Your novel is made up of outer conflict and inner conflict. The outer conflict is what we observe. It’s the plot, the incidents inciting action and moving our story forward.
An outer conflict could be war, divorce, medical issues, political instability… The sky is the limit. All you need is a good imagination and the ability to pull it all together.
In order for the outer conflict to work, the protagonist has to engage. The outer conflict usually starts out at one level, and the stakes are raised, making a bad situation worse until it’s almost impossible to overcome.
You want action and excitement, but remember, the inner conflict is what will connect your reader to the protagonist and pull them into the story. By showing the protagonist’s inner conflict, you are allowing your reader to see things through his/her eyes and to empathize with him/her. You are creating that emotional bond. You’re building a relationship between your protagonist and your reader.
Inner conflicts could be the desire to be loved, the need to be understood, stress due to financial issues, guilt, jealousy, fear of failure, pride…
Something else to think about.