Simple. When your character wants something, you, the author, tell that character NO! Then make them earn it, fight for it, struggle to get it.
Write this struggle.
Throw obstacles in their path, throw giant hurdles at their feet, empty the gas tanks on their cars.
Have you seen the Walking Dead? Do those characters ever year the word yes? No! Everything they try to do as a group, the answer is NO. Everything each individual attempts, the answer is NO. They ask each other questions… the answer is NO.
Isolated. Alone. Together. Struggling. They’re never happy, (unless they have a hot shower.) they’re never content, they can’t stay in one place very long. Why? Because the writers said NO to their requests. All of them.
So that’s my tip for the day. (Month? Year?) As you’re writing, tell your character no and write that instead.