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How do you Stay Focused on Your Goals?

In the modern world, it is difficult to stay committed to your goals for long periods of time. The initial enthusiasm and motivation quickly ware away into monotony, restlessness and boredom.

The reasons for this can be many:

  1. Perhaps, you are unable to achieve the results in the expected time.
  2. Perhaps, there are other opportunities that look more exciting.
  3. Perhaps, you are distracted by other commitments.

So, in such a scenario, how do you stay committed and focused on your goals?

Whether you want to achieve a short-term goal such as ‘losing weight’ or a long-term one such as ‘not feeling lost in life,’ any sort of goal requires commitment and passion.

In this article, I will share with you 2 stories as well as additional insights into what Chess has taught me about life.


Inspiring Story – 1

When Kieran Behan was 6 years old, he told his mother that he’d be an Olympic gymnast one day. He was very fascinated by the gymnasts’ ability to defy gravity – watching them gave him a bizarre thrill.

Soon enough, Behan started training. However, his journey was nowhere close to being a smooth ride. On the contrary, he faced one obstacle after another – one of them was a serious leg injury that was expected to never allow him to walk again. In fact, the doctors warned Behan to quit professional sports.

To further add to his obstacles, his family was facing financial struggles – Behan had to sweep the floors of his gym in order to keep him going.

Yet, Behan continued to follow his gut instincts and stayed committed to his goals.

Finally, in 2011, his hard work was finally seeming to pay off. He won 3 world cup medals. In 2012, his childhood dreams came true – he made it to the Olympics.

You may be thinking – “How was this 6-year-old kid so confident about his passions and goals?”

After all, most of us take psychology and aptitude tests to figure out our strengths or attend counselling sessions to identify our career paths.

We will find the answer to this very soon. But before that, let me share with you another story.

Inspiring Story – 2

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was 14 years old, he bought a magazine that detailed the story of a British bodybuilding champion and movie star - Reg Park.

After Reg Park made his fortune as a movie star, he bought a gym chain in South Africa and became a successful business owner. When Schwarzenegger read Reg Park’s story, he was captivated to follow the same life path. He too wanted to become a bodybuilding champion and a famous Hollywood star.

At that time, Schwarzenegger’s life plan was questionable. Bodybuilding was not really considered a sport and bodybuilders didn't make much money. Another common thought was – ‘If Schwarzenegger ultimately wanted to become a movie star, why not pursue that from the beginning itself (and not transition from a bodybuilder)?’ Furthermore, why would someone plan to shift to a country where the language is so foreign to him?

All in all, Schwarzenegger’s life plan seemed unrealistic. Never the less, Schwarzenegger was able to achieve his dreams and he came very successfully.

So, what can we learn from Schwarzenegger?

Before we get to that, let me share with you my experience of becoming a Grand Chess Master (the highest ranking in chess).

Chess is a strategic board game where one is required to plan their steps in advance. One thing I learnt from chess is – almost anything can bring you success as long as you follow through with it consistently, till the end.

This is an unusual technique. After all, we often spend a great deal of time analyzing and reflecting on the “best option” amongst a whole list of opportunities. But the truth is, there are many paths to the peak of the mountain. Of course, one may be shorter and another may be easier, but at the end of the day, it is more important to pick one path and finish the journey till the finish line. Go through with what you pick!

Go through with what you pick!

Nowadays, people are distracted by new opportunities and circumstance. Therefore, they don't persevere with what they have picked till the end. They usually jump from one prospect to another, not giving anything enough to time to master.

This is exactly why Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kieran Behan managed to become successful even though they had chosen difficult paths that were seemingly unrealistic. No matter which path you choose, follow through with it, and you will be able to achieve success one way or the other.

Often times, people want to find their “passion” or their “calling.” Therefore, they jump from one thing to another trying to figure out what fulfils them. However, in most cases, their quest to find something that fulfils them goes without success.

For instance, think about professional athletes. Often times, they say, “they love their careers and can’t imagine being anything else.” But being an athlete is tiresome – for years and years, they have to do the same monotonous training, undergoing several injuries and setbacks. Even if they take a break for a month, they will not be “in the form” for the next games.

How can one possibly love this?
Obviously, it is not the process that they love. Indeed, it is the success and admiration that comes with the profession that is fulfilling.

Therefore, use the possible feelings you will have once you succeed in what you have chosen to keep you motivated to follow through.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. 
― George Bernard Shaw

Therefore, it is really important to have goals that you stay committed. It will give you a reason to wake up and push yourself. Having a purpose will give you clarity and confidence.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”
― Peter F. Drucker

Key take away: No matter which path you choose, follow through with it, and you are bound to find success.


Igor Smirnov

Igor Smirnov

Psychologist, blogger, chess Grandmaster, Internet entrepreneur. Follow Igor on Facebook


I’m Igor Smirnov. To YOUR success.

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