The One Reason People Can't Force Themselves to Work Toward Their Goals

Dacy Knight
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Christian Vierig/Getty

We can all relate to the feeling of knowing exactly what we need to do to succeed but simply being unable to bring ourselves to do it. This behavior can be as simple as procrastinating instead of studying for an exam in school, or not making the time to work outside of your job's work hours if you're looking to change careers. The path is clear, as is the destination, but getting on the road is its own challenge.

Someone recently took to question-and-answer site Quora to pose the question "Why can't I force myself to do the things that I know will make my life better? How can I change that?" While many responses touched on the usual suspects like procrastination or being wired to seek instant gratification, the top-viewed answer from community member Nicolas Cole hit on an interesting point we don't often consider.

Cole asserts, "The number one reason most people struggle to change an aspect of themselves, no matter how aware they are of the thing that needs changing, is because the reason they want to do it is a means to an end." If you know you need to study to get your dream job but still can't bring yourself to study, it probably isn't your dream job. If it truly were, you wouldn't hold the mindset that it's a destination and that studying is simply a means to an end.

Instead, you would love immersing yourself in the material that is leading to your dream profession. "You would be so fascinated by the art or the craft or the material that you honestly wouldn't care about the destination," Cole writes. "In fact, you would almost dread any sort of 'destination,' because that would mean the end of the journey itself."

So if you're finding yourself unable to get motivated to get on track to your goals, you should first reconsider whether the achievement is actually something you truly want, and second, reframe your mindset to consider the journey as part of what you love.

Now discover nine quotes that are all the motivation you need right now.

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