We all have different goals and motivations, that’s a fact of life. What might fire you up and get you ready to go out and crush your work may seem trivial, unexciting and even boring to another person. One thing that everyone does share is a level of the intent behind the motivations for these goals. Delving into your psyche to extrapolate information such as, what it means to you, why you’re motivated for this goal and what lengths are you willing to go to achieve it are all incredibly useful questions that can give you more information on yourself as well as your “why”.
How bad do you want it?
Goals and the level of the motivation behind them can be quite synonymous with one another. A 16-year-old teenager may want to be a top-level recruit to college in his sport but have the drive and work ethic of someone who isn’t going anywhere. Big goal, a small ticket to get there. A 50-year-old dad may want to drop a little body fat and get a tad fitter to be able to play with his kids for longer and is committed to achieving this goal, making sure that every day he’s better than he was previously. Smaller goal, a much bigger ticket to get there.
The goal means little without an appropriate plan and action to bring it into reality.
A practical activity you can do to come away from this post with valuable information is to ask yourself the following 3 questions. The more honest and real you are with yourself, the more you have to gain.
Question 1 - What does this goal mean to you?
Be clear and as articulate as possible here. Write down exactly what achieving this goal would mean to you, how it would affect your life. What do you see changing after completion of this goal? How will you move on after you successfully/unsuccessfully reach this goal?
Question 2 - What motivates you to achieve this goal?
It may be a goal you’ve had since childhood and that’s all you see it as but dig a little deeper than that. You may have seen a role model performing similar feats and it’s now manifested as an idealistic goal in your subconscious without you knowing. You may feel that you never met your potential in X so you don’t want the same to happen with Y. It may be because you naturally want to compete and be the best and that alone drives you. Everyone is motivated by different things.
Question 3 - What lengths are you willing to go to attain this goal?
The higher the ambition, the higher the sacrifice required to match it. Becoming a starter on your local high school/club team will require a very different amount of work to making it as an all-star in a professional sporting league. Often people want the achievements, glory and accolades that being an all-star comes along with without paying any of the dues along the way. Countless hours spent training, recovering, honing your craft may be spent working on other skills, at bars and parties with friends or spent watching Netflix. Neither of these is right or wrong, it all comes down to being honest with yourself regarding the sacrifices you can make.
A great example of pure determination and grit to achieve one’s goal can be seen with Michael Jordan’s performance in game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals. What came to be known as the “MJ flu game” was one of the all-time showings in finals series by a player, not for his statistical contribution, but the circumstances that accompanied it.
Jordan missed multiple team events the day of the game and was found curled up in a fetal position and vomiting in his room with flu-like symptoms. He proceeded to spend the entire pre-game warm-up in a dark room vomiting with ice packs on his head in an attempt to cool down his fever. What happened next, no one would predict (other than Jordan himself). Jordan exploded for 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists with the game-winning with less than a minute left that gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead in the finals.
Why was this so impressive? Most people in that condition would falter and likely watch their teammates with their heads in a bucket from the sidelines. MJ wasn’t going to let that happen. His “why” was much bigger than the illness he was suffering from. His mind was controlling his body as opposed to letting it dictate how he was feeling. He controlled his performance and the outcome of the game, regardless of other circumstances. There’s plenty of images and footage that shows you essentially collapsing every time there was a quarter break or time out, this is where he rested. This is a perfect example of how the mind is in charge of the body.
The information we gather on ourselves, our goals and the underlying foundations that hold them up from these questions can be invaluable to us understanding our internal psychology and getting the best out of ourselves. What your goal means to you, why you want it and how far you’re willing to go to get it are much deeper questions than they may appear and may need to be pondered for quite a while to draw a tangible & useful answer out. Once you have this answer though, you’re more equipped to go about the journey of achieving your goal!