How Bad Do You Want to Achieve Your Goal? Here’s How to Tell If You Want It Enough to Succeed

Cardio or Weights: Which Comes First?

Do you have a goal in front of you? How badly do you want to achieve that dream? Are you willing to take on the challenge to get there?

There will always be obstacles, sticking points and eventually a moment of truth when you must answer the question, “How bad do you really want to do this?”

Here is a list of ways that will test how much you really want to achieve your goal.

You may not want it bad enough IF….

The pain of long days and nights, the dread of hard work, and near-constant discomfort and stress convince you to decide on a change of direction in your career choice.

There will be pain and discomfort no matter which journey you choose. If you build solid habits and discipline, those skills will help get you through the tough days and nights but, in the end, it’s the power of your will that will let you continue. You will discover just how bad you want it during tests like these. Mental toughness is also a requirement.

You keep getting distracted by things that harm your focus.

If you find yourself getting distracted by things and events that are not helpful to your physical and mental performance, you might not be ready to make the hard commitment and get serious about your preparation and training. Drinking too much is just one example.

You cannot get started because you don’t have all the things you need.

If you really want to do something, you will find a way even if you lack training equipment, funding, time out of a busy schedule, or don’t yet have the mental and physical abilities required for success.

You can talk yourself out of accomplishing a task required for success in your goal.

It could be homework, working out when you don’t feel like it, or putting in the extra time studying and doing the required research. If you can get into your own head and distract yourself, you may not want it badly enough.

After military service, I considered going to medical school. I laid out the step-by-step processes I needed to plan for what was going to be a nearly 8-year journey of education, student loans and tests. I asked myself how I was going to juggle that goal with a new family when the flood of all the hurdles in front of me entered my head.

I didn't even have to actually experience the pain of late nights studying, the stress of paying for medical school while feeding and housing my family. The anxiety of thinking about what I would have to endure overwhelmed my initial desire to become a doctor.

I realized I did not want a medical degree enough to endure those kinds of challenges. I realized this goal was not as big a passion as I once thought it was. So, I had a change of plans.

If someone else can talk you out of it.

Negative feedback from people in your life can either be an obstacle that can deflate your desires or fuel that inspires you to prove them wrong. As you purse your goals, the military instructors in special ops programs, teachers, or others responsible for your training and goal achievement can become an external voice in your head that makes you start to doubt yourself. If you allow those negative thoughts to grow, you add an imaginary challenge to your journey, one that exists solely inside your head.

If subtle comments make you doubt your journey.

Most of our big goals will require us to deal with gatekeepers. Their comments to you or your peers can be harsh even if they’re most likely a true assessment of your work at that moment.

You may need to learn how to “up your game” if you plan to continue on the same vision quest as your peers.

I remember a casual conversation I had with a Navy SEAL instructor after we had made it through the biggest attrition events (hell week and pool comp, also known as OC8). He asked me if I had a wife. I did not at the time, but I was dating my soon-to-be wife at the time. He said, “Yeah, I used to have a wife. I spent 18 months of the last two years deploying and when I came back all my stuff was gone.”

That was the end of the conversation, but to say his comment to our group did not plant a seed of doubt in our heads would be a lie. In fact, one of my married classmates decided to quit not long after, even after he had succeeded at the hardest part of training.

Doubt your abilities when you first fail at something.

You will fail at some point along your path. How you handle that failure is what matters. You will want to get it right the second time, do extra credit, or play catch up to make sure you’re back on the right path.

Some failure will be inevitable. You must realize this and work harder the next time to balance out any shortcomings or weaknesses. You may have to work harder to meet and exceed the standard. Don’t let that scare you away from the journey.

Do your best and work harder to be even better so you can bring your A-Game to the challenge. Dealing with failure is an essential part of the process.

When evaluations of your performance and abilities make it clear that you will not achieve your initial goal, you must decide how to think about things going forward. If you label them rational decisions instead of dream-crushing decisions, you’ll be better equipped to move forward with your life.

Maybe you realize the lifestyle you thought you wanted is not really for you once you do your research and learn more about the process or what your life would be like once you accomplish the goal.

If either of these situations is the case, you cannot feel like you quit on yourself. Accept that it just was not meant to be. Keep searching and you will find why and what you are supposed to do in life by challenging yourself with things that interest you.

In the end, success in any goal means that you must make it through all the ups and downs of a challenging journey. If you’re going to make it, your why must be so deeply rooted that it becomes your fire and your passion

Why is passion so important? That fire can help you when you need it the most.

Passion will help you keep going when you are tired and unmotivated to move another step.

It can help you find the fuel when the tank is empty, when the days turn into night and the work is not done yet.

Passion must be the driving force that allows you to perform a task at your best and on time, while exceeding the standards set for you.

Let passion be that force that helps you start over again even when you fail along this journey.

It can turn failure into a learning experience.

Passion will be the energy you need to never give up!

Good luck with finding your passion and finding the will that allows you to achieve your goals.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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