When I was about 13 years old, my dad taught me how to shoot a gun. He was an avid hunter and gun collector who even did his own reloading. It was what he poured his spare time into and where he found joy. My brother didn’t seem to have much an interest in guns, but I did. So, as soon as my dad determined that I was old enough, he 4BF499ED-8C2E-49C8-B236-878A06524BFBand I drove to the shooting range at the conservation club where he was a member and the lesson began.

After stapling the target to a piece of wood that backed up to a large mound of packed dirt, by father commenced my lesson on gun safety. Always keep the safety on until immediately before you are going to shoot. Never, ever point a gun—loaded or unloaded—at anyone or anything. Treat every gun like a loaded gun.

When he determined that I understood these crucial instructions, my dad finally handed me the gun. I could feel its power immediately. I gently raised it to my shoulder and tried to find the target, but my upper body strength was poor and the more I attempted to hold the gun steady, the more it swayed. My dad then instructed me to kneel down. With one knee on the ground and the other raised to use as a brace for my arm, I was able to hold the gun steady. This was much better.

When I felt comfortable with the gun butted up tightly against my right shoulder and had the target in sight, my dad told me to turn off the safety. Then he told me to breathe in, hold my breath, and gently squeeze the trigger. The .22 caliber rifle gave off a mild popping sound at the same time I felt the barrel of the gun recoil into my right shoulder. I hit the target—nowhere near the bull’s-eye—but I hit it. I instantly wanted to do it again. And again. I loved the singular focus of shooting a gun; the challenge of one person, one bullet, and one target. The sheer concentration it took to coordinate the actions: eyes, breath, focus, squeeze.

I bring this up because this is precisely how I go about the challenge of losing weight, a challenge I am currently involved in yet again. I zero in on my target, inhale, focus, and squeeze the trigger which, in this case, is taking the laser-like focus of shooting a gun and staring at nothing but my target until I hit that bull’s-eye.

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