Focus

Do you ever notice that we, as Americans, generally have the attention level of a gnat? We bounce around from fad to fad, always looking for the latest and greatest thing to occupy our lives. We constantly need more of this and more of that to feed the Stimulation Beast inside. 

It’s American culture to chuck the old out and usher the new in. (When’s the last time you heard of someone having their TV repaired? Or their washer and drier? When things break, we throw them out and buy new.) And I feel like it has to do with what we, as Americans, focus on.

I have a hard time with focus and concentration sometimes, and it’s odd because I never used to be that way. When I was younger–in high school for example–I had the ability to tune out everything around me and zero in with an almost laser-like focus on whatever task or goal I set for myself. I RARELY had homework in high school. When the teachers gave us students time to do whatever we wanted, most of my classmates would be socializing, and I’d be doing my assignments. I’d shut out all the noise around me, pull out the concentration and discipline, and get my stuff done. And I was a (almost) straight-A student.


I operated similarly in extracurricular activities such as speech and drama, and even weight loss. I’d set a goal for myself–usually to excel–and I’d zero in on that goal until I achieved it. If I set my mind to something, I was unstoppable and it was going to happen come hell or high water.

So what changed? 

That’s the million dollar question that I ask myself every day. Somewhere a long the way, I forgot how to fine-tune my focus and concentration, and I’ve had a much harder time accomplishing my goals ever since.

I think maybe the missing ingredient in my weight loss journey all ties back to this inability or UNWILLINGNESS to focus. Yes being consistent has been a challeng for me and omg, food DEFINITELY has been a challenge…but it all comes down to what I’m focusing on. 

Lots of people don’t have the luxury of being able to zero in on one thing. There are jobs, families, kids, financial burdens, etc. preventing them from having tunnel vision. But I don’t really have that.

If I could focus on my goal with the intensity that I know I am capable of, I would be SO unstoppable. I’d undergo a physical transformation like nobody’s business.

So why don’t I do it then? What’s stopping me?

Here’s the thing about focus. It requires sacrifice. Think about a camera. When we zoom in and focus on something, everything in the background goes fuzzy.  If you focus on nothing specific, you can have the whole camera frame be clear, but the intended subject of the picture might not be obvious. If you zoom in and focus on your intended subject, it becomes obvious, but you lose elements of the frame in doing that. 

In order for me to focus on my goal of fat loss–really focus–I have to tune out the distractions. Like that kid in high school, I have to tune out the stuff around me and buckle down.

So what is distracting me?

Honestly, my biggest distraction is food. It’s everywhere. My mind tells me I can’t survive without my cheese and butter and junk food. It’s bombarding me with that evil little voice that constantly screams I can’t do this.

But I’m capable of tuning out those voices. I’ve forgotten how over the years, but it’s time to dig deep and remember. 

And once I remember, game on.

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2 thoughts on “Focus

  1. Oh Jessica, I think you just described life for me too, or maybe it’s life in America. I am not sure. But the first thing I thought of was my faith journey and how easily distracted I get when I am spending time in prayer or taking time to read a devotional passage and do Bible study. It seems that there are 2 things that keep me focused: 1. having a routine and staying in the routine and doing something pleasant in the routine or maybe rewarding myself for sticking with the routine. For example, when I have my daily quiet time with Jesus, I reward myself with a cup of coffee with my favorite creamer. I also remind myself that if I don’t complete the questions in my Bible Study book, I won’t be prepared for small group and I don’t want to look unprepared! I actually look forward to this time every morning because it gives me joy and peace and I feel ready for my day. It is not a chore. Okay, now that I’ve written about the first thing, I have already forgotten what the 2nd thing is. Grrrr….this “over the age of 60” drives me crazy.Well I will send you another message when I remember the 2nd thing. You are an amazing writer and also good at digging deep into your mind. Hmm…maybe you should be a counselor or mentor or even a
    personal trainer when you have reached your goal. God will use this in your life and also in so many others. I’m so glad to read your blog and get to know you better too. I love you Jess, Aunt Nancy

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