Or at least it keeps the characters moving.
Last post was about external goals. Many of you commented on internal ones too, which led me to think about the whole process.
A character having an external goal must first have a motivation. This is delved into pretty well in the book GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. I haven't read this book, but the gist of it is that every character having a goal must have a motivation for achieving that goal, and in their pursuit of that goal, there must be a subsequent conflict.
Your protagonist's (or even antagonists) desire to reach their goals can stem from some sort of internal conflict or value.
For example, in The Bad Boy's redemption my PI protagonist is someone who believes strongly in justice. Therefore, when a client's husband wrongs the protag's sister, she investigates him and discovers that he's shady. And so she becomes determined to bring this man down.
Her motivation stems from two things: one, her value of believing in justice and two, her internal conflict of being judgmental (it's a conflict because she's a Christian and we're supposed to be careful about that kind of stuff). The protag's motivation compels her to accomplish her goal, which should lead to some juicy conflict. In the story, that conflict comes in the form of one hot cop who wants to stop my PI's investigation.
So going back to motivations, what makes your characters tick? Why do they need to acheive their goal? I'd love to hear about what you're working on.