How Badly do You Want It?


By Dr. Allison Belger

Maybe you want to be able to do five unassisted pull-ups in a row.  Or perhaps you would like to run a mile in under eight minutes for the first time in your life. Maybe you’ve been coveting a certain car ever since you graduated from college.  Maybe you’re hoping to lose a couple of inches from your belly, which has become significantly more challenging now that you’re in your forties and have two children.  Would you like to have a larger home, so each daughter can have her own room?   Maybe you’re in your thirties, wanting that dream job, or perhaps you’re in your twenties, yearning for that elusive graduate degree.  Perhaps you’re in your sixties, hoping to finally earn a lower handicap, after all of these years of golfing.

Sometimes, goal attainment is as simple as deciding you want something and going after it, with a clear plan of action and a reasonable amount of work.  More often than not, however, wanting something and making it happen is not a simple straight line from A to B.  With goals that require significant effort, time, focus, and other precious resources, the path from A to B is more of a long and winding road marked by detours, missteps, and plenty of frustration and self-doubt along the way.

Coming to terms with our desires and acknowledging that we really want something is never easy and often requires a dose of self-awareness.  But let’s assume you’re there: you know for sure what you want to accomplish. The question then becomes:  How badly do you want it?  Because, if you haven’t gotten it already, you’re likely going to have to work your tail off and make meaningful sacrifices along the way.

You will no doubt have good days and bad days, and you may have to push through many more of the latter in order to be rewarded with a paltry few of the former.  You’re going to come up with all sorts of creative reasons why you don’t really want the end product, after all.  It’s just not attainable, and you simply don’t have what it takes.  You really do love the things (foods, drinks, free time, etc.) you’d need to sacrifice, and life is just too short for that.  So, what’s the point? You’re also likely to run into some self-other comparisons that easily derail your focus. You may envy the acquaintance—the trust-fund baby who never had to work a day in his life and can buy whatever he wants.  If you’re shooting for pull-ups, you may covet the ease of the “natural athletes” at your gym who glide over the pull-up bar. Then there’s the friend whose parents are paying her graduate school tuition, and the neighbor who barely has to crack a book to sail through the program. You have neither parents to pay your way, nor enhanced intellectual prowess to succeed without putting in the time. It’s just too daunting!

So, how badly do you want it?  Are you willing to do what it takes to get what you want?  Are you willing to bust your butt at the gym (or at the track or on the golf course), day in and day out?  Are you willing to work long hours to prove yourself worthy of that coveted job?  Are you willing to opt out of relaxing vacations while you save your pennies so your girls can have their own rooms?  Are you willing to avoid cookies and milkshakes for as long as it takes to modify your midsection?  Can you handle the sore muscles, the late-night studying, the feeling of missing out socially? Are you willing to mix tears with sweat, always keeping the goal in mind?  Can you deal with the fact that there are no guarantees of success, despite your hard work?

No doubt about it: life isn’t fair.  We are not all dealt the same hand when we’re born.  We can’t have someone else’s body, or intelligence, or bank account. But we sure as hell can make use of what we’ve got and make alterations to what’s been given.

The question is: How badly do you want it?  Only you can decide!

**Related reading from the archives:  How Well do You Really Know Those Joneses, Anyway?**


  1. Thank you Dr. Belger.


  1. […] via How Badly do You Want It? – PSYCHOLOGY WOD. […]

  2. […] Love Read–How Badly Do You Want It? by Dr. Allison Belger from Psychology WOD. Watch–We’re All In This […]

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