Discipline vs Motivation

May 24, 2022 | Mindset

Motivation is extremely helpful to kick off a new habit, and trust me when I say if you have a good enough reason why, you’ll probably be a lot more successful than someone who doesn’t, but it’s not the most important thing…

So many people get stuck on the idea of motivation, saying ‘I’m not motivated enough’, or ‘I lose motivation too easily’. Motivation is extremely helpful to kick off a new habit, and trust me when I say if you have a good enough reason why, you’ll probably be a lot more successful than someone who doesn’t, but it’s not the most important thing.

Motivation can get you started, but it’s not what keeps you going. Motivation comes and goes without warning. It is unreliable, unpredictable and if you’re counting on motivation to ensure you achieve your goals, you are going to fall short.

What keeps you going is discipline. Discipline is making and keeping agreements with yourself to do what you say you’re going to do. Sure, life gets in the way sometimes, but discipline gets you up when your alarm goes off in the morning instead of snoozing and getting a few more minutes of sleep, discipline gets you putting your exercise clothes on and heading out for a walk instead of jumping in a hot shower to wake up, discipline keeps you on track with making healthy food choices majority of the time, discipline is the key!

You may say ‘well I obviously don’t have the discipline then’. Discipline is a skill, like many others, which can be learned, and constantly worked on. But most importantly, discipline is a decision. If you’re a person who hides behind excuses, if you’re a person who can always find a reason ‘why not’ instead of a reason ‘why’, if you’re a person who always looks for the easy road, this might hit a little bit too close to home, but the problem is you, you haven’t decided you’re willing to put in the effort to be disciplined.

Now don’t get me wrong, when I say discipline is a decision, I am not saying it’s an easy decision. Discipline is really bloody hard. Discipline means sacrifices, it means having self control, it means holding yourself to a higher standard and following through even when you’re tired, hungry or emotional. Discipline keeps your head in the game and your eyes on the prize (your goals) even when times get tough.

When some people think of the word discipline, they might think of a drill sergeant barking orders to soldiers in training in the cold, dark, wet early hours of the morning when they’ve been dragged out of bed, but it doesn’t need to be this extreme. Discipline can start with small promises we keep to ourselves, something as simple as making our bed as soon as we get out of it each morning. Now this will take you all of about 30 seconds. Do you agree that every single person on this planet can spare 30 seconds a day to do something?

Once you stick with this small habit change for a few days or weeks, it becomes second nature for you, and isn’t something you have to consciously think about doing anymore. From there you can start to build on these habits to make healthier decisions a part of your everyday life. Imagine that habit being around fitting your exercise in, getting moving more during the day, drinking more water, or eating good quality nutritious food… Do you see where I’m going here? We start small, and slowly build on your habits to get you to where you want to be. But we can’t get there if we don’t have discipline.