Discipline vs Motivation


Mute the motivation speech. Put down the self-help book. The real reason why you’re not getting what you want in life comes down to whether you rely on motivation or discipline to achieve your dreams.

At some point in our lives, we wonder why we aren’t getting what we want out of life. Many of us turn to the realm of personal development, which offers inspiring stories and stirring speeches to keep us going.

Today, countless motivational speakers and self-help gurus share insights on how they built their successes from scratch. They inspire with how they went from nothing to achieving an abundance of health, wealth, and happiness.

The Problem with Motivation

The books are great. So are the speeches.

But what happens when the fire burns out?

The problem with motivation is that it relies on an external factor—what someone else says or does—to keep us moving in the right direction toward our goals.

How far you go becomes completely dependent on a state of mind that comes and goes. This means the effect of motivation can be fleeting.

Zig Ziglar acknowledged this reality when he said, “People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

While an encouraging book, speech, or seminar may be enough to spark a fire, it’s not enough to keep you fueled through the inevitable challenges you’ll face along the way.

Use motivation to get started, but don’t expect it to sustain you. That’s where good habits and the practice of discipline come in.

Discipline Keeps You Going

Motivation often falls short when planning a day-to-day routine geared toward personal development and success.

The real key to long-term success is discipline.

Discipline has been defined as doing what you know you should do, even when you don’t want to do it. Or in the words of famed leader Jim Rohn, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

It’s getting up out of bed at 5 a.m. to hit the gym because you’ve committed to it. Or making those extra phone calls to reach your goals, even when you’re tired and don’t feel like it.

Discipline will carry you across the finish line long after motivation has left. It works because unlike motivation, discipline is an internal force that is within your control.

Good discipline comes from good habits, practiced daily.

How to Get More of What You Want Out of Life

How many times have you wished for something to happen in your life, only to find the opposite result seeming to manifest with ease?

It’s easy to give up. To think that success just isn’t meant for you.

But there’s a huge difference between wishing for something and consciously willing something to happen.

Living an unconscious life means you can’t clearly see your goals. Relying on external motivation means it’s too easy to procrastinate, putting things off until tomorrow, next week, or never.

We all find different ways to do prolong getting tasks done, and for several different reasons.

We’re scared that what we set out to do will fail. We enjoy the comfort of not trying. Sometimes, there’s just too much on our plate to tackle everything. By setting discipline into motion, procrastination is lessened.

When you add discipline to your dream-building tool belt, you master the art of excelling at the things you can control, no matter what happens around you.

Whether it’s following through on a healthy eating plan, getting exercise in each day, or finishing up a project, discipline makes the difference.

Remember high school physics? Newton’s first law of motion says that “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.”

Unlike short-term motivation, with discipline, you remain in motion. Your continuous activity drives more activity, and more results.

So when you’re thinking about how to make a meaningful impact on your life, seek out ways to enhance your discipline. It’s a surefire way to improve your long-term success.

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