How badly do you want it? How badly do you want to achieve your goals? How badly do you want to be successful? We spent the last two columns discussing what you want, understanding why you want it, and how to properly set goals in order to achieve what you want. However, planning is the easy part, Now you have to go out and do it. No matter the path you take toward your goals, there are bound to be challenges that present themselves. This is inevitable, so think about potential challenges that you may face toward reaching your goals. If you want to lose 50 pounds this year, what will you do if you get sick or if you get injured? If you want to make a certain amount of sales, how do you handle a down month or a streak of “no thanks”? It is important to acknowledge that some of these scenarios may be out of your control, but the key is to have a backup plan if these situations become reality. One tool you can use is adjusting your performance goals along the way. For example, if you goal is to run around the neighborhood twice a week, but you are sick that week, you can run three times a week for the next two weeks to make up for the difference. Previewing potential challenges is important and should not stop you from reaching your destination. Motivation throughout this process is going to be key. Understanding your why is very important, but you have to be able to remind yourself of that reason and have motivational affirmations along the way to give you that quick boost of energy when things get tough. Asking yourself questions like “How badly do you want it?” telling yourself “You can do it!” or “Just one more mile” can help increase motivation, build confidence, and allow you to perform your best and keep going when you want to quit. Having a solid support system to help keep you accountable with your goals is just as important as self-motivation. There are times where you need to hear those motivational affirmations from somebody other than yourself, and that is just as good. Some people are more externally motivated than internally, therefore, it is acceptable to give yourself a reward at various checkpoints throughout your journey. This is another way to keep us motivated. For example, when I was on my journey dropping 40-50 pounds back in 2012, I allowed myself a “cheat day” every Sunday if I followed my meal plan the first six days of the week. This day would include sweets, or even pizza, but it was something to keep me motivated throughout the week because I really wanted that pizza. Enough talk. What can you do starting today toward reaching your goals? No more waiting, no “I will start Monday.” What can you do right now to get started? The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to reach your goals. The hardest part is starting. Once you start and you start making progress, the internal feeling you get will make it easier to continue along your journey to reaching your goals. Find out what you want, why you want it, how to go about it, get motivated, and get started!