Too many people have dreams, and even set goals, but don’t achieve what they are capable of. There are as many reasons for getting off track as there are people who do so, but one of the main reasons I have observed in my consulting and hypnotherapy practices is the need to chase those shiny things! “Chasing shiny things” is a fancy term for becoming easily distracted and, instead of focusing on a task at hand, becoming more interested in that over there, or that over there, or even that over there…
People who do this often are very smart multi-taskers. They get easily bored. They are able to do many things at once. They are quite capable of doing more than an “average” person might do in a single day. It’s a strength, and a curse. When taken to the extreme, these folks can have a hard time focusing on anything, because they are always thinking about what’s next.
It’s hard to find peace with this type of style. There is a physical and emotional “movement” that accompanies the need to look for the next excitement. If nothing exciting is happening, these people can get easily bored and even depressed.
What are the secrets to managing this style to achieve the best aspects – the ability to manage many things, to switch from one thing to another with ease, and to stay energetic and move on from disappointments? Here are 5 keys to ceasing the chase:
(1) Write down goals. Don’t just have one goal, have 3-5 things that are meaningful to you, but be sure to write them all down and be clear about what success looks like. Take the time to picture the goals, set timeframes and write specifics about what you want to do. Keep these goals in front of you at all times.
(2) Alongside your goals, keep a note that says, “Is this a priority for me right now?” When you feel yourself getting off track, go back to your goals and be sure you are staying focused on the right things.
(3) Force yourself, at least once a day, to do something that takes patience: find a route you don’t know, learn a new skill, read a few pages in a book, spend time investigating something meaningful. Hone the skills of patience and focus a little bit each day.
(4) Practice active and reflective listening. The quick mind that comes along with the need to chase shiny things is often accompanied by poor listening skills. It takes energy and commitment to focus on another person and really understand what they are saying. Force yourself to push distracting thoughts out of your mind, try not to end others’ sentences, and instead of probing, reflect and really listen.
(5) Check in a few times a day. Choose to stop. Choose to slow down. Deliberately walk more slowly. Speak more slowly. Stop racing and catch yourself. You probably don’t need to rush, and doing so creates even more sense of urgency and more rushing.
The key is to manage those aspects that serve you, and work around those aspects that get you off the track and create distraction.