A new year often brings new year’s resolutions. I like making new year’s resolutions, even if they can be difficult to keep. I enjoy the idea of a fresh start, a new chance to change and improve things. However, when I make these goals for myself, I find that it’s really easy to get sidetracked. Other things get in the way, and it becomes hard to stay focused on what you want to achieve. When this happens, I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on the prize.
My dog, Sadie, loves to play fetch, which I guess this makes sense, because she’s a golden retriever. Regardless of the reason, my dog finds it eternally entertaining to chase flying toys through the ground floor of our house. The only thing that we have to be careful of when we’re throwing these toys is that we don’t hit the various decorations spread throughout the rooms.
The most common place for us to throw toys for Sadie is our living room. We throw her toys from the living room into one across from our couches, through a doorway. Now, the target we’re aiming for is fairly large. It’s approximately three feet by six feet; plenty of room for us to throw through. And yet, nearly every time I throw a toy for Sadie, I inevitably end up hitting the paintings my mom has hanging to the left of the door.
I always attributed this to the fact that I have horrible aim, and sometimes I just fling it across the room without truly focusing on where the toy is going. However, recently I was throwing the toy for Sadie, and while the usual occurred, I realized something I never had before. I threw the toy, it hit a toy shelf we have directly under the pictures, and Sadie really didn’t care about where I threw the toy. She pounced after it, quickly returning and dropping it back into my hand. The next time I threw the toy, though, I realized that my eyes were fixed on that same spot. My brain was saying to my hand, Don’t hit that table, and yet that spot was all I was focusing on.
After this revelation, instead of the staring at the table or the pictures, I forced myself to stare directly at the empty space in the doorframe. This time, when I threw the toy, it went straight through the gap, never even grazing the sides of the doorway. I suppose there are people out there shaking their heads and thinking Well, duh at my discovery, but it was a huge epiphany for me in that moment.
I had spent so long keeping my eyes focused on where I didn’t want to end up that my hand didn’t have anywhere else to throw to. My actions followed where I was aiming, even if that wasn’t where I wanted it to go. It reminded me a lot of the time when I was driving, and I looked for a moment to see what my mom was doing with the radio. In those few seconds, my hands followed the direction that my eyes were pointing, and the car started to drift off of the road.
If you have new year’s resolutions that you want to keep, try not to focus on what you don’t want to happen. Focus on your goal and how you can get there. Never give up, and no matter what, always remember to keep your eyes on the prize. See you next week!
“Reprinted from Hagel Publications, Inc. dba as Courier Newspapers”