When Distractions Become Your Routine

How good would it feel to finally plant that flag? Achieve the goal? Reach the finish line?

The very thought of arriving at that destination raises your heart rate by a few beats.

The path to get there feels like a short, direct line to… do-able.

The app that you want to build.
The client that you want to land.
The marathon that you want to run.
The instrument that you want to play.
The side business that you want to launch.
The move that you want to make to live in another country.

When distractions become your routine

I get it — you have responsibilities and promises for which you signed up. In life’s scheme, a good job or important relationships are not necessarily bad things. Put aside those big elephant priorities for a moment.

You can’t have a conversation about the obstacles that stop you cold without acknowledging the mice in the room — from TV to social media to email. These routine pests beg you to chase them down; then they wear you down and pull you down.

Down here where:

Your boundaries for other people’s “urgent” disappear — interruptions become habits.

You become lost to the compounding power of the unimportant — distractions become the routine.

Without a commitment to small and meaningful steps every day, a vast expanse is created that separates “the where you are” from “the where you want to be.”

Every time I’ve wanted to create an important change in my life, and failed to make progress, it wasn’t for a lack of a grander vision or motivation. It was for a lack of small steps practiced every day that keep in-check the distractions and interruptions that create wastelands of uninspiring, exhaustive mental space.

BUT, when you choose your small steps, you instantly build an exit from the external wasteland that returns you to your short, direct and passionate path.

What small steps?

Creativity — Ideas, art, music, movement.
Reflection — Reading, writing, stillness.
Mindfulness — Meditation, silence.
Gratitude — Write it, say it, feel it.
Service — Because your tank needs to be filled.
Let go — To create the space to expand.

Why Small Steps?

How you do the small things is how you do everything. It’s easier to practice in small steps than large leaps.

When do you choose these steps?

First thing. Before email. Before TV. Before the noise. Those passions which are important are what you do first.

How often?

At least once every 24 hours.

Will these small steps work?

They work for me. Not just when things are going well… but when they’re not.

Why these steps?

Because, *your small steps* are the fuel that helps you bypass the mice-ridden wastelands that can become scattered throughout your day. Your small steps are the fuel that injects the energy necessary to continue on your passionate path.

Don’t let the distractions become routine, because they will soon become your life. Instead, make Small Steps your routine, and your passions will come to life.


As America’s first ever Olympic Gold Medalist in Whitewater Canoe Slalom, Joe promotes strategies and shares stories for living and performing at your best, doing the work that matters and engaging with purpose. His platforms include performance coaching and consulting, professional speaking, broadcasting and his weekly newsletter, “Sunday Morning Joe.”