How to Stay Committed and Avoid Getting Swayed By Random Ideas

The shiny new idea. You know you aren’t ready to work on it yet. You know you should finish what you are doing. But now, it’s the only thing you can think of. You have lost all the motivation for your current goal.

Is this scenario familiar to you? If you are anything like me, you’ll go chase the new idea. Or try to work on both at once.

Unfortunately, it never works. You never finish what you started earlier. You don’t even make significant progress on the newer goal. You are stranded, you lose focus, you end up doing nothing.

Of course, the solution to all this is to stay focused. To have tight priorities and never do something new until you are done with your present goal.

But as a creative person, you’ll understand that it isn’t as simple as that. Sometimes, your old goal is getting nowhere. You need to refresh your mind by trying something new. Who knows, maybe your old goal really isn’t worth pursuing further, and you’re better off forgetting it.

On the other hand, it’s more than likely that the new idea is a distraction. It is resistance showing up, preventing you from working when you should keep going. Your excuse for procrastinating when things get a little rough.

This isn’t limited to creativity either. I face this dilemma while doing everything from trying to build multiple habits to learning new skills.

So what’s the solution here? Should you keep going the way you were or go ahead and try something new? How can you stay committed to your goal, while also preventing losing out on a potentially great idea?

How to Find A Balance:

I have found that one way to keep it balanced is: setting a time limit for your existing priority. This limit can be as short as a week or as long as a month, depending on what you’re doing.

As for your new idea, don’t worry about it going stale or you never having any chance to try it out. Write it down or schedule it for later. That way, you are never missing out on anything. You just have to refer your list to know what to do next.

Also, if your idea was just a temporary obsession, it will lose steam by the time you go for it, and you’ll know that it wasn’t worth it. Even better, you wouldn’t have wasted time doing something that won’t last.

As a personal example, I had several different plans about what to do with my new blog. I would be in the thick of things, making plans, but suddenly I’d get excited about something else entirely. I’d begin brainstorming new blog topics or strategies out of the blue.

Earlier, I’d go with whatever I felt like doing momentarily. That often meant that I stopped whatever I was doing altogether. Also, my new idea would turn out to be bust and I’d lose precious time.

However, this time, before starting to write on Medium, I decided on a commitment: I won’t try out new stuff (or jump from blogging to social media to website design) until I have blogged regularly for at least a month.

This is greatly helping me to stay focused. I am not ignoring my new plans either, I am simply scheduling them for later. That way, I don’t have to worry about forgetting any cool ideas I might have.

What Happens Next?

So you scheduled your latest ideas for later and went through with your priority for the time you selected. What now?

  • The temporary excitement of the new idea would wear off, and you will continue with your previous plan.
  • You will move on to the new goal, but you’d also have made significant progress (and maybe even finished) what you were already working on.
  • You’ll realize that your old goals are getting you nowhere and move on altogether.

All in all, you’ll know where you stand, and will be able to move forward without being influenced by either momentary excitement or a temporary slump.

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