The Stalnecker family recently got a new puppy named Zeke.  This puppy is nine months old and already weighs about seventy pounds, but he is a puppy nonetheless. Since he has a tendency to knock both things and small children over because of his size, we have been working with him on some simple behaviors. These behaviors include things like not jumping on the couch or dining room table, not jumping on people, and not jumping on people who may be sitting on the couch or at the dining room table.  Basically, he likes to jump.

One of the other things that we have been working on for the last few weeks is walking on a leash. This is a good skill to have of course and I am hoping that we can get him to understand it before he is “full grown.”  He has actually been doing pretty well and I have found that consistency is the key.  One of the challenges that we have been dealing with however is that Zeke cannot walk in a straight line.  I have always had a hard time walking in a straight line and now have a dog that suffers the same affliction.  The problem here is that I tend to drift one way and he another.  If we are moving the same direction this is not a problem but moving in two different directions makes getting to where we are going both difficult and funny.

The one thing that consistently keeps us moving in the same direction is Focus.  When either one of us loses focus the drift begins. We will have a hard time until I am able to focus on where we are going and he is able to focus on me.

As important as focus is when two people are walking, even if one of those people is a dog, it is much more important as we move through life. Drift in our lives typically occurs in small increments that add up to a lot of distance. It is a drift made up of one distraction after another that ultimately takes us to a destination we did not intend.

The key to staying on track over the course of our lives is focus.  While there is no shortage of things to distract us along the way, we need to focus on what is important so that we fulfill our God-given potential. Here is a list of  five things that will help you to stay focused:

1. Write down in specific terms your goals. Be as specific as possible so that you can know if you are accomplishing them.

2. Set times and dates for your goals to be accomplished. If they are long term, establish some short term goals along the way.

3. Schedule time to review your goals and consider your progress.

4. Make any corrections that are necessary to get back on track.

5. Don’t get discouraged! If you have gotten off track just take the necessary time to re-focus and begin to make progress.

Our natural tendency is to drift through life and talk about all of the things that we will do “someday.”  The problem with drift is that we often do not realize that it has happened until it is nearly impossible to get back on course. By being intentional and staying focused on the steps necessary to accomplish your goals, you will prevent drift and do far more in your life than you ever thought possible.