Why You MUST Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

Posted · 15 Comments

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

Early on, when you just start working toward a goal, it’s usually pretty easy to stay on track. You have a vision, you know what steps to take, you can see the end result in your mind’s eye. Problem is that sometimes it’s a long road to get to where you want to be.

Sometimes it’s dark and scary and you’re fumbling around because you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. And often the road is filled with all kinds of noise (internet, TV, radio, video games, naysayers, just to name a few) and potholes (broken relationships, money problems, illnesses, and so on) so it’s really easy to lose focus.

And when you lose focus, it’s even easier to stop and look around and take your eyes off your ultimate goal. And that, my friends, the looking around part is where the problems lie.

Here’s what can derail you as you’re looking around:

  • Compare yourself to what others are doing, find yourself lacking, & watch your motivation tank.
  • Look at the big picture instead of the micro goals, overwhelm/scare yourself, and slow down/stop.
  • Second-guessing because, you know, so far it hasn’t worked out like you thought and maybe you give up.
  • Listening to the negativity around you and start to believe the naysayers.
  • Get tangled up in all the noise or tripped up by the potholes (see above) & start making excuses/procrastinating, doing things that have nothing to do with helping you reach your goals/dreams.

So what do you do to keep your focus?

At a motivational seminar, my husband and I did an exercise called a Life Map where we combed through magazines, looking for pictures of the goals/dreams we had for our lives. The team leader told us to dream as BIG as possible, to cut out pictures even if we didn’t see how it was possible to achieve them. So we did.


  • career (your dream job)
  • financial (your dream net worth)
  • family (your dream partner/children)
  • personal: (your dream self)
  • location: (your dream living situation)


  • Career: I pasted pictures of my novels; one’s done & two others are nearly finished.
  • Financial: I pasted a picture of money. While not overly specific, my thought at the time was that we’d always have enough money. So far, that’s worked out, sometimes almost miraculously. (Now, I’ll go find a new picture of a million bucks . . . or more!)
  • Family: I pasted a picture of 2 blond-haired boys, one slightly older than the other; that’s what I have.
  • Personal: I pasted a picture of a bathroom scale with a low number on it. (Mind you I didn’t think, at the time, I’d ever be able to even get close). Now, I’m only 10 pounds from it.
  • Location: I pasted pictures of a beautiful house, a lake, horses. Last year, I moved into my dream house. The lake’s not far off. I just connected with a woman who owns horses and needs help, so I’ll be riding again soon.

It works. It does. I promise you it does. But, here’s the kicker, you have to work toward it.

Do this:

  1. Buy some poster board (or you can do this with a cork board & push pins, too) & write LIFE MAP at the top.
  2. Take an afternoon & comb through some magazines, find pictures (as specific as possible) of what you want for your life, your goals & dreams, and if you can’t find pictures, then type up words describing your goals & dreams.
  3. Glue them to the poster board, clustered together by category.
  4. Hang it somewhere that you CAN SEE IT every day.
  5. Make a commitment to look at it daily, study it even.
  6. Embed it in your mind too so that, as you’re working toward your ideal life, if you start to lose focus, mentally you can remind yourself where you want to be.
  7. Add to it whenever you have a new goal/dream.
  8. Celebrate the achievements!

So do you think it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize when reaching for your goals/dreams? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

15 Responses to "Why You MUST Keep Your Eyes On The Prize"
  1. Deone Higgs says:

    Yes! It is SO VERY important, Shelli! You are absolutely right. We must keep our eyes on the prize. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to recalculate a few things, clear up a few visions, and change a few of the details I had already laid out, like an Easter Sunday outfit. The most recent has been my book. I have set so many dates for it to be completed, but every time I’ve set a date, the date would come and then pass. It would leave me feeling so frustrated, disappointed, and depressed. Here’s the thing though, it’s not like I’ve been procrastinating… I’ve been writing my butt off. So I finally had to come to grips with the date thing not being such a good idea… at least not for me. As long as I know I’m in the “doing” mode, I cannot loose sight of the prize before me. This was truly inspiring, my friend. Thank you for the encouraging post! 🙂

    • Hi Deone!

