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I often think about Vince Lombardi’s famous speech, which is called “What it Takes to be Number One.” At the end of the speech, Lombardi says that any man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear, is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle, but victorious. I think that’s so true in describing when one’s finest hour is.

Think about a time when you have set a goal and then gone and done everything you could to make that goal and you made it. That is one of the most remarkable feelings that a person can ever have.

Sometimes even if you don’t necessarily “win,” you still feel good because of all the effort you put in. For instance, say you set a goal and then poured everything you had into making that goal, but you didn’t quite hit your goal. Did you lose? Not really, because you have put all of your time, energy, and effort into reaching your goal. The outcome is not always what matters. What does always matter is the effort you put into every task. Total effort equals total victory.

Unfortunately, sometimes there will be effort without results. You will never, however, get results without effort. It is all about habit formation. If you have a goal, do everything you can to reach that goal. Hopefully, even if you do not reach your goal, you will have formed some positive habits. That way, the next time you set a goal, you can work toward it with your better habits and you will be more likely to reach it.

Often times I see people who have ambitious goals. They really want to do something and they have great ideas, but they can’t find the motivation. They don’t apply the effort. How can those people find motivation? How can they put forth the effort to reach their goals?

First of all, if someone has a goal in mind but they can’t find the motivation to pursue it, I think that he or she really does not want it. It’s like saying I would like to have instead of I need to have. There is a big difference between a student that begins the semester by saying, “I am determined to get an A in this class” and the student who says, “It would be nice to get an A.”

Many people think they have goals when they say, “I want this to happen.” That’s a wish, not a goal. A goal is wanting something, needing something so badly that you are willing to make sacrifices and work as hard as you possibly can to make that happen. It goes back to the chapter on pleasurable methods vs. pleasurable results. If a student is determined to get an A in her class, she recognizes that there will not be pleasurable methods of achieving that goal. She will have to spend two hours on homework every day. She will have to spend some nights and weekends in the library but that is okay because she will get the result she is aiming for.

If someone is struggling with motivation, the first thing I will say is, do you really want that pleasurable result? If they are unsure, then it probably is not very important to them. If they say, “Yes, that is important,” then the next question is, why? Why is reaching that goal so important to you? The reason that student wants to get an A in her class is so that she can have a good GPA when she graduates. She gets it; she’s connecting the dots. It’s all about looking at the big picture.

The results may not come right way, but that’s okay. If you work hard, good results will come. It’s not if, it’s when. It might take a week, a month, or even a year, but results will come if you form good habits and put forth the effort to reach your goals. If you keep working day in and day out, at some point success will be inevitable.

A while ago, my son wanted to buy a snowboard for the coming winter. He wanted it really badly, so I asked him what he could do to earn it. He offered to cut the grass. I asked about his grades and agreed to pay him for every 100% he got on a test. He earned enough to put the snowboard on layaway and three months later he paid it off. During those months he was saving up, he studied harder than he ever had and he always mowed the lawn on time. He put in the effort to achieve his goal.