Do You Have Shiny New Object Syndrome?

First posted on Medium at https://medium.com/@trish_39797/do-you-have-shiny-new-object-syndrome-b783c38281f8

Shiny Objects

I’ve just finished reading Shaunta Grimes medium post titled “Three Ways to Combat Shiny New Things Syndrome – Because You Actually Do Need to Finish What You Start”.

This really gels with me because I, too am a good starter of new things but not a very good finisher and can sometimes get stuck early in Act II, which is pretty pathetic when you think about it. The only positive I can console myself with is that I find new ideas that have huge potential easily & often, I just need to learn how to pick one, set a goal for that one and stick with it till I reach that goal. Perhaps then that “thing” can become part-time or secondary while I explore a new shiny object. Rinse & repeat, as they say.

And even though Shaunta is a writer and her shiny new things were probably new subjects to write about, her strategies apply equally to anybody whose shining new things could be jobs or hobbies, sports or self-development courses, anything at all that they like to do or learn about. For me it’s usually some new software for graphics & animation or some new plan for making money.

The Cost of Shiny New Things/Objects Syndrome

Chasing shiny new things can be expensive for three reasons. Firstly, because if you only just start out all the time and never finish, you never get to the stage of getting any return on your investment, only the expenses.

The second cost is time and I believe it is an even higher cost than wasting money by not finishing things. You can always get more money somehow, but no-one can buy time. 24 hours a day for however long we live is what we all get equally and it’s all we can ever have. Lost time cannot ever be replaced & that makes time the most precious resource any of us have in life.

The third cost is lack of self-worth. You look on yourself as a failure and let’s be honest, you are a failure with regard to not reaching your goals, but it tends to take over your thoughts about yourself and you can start to think of yourself as a failure overall, just like a boy whose autocratic father, on receiving his son’s report card with 3 A’s & 2 B’s but one D in the father’s field of expertise, then calling his son a dunce and a failure.

Looking Back

Photo by Riccardo Mion on Unsplash

Having reached my 70’s, I look back and can say that I’ve had a very interesting life with highlights like offshore sailing, flying a light plane for several years, jumping out of one at 10,000 feet, with a parachute of course since I’m alive and writing this!

But what I haven’t got is financial security in my senior years for various reasons, some not under my direct control, but nevertheless, the decisions I’ve made in the past have created the situation I’m now in.

Looking back, it’s easy to see where I didn’t spend money wisely, didn’t finish some of the training paid for and started but not finished; wasted time learning things that would have more efficiently been outsourced to someone already experienced in that field (but it was interesting learning these new things!).

Being Disciplined

Being brutally honest with myself, I lacked self-discipline for many of my years and still do to a lesser extent. The strategies I use now are a lot like those in Shaunta’s article and I list them here as it may be a useful guide to others in their quest to defeat the “Shiny”syndrome.

1. Expectations?—?set some for each day. Whatever your current project is, make a commitment to move forward in some measurable way. I like to write down a list either at night or first thing in the morning of what I want to achieve each day. My daily commitments go on that list as well as meetings & reminders so I don’t forget them.

2. Start each day with a positive mindset and when I say start, I mean before you get out of bed make a conscious decision to have a good day. Perhaps you don’t believe it, but your attitude to everything that happens to you is your choice. Things that happen are often not your choice, but how you think about them is. Waking up and saying to yourself “It’s Monday. I hate my work” is not going to result in the happiest or most productive day.

Shaunta says not to let your inner critic take over. For me this means that if I start feeling like I’m a failure, I take my mind on a brief journey remembering my successes and things I’m good at. We’re all good at something, so find yours. They don’t need to be huge, even something simple like being friendly and making people smile can have a more positive effect than you’ll ever know.

3. Be accountable to someone.

You’ll probably hate this idea; I always resisted and have only recently agreed to do this with someone I know well, but I believe it will help me to stop getting side-tracked by some of my interests. We can still have interests, so long as we keep doing our current project for the committed time each day.

4. Write down the Shiny New Things that come to you.

Even though you’re not going to follow them immediately, keep a record of your ideas because you might need them later, or some of them anyway. Knowing you have them stored safely for the future lets you free your mind to focus on your current project.

I’m not saying I’ve totally overcome my desire to keep trying new things straight away, because I haven’t, but I’m better at focusing on the task at hand now and since time is running out, it’s really now or never for me.

Sleep and Aging: Guide for Seniors

Understand common sleep problems seniors face and how to treat them

sleep and aging

There’s a common misconception that your sleep matters less as you age, but in fact, the inverse is true. No matter where you lie on the age spectrum you should be conscious of improving your sleeping habits for your holistic health.

For older adults, this is especially true. Your sleeping habits will naturally change as you age, so it’s important that you remain aware of those shifts and understand the best ways to protect your sleep quality.

Seniors may experience changes in becoming more sleepy during the day, being ready for bed earlier in the evenings, waking up earlier, or having trouble achieving deep sleep. Although these changes can be normal, suffering from disturbed sleeping patterns or other symptoms of insomnia are issues that should not be dismissed as a side effect of aging.

Read the full article here: https://www.mattressadvisor.com/sleep-and-aging/

The Value of a Smile

Smiling is awesome.

It can make us feel better, happier and more positive almost instantaneously. When we’re feeling down, even a forced smile in the mirror can lift our mood and help us feel more optimistic about life, even when we face challenges.

Most of us will smile when we make eye contact with someone smiling and know that if we smile at someone, even a stranger, very often they will smile back.

Why is that?

Charles Darwin, in his 1872 publication “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” was one of the first to propose that “the free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it.”

