You don’t want it bad enough. An essay.


A few Christmas’s ago I went home and spent time with my family in Herndon, Virginia. A town about 20 minutes outside of D.C. It had probably been about 8 years since I was home for the holidays and it could not have been at a better time.

While I was home I went and got a haircut… stay with me, I swear there is a point to this.

I wanted to look sharp for family photos and my “do” was looking like a bee’s nest. One of my favorite parts about getting a cut is the chit-chat with your hairdresser. The woman cutting my hair that day had a thick accent, so naturally, I asked her where she was from.

“Iran,” she told me. Although, she had been in Virginia for the last 30 years.

She asked me where I was from and I told her I grew up in Virginia but now lived in California. It turns out she had spent some time living there as well and absolutely loved it!

I couldn’t argue with her. Cali is great, you really can’t beat the weather, the waves, and the melting pot of culture. However, I also told her I absolutely loved where I grew up in VA – It’s just so beautiful, green, and comfortable.

She gave me a sort of cock-eyed look… sorta like this…

stink eye baby
Photo credit

And told me she hated it and would love to be back in California.

I looked right back at her with a cock-eyed look. Mine sorta looked like this…

Photo credit

“Why don’t you?” I asked, after removing the cock-eye from my face.

Because I can’t she said. It would be too hard, too difficult, too overwhelming, and too much effort. I have everything I need here in Virginia, why rock the boat?

And that conversation led me to today’s article, you don’t want it bad enough. But here’s how to change that.

5-day course skinny

Do you want it bad enough?

I don’t think you want it bad enough.

I’m not trying to bring you down – Just trying to keep it real with you.

Most of us say we want something so bad that it hurts.

  • Drop 20 pounds
  • Quit our job and start living our passion
  • Travel more
  • Save money and create financial freedom
  • Run a marathon

But it’s just not true. That majority of us just want the reward, the feeling that we believe we’ll get from achieving it, we just like the idea of it.

We’re not willing to do what it takes – the hard work to actually get there.

I don’t ask my clients what their fitness goals are anymore. For the most part, 90% of them want the same thing. To look better naked

Instead, I ask them what they’re willing to give up.

What are you willing to give up, sacrifice, suffer through, accept, tolerate, put on hold, and struggle with to reach your destination?

Mark Manson sums this up beautifully in an article he wrote titled The Most Important Question Of Your Life.

“Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence — but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings, and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for

…People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions…”

If losing 20 pounds is your goal are you willing to go through sugar withdrawals, early fatigue, a sore body, waking up earlier to get in your workout, skipping late nights out, and drinks with friends?

  • Are you willing to decline the crap food in the buffet line at the party you’re at?
  • Are you willing to spend an hour or two every Sunday prepping meals for the weak?
  • Are you willing to be “the weird one” and order baked Salmon and extra veggies at dinner while everyone else is having lasagna and dessert?
  • Are you willing to accept responsibility for the results in your life today?
  • Are you willing to push through plateau’s and to never give up but instead re-evaluate when times get tough?

Ken Robinson, author of The Element tells a story about how he was extremely impressed by the talents of a keyboard player (Charles) in the band his brother was playing with one night.

Ken approaches the keyboard player at the end of the evening and tells him how talented he thinks he is. Ken comments that he would love to be able to play the keyboards as well as Charles.

Charles responds by saying “No, you wouldn’t.”

Ken is a little shocked by his response and insists that he really would love to be able to play the keyboard as well as him.

Charles elaborates and says “No, you mean you like the idea of playing the keyboards. If you’d love to play them, you’d be doing it.”

Are you willing to get started and put in the hard work or do you just like the idea of the end result?

What Your Excuses Really Are

The excuses that we tell ourselves are nothing but ways we try to protect our ego’s.

There’s always enough time if you know how to spend it and prioritize what you say you want to do

Blaming motivation for not being able to do something is ridiculous. Are you motivated to go to work every day? Heck no! But you’ve convinced yourself that you have to.

