You may have heard it said that the key to goal achievement is having the right mindset followed by consistent action. This is true. In fact, I discuss this in detail in my book, From Burnout to Best Life. What is less often discussed is how restless behavior, I like to call it Shiny Object Syndrome, sabotages goal achievement.
The statement, “The grass is always greener” exemplifies this well. You probably know someone who jumps from one job, project, or relationship to the next, claiming boredom or “it wasn’t the right fit.” Although this can be true, if this cycle consistently repeats itself, there’s a restless component at play.
From a Positive Intelligence mental fitness perspective, restless behavior traits include the following:
- Constantly in search of great excitement (Shiny Object Syndrome).
- Restless behavior becomes a strategy to escape from dealing with fear and anxieties. This is similar to Avoider tendencies.
- Becomes easily distracted and scattered.
- Prefers to stay busy. Seeks constant stimulation.
- Struggles to relax due to difficulty sitting still.
These characteristics lead to the following negative thought patterns:
- FOMO (fear of missing out); life is too short
- Worries that unpleasant feelings will grow and become overwhelming.
Goal achievement becomes difficult due to lack of focus and motivation. With no accountability, goal achievement is unlikely.
Restless behavior makes it challenging to be fully present in relationships. Difficult conversations are avoided, which can lead to poor communication and resentment.
If this resonates, here are steps to shift the behavior:
- When feeling restless, STOP! Acknowledge the feelings and determine where you feel them in your body. Be curious. Are you holding tension in your neck, shoulders, or abdomen? Maybe you’re tapping your foot or fingers rapidly in irritation.
- Focus on the tension. How does it feel? Do you have a slight headache? Are your shoulders moving toward your ears? What’s the feeling in your stomach? Are you experiencing nervous tension throughout your body? Focus on these symptoms for 10-15 seconds.
- Next, transfer your attention to something you can see. Spend another 10-15 seconds focusing on tiny details, including colors, shapes, textures, and reflections.
- If you prefer, focus on other senses, including touch and sound. Concentrate on the most distant sound you hear for 5-7 seconds, then, shift to the closest sound you hear for another 5-7 seconds. When touching an object, focus on the temperature and texture of the surface.
Doing this practice when you feel restless will transfer your focus from the negative emotion, residing in your left brain, to the positive right brain. This technique is called mental fitness, and, with repetition, becomes easier and automatic.
A right brain perspective includes the ability to see the big picture, laser focus, clarity, and peace, creating ease and flow. In terms of goal achievement, the right brain will keep you focused and on task with the big picture in mind. Challenges will be manageable. If you’re feeling resistance and negativity towards a task, project, or individual, you have a left brain perspective.
If you’d like to learn more about mental fitness and how it can help you manage stress and other negative emotions in the moment, I encourage you to book a complimentary Discovery call.