Shiny Objects Syndrome: What it is and 7 Tips to Overcome it

By Tatenda


Last Updated: September 1, 2022

When it comes to ‘shiny’ objects, I am not a saint. My closet looks like at least three people use it because I am constantly seeing the need to change my ‘style.’ 

The amount of money I have used on face products is alarming. I see some face product on social media, or a friend tells me about what worked for her acne, and the next thing I do is add it to my cart. 

I have wasted so much time doing research about one career and thinking that is the path I want to take only for me to change and consider something else because it seems ‘better’ and is potentially more rewarding. 

In both our personal and professional lives, we sometimes get distracted and see the need to refocus our attention on something else.

There is always something that seems better and worth pursuing. At the end of the day, we look back and realize that we have started several projects but never completed one. 

That is known as the shiny objects syndrome.



What is Shiny Objects Syndrome?

It looks different for every person.

In some cases, it is adopting a new business strategy every week without giving last week’s strategy enough time to see if it works or doesn’t. For others, it is signing up on and subscribing to a gazillion productivity tools because every time you come across a new one, you think it is better and will be more effective.

In some, it is taking a galore of courses in unrelated fields because you constantly think that there is a much better and more fitting career path. I could go on and on, but I am sure you get the idea. 

Some argue that shiny objects syndrome is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows you to see and pursue better things. I totally agree with this claim, but when all you do is focus on how everything else is better than what you are currently working on, that becomes a problem.

You start going in circles and never actually accomplish anything. 



7 Tips to Overcome Shiny Objects Syndrome 

1. Don’t spend too much time on social media.

Social media exposes you to a wide range of content and adverts. All of them are designed to influence and convince you that the advertised item is better than what you have. This has the potential of making you doubt your current position and see the need to chase something else. 


2. Read the reviews.

How many times have you purchased something only to regret it when the product fails to achieve what the advert said it would? Remember, the advert is there to make you buy the product. Read reviews and see what other people had to say about the effectiveness of the product before you buy it. 


3. Give yourself time to think about the product.

Sometimes, what we need is a little more time to think about the product.

There are professionals whose job is to convince you that you need something. If you take some time to think about it, you might realize that you have another product that does the same job, or you just don’t need the product. This has saved me from buying more than enough gym attire.  


4. Stop comparing.

The moment you start comparing yourself to the next person or what you have with what the other person has, there is potential that you will see the other thing as shinier. Consequently, there is a risk of you leaving what you have so you can go after what the other person has. 


5. Set goals and hold yourself accountable.

Once you know exactly what you want, the next step is to work towards getting that. Focusing on achieving your goals will keep you less distracted. 


6. Focus on things you enjoy.

When you aren’t focused, it is easy to divert your attention and lose your attention span.

Once you figure out the things that bring you joy, focus on those and do your best not to redirect your attention to what other people enjoy. 


7. Evaluate the shiny objects.

Before you pursue or buy any of the shiny objects, evaluate them.

Ask yourself if you really need the object or if you think you need it because of influence from others. Evaluate and see if the object aligns with your main goal. You will be surprised by the number of things you think you think you can’t do without but do not necessarily need.  



You Can Overcome Shiny Objects Syndrome

Shiny objects syndrome can be seen in any age group, from children wanting a new toy despite theirs being absolutely fine, to adults constantly changing their business ideas or strategies. 

There is a thin line between shiny objects syndrome being a distraction or a benefit to you. The trick is how you handle the behavior. The above-mentioned tips such as evaluating a new idea and seeing if it aligns with your overall end goal, will help you adopt shiny objects that are worthwhile.

When it is not put under control, shiny objects syndrome can cost us money, time, and effort. We will look back and see a pile of unfinished projects, and we will find ourselves frustrated and unmotivated.

If this article describes something you have been dealing with, don’t beat yourself up. You can overcome shiny objects syndrome or at least have it work to your advantage. It will not end overnight, so be patient with yourself and take one day at a time.

Photo by RODNAE Productions


4 comments on “Shiny Objects Syndrome: What it is and 7 Tips to Overcome it”

  1. I have seen so many shiny objects that I have spent months slowly decluttering my house. It got to the point where I felt trapped and couldn't breath. It is amazing to see things that you have forgotten about. Thank you for your post. It is perfect and I needed it

  2. Very very good thoughts. I am guilty and have learned over the years just to be content with what I have. It has cost we too much unnecessary spending that I cannot reclaim or recoup. Thanks for the insight. I will definitely share this with my friends.

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