Are you motivated to breathe? Nope! But you know you need to.

One of the first healthy habits I ask clients to practice when we work together is to remove liquid calories and drink zero-calorie beverages only. This includes taking out any sugar, milk, or creamer in their coffee.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t do that. I have to have a little creamer in my coffee.”

Really? Do you have to have it?

I’m a huge fan of taking small steps that lead to big results. So if you’re drowning your coffee in 3 tablespoons of creamer every morning butting back to 2 is a great start but that’s not the point. If you’re telling yourself that you can’t remove creamer from your coffee but you have a goal of dropping 20 pounds, you’re going to have a real tough time.

Are you willing to get comfortable with the uncomfortable?

How Progress Works

Every goal you have, every mission you’re on, every purpose you feel you’re supposed to explore will be faced with challenges. It’s part of the hero’s journey.

For some reason we believe that change and progress move in a straight line, from A to B. This is almost never the case.

Remember the Tazmanian Devil cartoon? Progress usually moves like that. Darting around from one point to another. Sometimes things move in your favor and other times not so much.

The difference between those that end up achieving their goals and those that don’t more often than not is because they’re willing to deal with the ups and downs and to stay in the game longer than others.

Sure, we all want to be a little better each day but what if you’re not?

  • What if you f*ck it up?
  • What if you skip a workout?
  • What if you blow your diet?

Are you willing to get back up, stay with it, and avoid Ah f*ck it syndrome?

Don’t Give Yourself Any Other Option

I know you’ve been on a roller coaster before.

When you get to the top, right before you get on they give you two options.

  1. You can walk on the coaster
  2. You can walk to the left, under the velvet rope, and never get on

Option number 2 is known as the chicken gate.

But what would happen if you got face to face with the ride and there was no chicken gate. The only option you have is to get on, saddle up, and ride that ride?

A few years ago when I started this site I needed to remove my own chicken gate so I sold my truck, cut my expenses, and quit my job to pursue this blog full-time.

How are you giving yourself a chicken gate?

Trying to get back into shape but keeping junk food at the house?

Complaining about others holding you back but yet you’re holding onto toxic relationships?

Always talking about how bad you want to travel the world but don’t have the money, yet you refuse to cancel cable to help save up money for it?

Make success easier on yourself by removing those chicken gates and change your environment.

You Can Do One of Five Things

Hat tip to Susan Heitler over at Psychology Today for this one.

When faced with a challenge you can do 1 of 5 things.

  • Fight for what you want regardless of the consequences (not always smart, don’t be fooled)
  • Fold and give up and give it
  • Freeze and keep searching for information, do nothing, be a deer in headlights
  • Flee, turn your back, take your chicken gate, and get the hell out of dodge
  • Figure out how to solve the problem solve it, and move forward

At the heart of human behavior is the desire to have more positive experiences than negative ones.

Positive experiences are easy, the negative ones are hard. But it’s those negative or difficult experiences that often define us.

Think for a moment about some of your proudest moments in life. I guarantee that the majority of them are when you had to overcome great odds, obstacles or had to figure out solutions to difficult problems.

And if you feel like you haven’t had any experiences like that look at the people who you admire most. I guarantee that you admire them because they have shown the ability to overcome great odds.

Where To Go From Here

rock climbing @ lei pi shan, yangshuo china
Here’s the shortlist of what to expect when you have a big goal and say you really want to achieve it.

1. At some point you’re going to feel like you don’t know what to do. How bad do you want it?

2. At some point you or someone else may try to subconsciously sabotage you. How bad do you want it?

3. You’re going to be scared, experience fear, doubt, and want to give up. How bad do you want it?

When you want it as bad as you want to breathe then you’ll know you want it bad enough.

Constraints are advantages in disguise -Tim Grover, Relentless


Cloud photo – Rock Climber – Header