Silver bullets and greener grass. How to stop falling for those shiny new objects
When we’ve committed to a path and we know what to do why do we fall off and get tempted to jump onto a new path? One simple cycle can explain the pattern and help us catch ourselves before we next feel like jumping off.
“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” — Robert Brault
It’s more common than we’d like it to be but it’s a fact.
Just when things start to get hard on our a new commitment we’re working on, just at the very precise moment that we’re at our shakiest, the temptation to exit our path is at its highest.
What do we do?
Quit & recreate or pause & readjust?
Again, trick question.
We stay the course and don’t fall for any invitations to get off track.
We must become masters of re-committing.
Reselling ourselves back to our original commitment and putting all other
ideas out of our minds.
Now don’t get it twisted, I understand and have been there. It’s way easier said than done to do the work, especially when we’re not in the best of mental states.
Maybe when the skies are cloudless and the rays of the sun are tempting us outside, or an enticing invitation from old friends has arrived in our inbox.
Whatever it is that is likely to lead you astray, there will be a million and one different alternative things that will now feel like better choices than what we’ve set out to do.
But let’s leave the obvious non-goal related distractions to one side for a moment, they are fairly easy to control and we’ll talk about that another day.
Even goal related things can be distracting if we buy into the headlines.
Things that promise to;
“Cut the learning curve”
“Slash your time in half”
“Increase your results by 10X”
“Learn from others’ mistakes”
Some of these claims are valid and the information is good. Sometimes.
But if it’s not these claims, it’ll be something else.
These are just a tiny sample of the endless promises we’ll see while we’re attempting to execute our plan and do our work.
Promises that try to seduce us to stop the work that we’re doing and start a new plan, disguised as getting us closer to our original goal.
It’s a trap.
Here’s the reality. The harsh reality.
There are truly no shiny silver bullets to help us, nor are there places where the grass is greener than where we already are.
“The grass is greenest where you water it.”
If you know what you need to do, (and you do because you did the ‘’goal setting to the now” exercise!) that’s honestly all you need to worry about.
Something ‘new’ or something ‘different’ will always seem the most tempting at our lowest point of motivation or perceived progress.
When we’re at our most pessimistic.
The grass only looks greener elsewhere because we’re in a state of ‘uninformed optimism’.
This is a common state we’ll regularly find ourselves in when we’re going through change.
In these moments, and they are just moments, the goal is to just get ourselves through that dark valley of despair.
Take a small break if need be, come back refreshed with a new perspective and new impetus but whatever you don’t change course.
Reduce your negative emotions and return to being logically minded. Staying in your lane is the name of the game.
Because here’s what would happen if we jumped ship and joined a new system or program to ‘help’ us do our work;
We’d start off with renewed enthusiasm and motivation, we’d get started a little and hit some momentum.
Then we’ll hit our first roadblock and we may not have the tools to get past it. Now all of a sudden we don’t feel the same way about the program as you originally did when we first started it.
Now with this roadblock, we procrastinate instead of work, the motivation dries up to continue and the image of us being a quitter, inconsistent and having weak will gets reinforced.
This is until a new shiny program makes itself known to us. And the cycle begins once again.
Listen. Don’t let this cycle happen.
If this is you now. Break out.
We all have the ability to take control and override our looping patterns and reinforce the actions that will take us where we need to go.
Recommit to your ONE thing.
Understand where you are emotionally in the process of change.
Stay calm, change your state and return back to what you know you must do.
Yes, it takes effort to say ‘no’, but like any new activity we ask the brain to repeat, it will get easier with time.
Saying ‘no’ is a learnable skill.
Use ‘no’ often so you can protect your one big ‘yes’.