      You know, it’s funny that you say clear up a few visions because this exercise taught me about separating MY vision from SOMEONE ELSE’s vision of my life. That was eye-opening for me, too. I’m in the same boat with regards to the writing. I write and write and write & still sometimes feel like I’m fumbling about. I always tell people that some of my favorite writing advice is finding what works for you & doing that. Seems that everyone has an opinion, but (like the date thing) might not be a good idea for you ~ kudos to you for realizing that & doing your own thing.

      Thanks for the fab compliment. Made me smile today. 🙂 Cheers, my friend.

  2. Sandy Coelho says:

    Wonderful post Shelli ! I keep my vision board on as my desktop 🙂 I see it everyday.
    We are close to Christmas; I hope this message finds you and yours healthy, prosperous, and happy. May the fellowship of the season, find its way to your home as we wish you a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
    All the best darlin’ (humongous hug!)

    • Hi Sandy!

      Awww, thanks for the fab compliment. I’m so glad you’ve got one & see it every day. Thank you so much for the good wishes (so beautifully written, I might add ~ have you thought about writing greeting cards?). I wish the best for you and your family, too, now and in the New Year.

      Cheers, darlin & *bear hugs* right back!

      • Sandy Coelho says:

        LOL Thank you. I would consider it – ‘if’ I knew where I could find the work 😉
        Have a wonderful holiday season xo

  3. I had stopped by yesterday…and actually meant to leave a comment. However, I had about 20 tabs open, and then I got distracted and closed it out while getting rid of most of the others (I have many airhead moments…just more than normal between mid-November and January 2nd). Now I’m playing catch up today…nope. Yours wasn’t the only one I’d intended to comment on. And no, the book I was also reading yesterday played no part in anything. 🙂

    Anyway…hi! I love the ‘dream board’ idea. I actually made one maybe 1o or 12 years ago when I thought I would make my fortune selling pricey supplements. Well, technically it wasn’t a board…more like pictures tucked in a clear cover on a 3-ring notebook. This was back when I really wanted to adopt a baby…and I actually did put a baby picture in there. Fortunately I realized early on that I was NOT a sales person (I also realized that I didn’t REALLY want another baby…whew!).

    I like the life map idea better than a dream board. It’s more concrete…and I think I’m going to make one to hang where I can see it many times a day. Probably not today though. My daughter’s boyfriend called and woke me up about four hours after I fell asleep. My only goal today is to buy an air horn. In case it ever happens again, I can be assured that it will be the last time.

    Yes, I’m rambling. I need a nap. 🙂

    • Hi Kristy!

      Ah, airhead moments . . . well, at least we get to blame them on the holidays for a month. 😀

      You know, I liked the Life Map because it mixes in stuff you want that seems attainable (husband, children, pets) with things that you might think impossible (the dream house, the dream career, the dream body). I really wasn’t sure some of the stuff was possible (even though I wanted it to be) when I stuck it on my map; I did it because the leader said we should. But then it turns out, enough little steps in the direction you want to go will get you to the dream stuff . . . I hadn’t known that at the time. The pictures helped make the end result clear so I knew which path to take.

      You made me laugh with the air horn. I had some guy call me once at 4 o’clock in the morning then say: Sorry, wrong number. Oh, what I wouldn’t have given for an air horn ~ lol.

      Cheers, darlin.

  4. Charissa says:

    Great post. I really enjoy your blog…you make it worth my time to stop by and read. Thanks. Yes, I agree that we have to have goals and keep our focus on the prize. I’m always telling my oldest daughter that she can have anything she wants if she makes it a priority. The world tells us too much what we can’t have. I think it’s important to not cut ourselves short and talk ourselves out of being successful.

    • Hi Charissa! *waves*

      Thanks so much for the fab compliment. Made me smile this morning. 🙂 It’s so true that it’s easy to get sidetracked and discouraged by the world. And what you said is very true, I think a lot of times we talk ourselves out of success. Cheers, darlin.

  5. Hello, I found your page while I was doing a search about doubt for an upcoming post. Your page is very encouraging and I wanted to leave you a message to say so.

  6. Sidney Peck says:

    Love Vision Boards. So, yes, I do agree that they work! Fun post, Shelli. 🙂

  7. Sidney Peck says:

    Hi,ya! One hundred percent concur, Shelli. Meant it; you’re most welcome! Aww, then my job today is done. I set a number each day of how many people I want to make smile. Seriously. Thanks for making today’s quota of 10! You too, kiddo! Lots of love and smiles ?

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