Do you remember those days when we were kids, when the latest toy or gadget captured your attention so much that you couldn’t think of anything else? 

Then, as soon as you got it, the better and newer version came out—and suddenly the one you had was old news? Suddenly, you were on a quest to get the new one, even though the one you had was working perfectly fine.

What happens when that impulse follows us into adulthood and our businesses? 

Welcome to the world of shiny object syndrome.

What is Shiny Object Syndrome?

In today’s ever-changing world where it seems that the next best thing happens every other second, it’s easy to fall into the shiny object syndrome and find yourself in constant pursuit of the next big thing, jumping from one idea to another without ever fully committing or seeing things through to the end. This often leads to scattered focus, wasted time, and lackluster results, which can be detrimental to both personal and professional growth, not to mention the mental strain of constantly chasing after the next shiny object can lead to burnout and exhaustion.

Mastering the art of focus and learning to avoid the temptations of shiny object syndrome is crucial in achieving your goals. 

I found myself caught in this cycle when I committed to growing my social media. It has been a labor of love, and despite months of dedicated effort, I couldn’t help but compare my progress to others, constantly questioning my approach and chasing after the next shiny tactic. It took my focus off what was working for me, as I started chasing what others were doing. This constant cycle of distraction was wreaking havoc on my focus and my business. 

The constant distractions and temptations were keeping me from staying focused on the goals and priorities I set for myself. I no longer felt in control of what I was doing and I knew that was a recipe for disaster and a lot of stress—not to mention it was derailing any progress I made. 

Here are five things that helped me stop constantly searching for something better and instead focus on staying on track to reach my goals with control and order.

Define Priorities

What are your long-term goals, and how can you make sure you’re focusing on the right things to achieve them? 

It’s important to take the time to figure out what truly matters to you and to pursue activities that bring you joy and fulfillment while actively working towards your goals. This will help you avoid the temptation of jumping ship to start something else without first determining whether it aligns with your objectives. 

Practice Mindfulness

The saying goes “mind over matter.” Making a conscious effort to stay in control of your mind will help you become more aware of your thoughts and impulses. When you notice yourself being drawn to a shiny object, stop and take a moment to breathe. Then, assess whether it’s something that is productive and worth pursuing or if it’s just a distraction that needs to be squashed.  

Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries around your time and energy. Time blocking is a great way to do this. This gives you time for each task in your day, helping ensure you stay focused on that task, complete it and check it off your list. 

One more tip: As hard as it is, saying “No” to opportunities that don’t align with your goals will protect your focus and energy for what truly matters to you. 

Stay Committed

Once you’ve decided that you are committed to a goal, keep your eyes on the prize and see it through to completion. Visualization can do wonders, so if you find yourself getting distracted, pause for a moment and remind yourself of your long-term goals by closing your eyes and picturing them in your head. Write down your goals and keep them in front of your face so you see them as you’re working. This will help you stay disciplined and keep moving forward even when you don’t feel like it. 

Practice Gratitude

This is a big one for me. It is so easy to have a pity party for yourself, thinking about what you don’t have. But this can have such a negative impact on your mind and could make you feel like your efforts are futile. Taking the time to express gratitude for what you have and celebrating your accomplishments (no matter how big or small), will help you stay the course, encourage your progress, and help you avoid chasing something new in pursuit of new satisfaction. 

There’s nothing wrong with having new ideas and wanting to try new things. The key is to pick what you want to focus on and stay committed for a set period of time to determine if it’s working or not. 

As with anything, you won’t see results without really devoting time and giving it a chance to work. Whether it’s 30, 60, or 90 days, commit to it and don’t start anything new in that time frame. Once that time period is up, re-evaluate. If it’s working, you know to keep going. If it’s not, then you can let it go and see what changes need to be made to continue making progress.