Distractions are innumerable, ever-present and fully unavoidable. Anyone who says we should ‘avoid distractions’ is clearly not living in the same world as the rest of us. Reaching goals is about managing and prioritizing distractions without losing sight of the original objective.
Success is not found by avoiding distractions, but rather by acknowledging them for what they are – options. And like all options, distractions can be acted upon or ignored. While distractions may masquerade as obligations or demands, the fundamental difference is that distractions lose power over time.
As an example, an electric bill is an obligation. If you ignore it, it does not go away – your lights do. In contrast, an incoming call on your cell phone is NOT an obligation. If you ignore it, it will likely go to voicemail or come back as a text message. While I am not advocating that we ignore every call or jump up to immediately pay our electric bill, the comparison is sound.
When we work toward a goal we must give ourselves permission to prioritize the goal first. By doing so, we take power away from distractions before they even present themselves. Commitment to the goal gives us the space we need to see distractions as options rather than obligations. This is especially important when you encounter a distraction that could benefit your goal. For example, while cooking your grandma’s soup recipe you see an incoming call from grandma! Eureka! Answer the call and talk to the source directly – this distraction benefits your goal.
Last week I invited anyone reading this blog to pick a goal for April. Many did, and I invite those participants to give us updates using the comment box below. For those that did not set a goal last week, I wonder how many thought, ‘I should pick a goal,’ only then to have a distraction divert their attention elsewhere. If that happened to you, that is totally okay! Share your goal now and commit to it – there are still plenty of days left to complete the April challenge.
Distractions can be overwhelming; we all know it. Rather than let ourselves feel obligated to them, let us instead see them for what they are – optional. We are obligated to our goals; the distractions are just jealous. Let them be.