BelieveDo (ch 21) – How to Handle Distractions

…adapted from Believe. Do. And Follow Through!

Chapter 21

Handling distractions when you’re trying to focus on a goal or when you’re making a positive change in your life can be a challenge, especially if you are easily sidetracked.

We’ve found that the best approach to handling distractions is to face them head-on – by doing what we call “self-inventory.”  Self-inventory starts with assessing the situation and follows with asking yourself a series of questions.

Identify the Distraction
The first thing to do is honestly identify the distraction:  Is it a thing?  A hobby?  A television show?  A person?  The Internet?  A bad habit?  An addiction?  Gossip?

Place a Value
Next, place a value on the distraction and the effect it is having on you or your situation.  Is it important to you?
If so, how important?  How much is the distraction worth (time-wise, financially, emotionally, etc)?

3 Big Questions
Then, ask yourself three big questions:

1. “Can this distraction help me reach my goal faster?”

2. “Will this distraction keep me from reaching my goal within the milestones I set when I planned my goals?”

…and the biggest question…
3. “Will this distraction ultimately keep me from reaching my goal?”

The answers you discover will reveal a lot.  When you answer all your questions, you should a have a pretty good idea of what to do about the distraction.

There are all types of distractions: things, people, worries, good intentions, regrets, anger, or even the pursuit of perfection.  Two of the biggest ones can be material things and family issues.

Material Things
You can have fun with some really cool stuff in life, but when you use them to hide behind, you’re no longer pursuing your goals – you’re wasting time.  Unless the gadgets and doodads you’re messing with are directly helping you achieve your goals, they’re distractions and time-stealers.

Somebody once said that the more stuff you have, the more time and money it takes to maintain it.  Some people even try to fill voids in their lives with material things, instead of developing healthy relationships.

Family Issues
Family issues can be a distraction.  We’re not saying you need to ignore your family to reach your goals – far from it!  But you have to find a balance and decide how your family situation is going to impact you in reaching your goals.

This is a very tough topic to address, but so many people hide behind family obligations as a reason for not reaching their goals.  To reach your goals or make positive changes in your life, you have to find a balance that addresses your family needs and concerns, while pursuing goals that they will also benefit from.
Distractions are always going to come and go.  The key is how you handle them.  Are you going to let them turn into excuses?  Will you be honest with your self-inventory and deal with the distractions appropriately?

As a Test
Distractions can also be used in a positive manner to test your plans for achieving your goals.  People may simply be trying to see how serious you are about reaching your goals.  If you bragged about goals in the past but did little to achieve them, then your spouse, kids, friends, or co-workers may be trying to see if you really are going to “rock the world” this time.  Inside, they truly do want you to succeed, because every time you do, you raise the level of life around you.

Lastly, no plan ever makes it through without getting modified in some way.  That’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to reaching goals and making positive changes in your life.  So, what to do?  Let it be modified; be flexible; and keep going!

Face distractions head-on!


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