From research since that time, we have the facial feedback hypothesis which states that “facial movement can influence experience”. In other words, our facial expressions contribute to how we feel.

When we smile and flex the zygomatic major muscle (the one that raises the corners of the mouth when a person smiles) our brain thinks, “I must be happy.”

So, if your mood is neutral or worse, the facial feedback hypothesis says it will improve by simply smiling.

 

People who smile appear more likeable according to researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in 2011. Subjects were asked to rate smiling and attractiveness and both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled than those who did not.

Smilers tend to be more productive at work and make more money (for example, waitresses know they’ll receive better tips when they smile at their customers or even draw smiley faces on the bill!)

 

Other Benefits of Smiling

Smiling releases the feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin  that provide numerous health benefits, including:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased endurance
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced stress
  • Strengthened immune system

In a tense setting, smiling not only decreases your stress levels, it makes you more relaxed, allowing you to better collect your thoughts and make more informed decisions.It can also make you seem more trustworthy and competent and because smiling is contagious, when you smile others will likely smile too, making them more relaxed as well.

So smile more often, at yourself and at others. You can never know what is happening in other people’s lives, but some people feel very lonely and isolated so just smiling can make a huge difference in their day.

Be aware, however, that not everyone is capable of responding. Studies have shown that facial feedback appears to be processed differently by individuals in the autism spectrum. Anyone suffering facial paralysis does not have the ability to smile and unfortunately statistics show that these people suffer more from depression than the general populations.

So if you smile at someone and they don’t respond, don’t make judgements or be discouraged, keep smiling as you will always benefit yourself.

No smile is ever wasted.

How often do you think about your thoughts?

Everything we are, arises with our thoughts. Buddha is believed to have said this thousands of years ago, but it is not original, the concept is also found in the Bible, in Hindu sacred literature and is fundamental to most of the world’s religions.

The problem for most of us is that thoughts just come into our head without us doing anything to put them there in much the same way that our heart beats without us having to think about it. These are often referred to as automatic thoughts and a lot of the time they are negative, even though we don’t realise it, and we are thinking and worrying about things in the past or in the future, stressing out over things we have no control over and that may be highly unlikely to ever happen anyway. Sometimes, these thoughts in our mind seem to be going around and around to such an extent that we feel overwhelmed because we don’t know how to turn them off.

So, the important question really is “can we control our thoughts and focus only on the thoughts that we believe are important to us and let all the others go by?

The good news is that we can. William James, one of the founders of the philosophical school of pragmatism, said The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

Of course, although we have the ability to choose which thoughts to focus on, we have to train our mind to filter out probably 99% of our thoughts as they are not useful.

Thinking

Learning to Train Your Mind

A good way to start is to practice what has become known as mindfulness, the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment?—?and accepting it without judgement. Scientific studies of mindfulness have found it to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioural therapy, which makes makes good sense, since meditation and this therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, dysfunctional, and self-defeating thoughts.

There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, and a web search will bring up many options such as joining a yoga group or daily meditation. But if you want to get started on your own, here’s the method I learned about 15 years ago and it has worked well for me.

Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet place and relax your body

Woman Resting

Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.

 

Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus and become aware of sounds, sensations and the thoughts passing through your mind

Accept each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race or to wander, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

Once you learn to focus your thoughts this way, you can change negative thoughts to positive ones.

Perhaps you dread going to the dentist yet have an appointment coming up and your thought is “I have to go to the dentist”. Consider this thought and realise that when we say we “have to” do something we are dis-empowering ourselves, making ourselves the victim of what we must do. Experiment with using a different word, such as “I plan to go to the dentist” and repeat this new sentence a few times and see if you feel a subtle difference in your mind and body. Now, make another change to your sentences such as, “I choose to go to the dentist” and notice the difference you feel. Once again, change your sentence to something really positive like, “I really appreciate the benefits of going to the dentist and getting my teeth fixed up” and realise that it is true, you really do feel better after your dentist has finished working on your teeth.

Now that you understand the process, use it on other limiting thoughts you have, such as:

I don’t like meeting new people
I’m terrified of having to speak in public
I’ll never lose weight
I hate my job

You Are In Control

You Are In control of Your Life

With time and practice your thoughts will become more positive and more empowering. Unconscious thoughts will still occur naturally but it’s up to you to monitor them and control the quality of your thinking.

You are the master of your thoughts and the creator of your life. You are always in control even if you make poor choices!

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking”. ? William James

Control your thoughts and everything will be under your control.” ? Debasish Mridha

Two Small Sentences that Eased My Trepidation

When you need Encouragement

Trepidation-Uncertainty

 

I’ve just read Alex Mathers article “What I learned writing thirty self-development articles in thirty days”, and as a newbie on Medium with the goal of writing every day, I was encouraged by what he had to say.

 

Two sentences stood out for me; the first was:

Being OK

 

“We must be OK with the idea that some of our work will be ignored or disliked.”

This was timely advice for me because I’d been spending so much time on each article that it was turning into a real drag, instead of something I’d hoped to enjoy and be stimulated by. You’d think, being in my senior years now, that I’d have understood this concept pretty well by now and I do, in other areas of my life, but this is the first time I’ve really put my writing “out there” and so there’s this tendency to be self-conscious and want perfection (never achieved of course) but still aimed at.

Alex’s other sentence that jumped out at me was:

Show Up

Showing up will show the world you mean business, but it?—?more importantly?—?will show yourself what you are capable of.”

Now that was just what I wanted to hear; it doesn’t matter if anyone reads my stuff or not, I’m writing for myself and to see what happens. Self-growth of some kind must occur!