Life Lessons

Addicted to Sidetracking

I hate to admit it……

but I’m addicted to sidetracking.

I have grandiose ideas. Brainstorming, strategizing, and setting goals is my thing, meticulously developing elaborate plans to accomplish my visions.

I plan.

The problem is I prolong the completion unless there is a hard and fast deadline.

For example, in December 2018, I planned to read four specific “purpose” books in January of this year.

It’s September, and I’m only on book number three. I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in July. Began reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl in August. I’m currently on the third book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week workbook. The fourth book is the “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, a 40-day devotion book.

On the other hand, I’ve read eighteen books (plus around twenty books in the Bible, give or take).

No matter, it’s just another form of sidetracking. defines sidetracking as divert(ing) away from a central issue or previously determined plan.

Hand raised, that’s me.

I finish, but for some reason, I take longer than necessary to complete the task at hand.

It took me ten years to obtain a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Friends and family thought I was graduating with a doctorate.

My name is C. Michelle, and I am addicted to sidetracking.

Case in point, we took a trip to Dubai for our weekly date.

Of course, I planned the outing. Go to one of the many malls, do some shopping, eat some American fare, go to Dubai Frame and Jumeirah Beach.

Well, I spotted a movie theater in the mall and wanted to add the movies to our Dubai outing.

Daniel responded we didn’t plan to go to the movies. 


Why do we have to plan to go to the movies? 

We’re here. 

The movie theater is right there within walking distance, inside the mall.

We’re in the mall.

At the moment, I was a little upset.

Now (as I write this post) I realize the importance of his rationale.

We have to stick to the plan to finish what we started. In other words, stay focused.

A two to a three-hour movie would have made for an exceptionally long day and possibly deterred us from visiting Dubai Frame and Jumeirah Beach.

There are only 24 hours in the day, and you can only do so much in one day.

Addicted To Sidetracking

Could there possibly be a cure for me?

In the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie shares several stories about how praise motivates people. He cited Charles Schwab, American investor, financial executive, philanthropist, and founder of Charles Schwab Corporation saying:

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest assest I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Schwab. I’ve noticed how words of encouragement move me. Hence, my internal alarm clock woke me up at 4 AM.

I found pleasure in video messaging Daniel each morning to report I ran around the mosque and completed my daily ab exercises while glistening with liquid fat.

He’d reply with a return video message showering me with praise making my heart flutter, 

“Well-done baby,” 

“Good job,” and

“Keep it up.”

And when he takes notice of a body part that’s a little tighter, firmer, or toner, fireworks are going off inside my body.

I genuinely find pleasure in his compliments.

Positive, What?!?!

Daniel is inadvertently practicing positive reinforcement on me. states “

Positive reinforcement refers to the introduction of a desirable or pleasant stimulus (praise/appreciation/encouragement) after a behavior (exercise). The desirable stimulus (praise) reinforces the behavior (exercise), making it more likely that the behavior (exercise) will reoccur.” explains a version of positive reinforcement called token reinforcers.

“Token reinforcers: those that are awarded for performing certain behaviors and can be exchanged for something of value

For example, upon completion of the purpose books in January, I could have treated myself to a day at the hammam or even something simple as a henna tattoo. Token reinforcement provides an incentive to accomplish goals.

Now to put my findings into action:

If I read the Artist Way & the Purpose Driven Life (performing certain behaviors) by Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll treat myself to an Oman boat cruise (reward).

Hopefully, token reinforcement will stop me from being addicted to sidetracking. I’ll make sure to report my findings

This new way of living will aid me in reaching the highest, truest, fullest expression of myself. Join me in “finding yourself,” and discovering new ways of thinking, new ways of living, and new ways of working. You’re invited!

24 You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! 25 All who compete in the games use strict training. They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last. But our prize is one that will last forever. 26 So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. 27 It is my own body I fight to make it do what I want. I do this so that I won’t miss getting the prize myself after telling others about it.

1 Corinthians 9: 24-27

Chime in.

Are you addicted to sidetracking? Do you use positive reinforcement to get things done?


  • Dalilia Crawford

    Awesome message.. Thank you so much for allowing me to enter into your life and learn about more about myself. I realized I am addicted to side tracking. The encouraging ways that you suggested can help me improve my way of not pushing my plans to the side. I truly thank you.

    • Chalanda Michelle Asamoah

      Thank you for reading the post and your transparency. I thought I was the only one. LOL! Yes, sidetracking is a REAL addiction. Let’s GROW together. See you on the other side!!!

  • Zetta Wilson

    I prolong plenty of tasks myself, unless it’s pertaining to my employment..Lol. Then it’s mandatory I complete it, because if I prolong it, there are serious consequences I could be faced with. I really need to start completing my personal task especially the task that’ll help me grow personally and financially! I had a conversation with my son who is a college student about sidetracking and I believe I am a positive reinforcement to him and always try to keep him encouraged. I think we should all be a positive reinforcement to each other and a token reinforcement to ourselves. Thank you for this message Mrs. Asamoah!!

    • Chalanda Michelle Asamoah

      Thank you for commenting. Please continue to encourage our future generation to stay on track and value time. It’s so easy to think we have all the time in the world as young people then before we realize it we’re almost 40 or 50.

  • Gabrielle

    Guilty! I’m a sidetracker and a procrastinator! 🤦🏽‍♀️It’s a terrible combination!! I have good intentions but horrible follow through at times! 🥴

    • Chalanda Michelle Asamoah

      Thank you for reading and commenting. You said it…the follow-through. It took me a minute but I found out that accountability partners, a deadline, and/or visual reminders work for me. For instance, I wanted to fit in a dress for my 40th birthday, Daniel held me accountable with gym workouts (not the food..LOL), the date was my actual birthday, and I hung the dress I wanted to wear on the window. I saw it first thing when I woke up and right before I went to bed.

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