Keeping Your Focus

Reading Level: Gratifying

An important principle of success is staying more focused on the goal than the present obstacles or even the steps to reaching it.

I was reminded of this principle while working toward the completion of all the necessary seasonal responsibilities in my garden. I have quite extensive gardens with a large variety of plants, including over 30 antique rose bushes. Though I have always enjoyed gardening, this time of year’s seasonal requirements get very overwhelming as it takes about 3 months to complete due to other life responsibilities. The care and upkeep is probably too extensive for this time in life, but, when we designed and planted it 15 years ago, it was not possible to foresee the changes in career, family responsibilities, and physical energy in the future. It is a temptation to cause myself continual displeasure by solely viewing all the tasks yet undone rather than staying focused on the forthcoming end result and enjoying the present pleasures my garden during the process of the oiling, fertilizing, pruning, and mulching to reach the goal; it will become a healthy, lush garden that is a delight to the eyes and a joy to share with friends and family.

Here are some results of staying more focused on the end goal than the present obstacles or process:

1. You will maintain a level emotional state of joy and fulfillment, knowing the end of the process will come; you will live the fulfillment of that goal.

2. A clearer focus of your future goals/objectives allows you to be more effective in your present decisions with regard to the future goal.

3. You will maintain a higher energy level when focused daily on the final goal rather than the overall process to achieve it.

Many realms of practical life prove the benefit of staying focused on the goal or end result.

Life coaches, motivational speakers, and business instructors all tell us to “write out” the goals we want to achieve, write out the plan we envision, even the restoration that we need. Writing develops a clear mental picture of the desired end. In turn, this process enables one to notice relevant, beneficial opportunities related to the goal and make wiser decisions to reach the goal all due to staying daily focused on the end picture. It is the Law of Attraction in action.

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The benefits of this principle of focusing on the goal flow into more aspects of one’s life than we are usually aware of–personal goals, financial goals, career changes, restoration–but even in the little things. Remember drivers’ education class? When teaching Interstate driving, they instruct you to focus on where the road meets the horizon; if, instead, you only look at the few cars in front of you or a short distance of the open road in front of you, your driving will be unsteady and erratic. You will weave back and forth unknowingly and overcompensate in decisions. It is the same in every aspect of one’s life. Staying focused on the goal will keep you from being unsteady and erratic, wavering from the desired goal, and overcompensating in decisions.

Instruction on one’s spiritual journey also involves a clear, constant focus on the goals.

This principle should be added to your daily spiritual life. Do not settle for where you are. There are greater, unknown aspects waiting to be discovered with your spiritual life and communication levels with God. Grow and benefit by setting goals and keeping them in focus. Here are quotes from Scripture instructing you to approach spiritual life and growth like a runner in a race, free from distractions and hindrances, focused on the clear goal:

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. Phil 3:13-15

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training…Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly…so that I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Cor. 9:24-27

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Heb. 12:1

Famous literary authors have encouraged people through generations to “focus on the goal.”

Though Ralph Waldo Emerson is well-known for his quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” encouraging people to enjoy each day of life as opposed to only allowing oneself to enjoy achievements, he also promoted keeping one’s destination in view.

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Orison Swett Marden, known for his philosophies on one’s thoughts influencing his life and circumstances, pointed out the determining factor in the success of focusing on the goal:

We advance on our journey only when we face our goal, when we are confident and believe we are going to win out.  Orison Swett Marden

Believe that you will reach your goals, spiritually, financially, relationally, or otherwise. Then keep daily focus on those goals. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the trip or any apparent lack of progress, you can live effectively and experience greater joy knowing that each day is a day closer to your heart’s desires.

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