare down the list even more. On a weekly basis, it helps to plot things out on the calendar — not just appointments and necessities like bill paying, but also creative projects — so I can see at a glance whether I’m trying to fit too much in. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing this all sounds really obsessive, so I should point out that my lists and calendar are only guidelines. I leave myself the option of changing everything around if I wish, but I try to always keep in mind what I’m really trying to accomplish.

  2. Enjoy your blog post, Colleen. Not getting distracted is definitely a challenge for me.

    Jenny Lynn Stewart

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