Who here has ever been super jazzed to start a new goal? You feel that rush of motivation flooding your system. You tell everyone you’re going to lose weight, learn guitar, write a book, whatever. You’re so committed…for a week, maybe two.
Then suddenly—poof!—the motivation vanishes. Your guitar collects dust, the weight creeps back on, your book stalls on chapter one.
Why can’t you follow through? Welcome to the motivation-discipline gap.
As some wise soul on the internet put it: “Discipline will take you places that motivation can’t.” Preach!
Now, let’s get into it.
Motivation Offers Short-Term Fuel
When motivation strikes, you feel pumped up and ready to crush your goals. It provides an energizing blastoff, revving your engines to pursue dreams and break through barriers.
But motivation is often short-lived, fading when the novelty wears off, or roadblocks arise. While thrilling, motivation offers fleeting fuel for the journey ahead.
Discipline vs. Motivation
This is where self-discipline comes in—the ability to stick to something past the point of motivation. Discipline means following through on your workout routine, writing session, or learning commitment, even on tired, unmotivated days.
Discipline provides a steady rhythm to keep progress going as motivation’s initial sparks fizzle out. It pushes you to show up and keep inching forward between sprints.
Combining Both is Ideal
To get the best of both worlds, use motivation’s energy to establish discipline habits and routines. When excitement strikes, quickly build structures that will carry you after motivation dips.
Motivation initiates action, discipline maintains consistency over time. Together they can energize AND sustain your journey.
Tips to Build Discipline Over Motivation
Alright, now that you understand why discipline should be your bigger focus rather than motivation, you must be wondering how you can incorporate some of it into your life.
After all, becoming disciplined and creating systems in life can be a very difficult task. I know because I’ve been through that journey myself.
Here are some tips that have really helped me and I’m sure will help you too:
- Start Small for Success: Focus first on creating tiny daily habits like making your bed each morning or reading 10 pages a day. Tiny consistent actions snowball into major momentum.
- Make a Routine: Carve out specific blocks of time devoted to your goal every day or week, whether it’s 30 minutes of writing or 3 days of exercise. Ritualize disciplines.
- Eliminate Distractions: Remove temptations and obstacles that derail focus during goal time. Silence phone notifications, shut off the TV, close browser tabs.
- Schedule Rewards: Celebrate meeting discipline milestones with small treats to positively reinforce behaviors. Enjoy a smoothie after a week of workouts, or buy a book after finishing a draft.
- Stay Accountable: Share your goal with others and use tools like deadlines, check-ins, and progress tracking to maintain discipline. Peer accountability helps persist on off days.
While motivation may start the engine, discipline is the fuel that goes the distance. Combine motivation’s flash with discipline’s dependability.
Cultivate routines that outlast emotions, keeping you on track when passion wanes. Consistency—not perfection—is key. It’s time to bridge the gap and unleash your inner tortoise!
End Note: Have you tried to incorporate discipline into your life? How successful was it for you? Did you prevail, or did the motivation fade away?
I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments down below.
And while you’re here, also feel free to let me know if this article helped you in any way. I’m always open to feedback and looking for ways to make my writing better for the reader.
Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