When it comes to reaching goals, it cannot be denied that motivation and discipline are both very important. These two words can seem very similar and are inevitably interchanged, too. But even though they are used in lieu of each other quite often, there is a difference between the two.
Both motivation and discipline are essential to success, but neither of these is easy to get a hold of or even sustain, so they can remain more aspirational than real.
Understanding what motivation and discipline mean and in what ways they can be similar and different are keys to applying them out successfully. Anyone looking to have more motivation or wanting to be more disciplined should know where each begins or has its limits.
Motivation is a solid rush of energy or focus on getting something done. Your strong desire or intent to go to the gym at the start of the year is motivation. This is the excitement you feel on your first day at work, or your energy to get things done and constantly moving that naturally happens when you start a new business. Things that keep us motivated to do a power of work, though it can be hard and difficult, are easily sustained by motivation.
Being motivated feels like anything is possible, and it usually makes us very productive. When we are motivated, our mind is powerful enough to sustain action and cause anything to happen. But motivation is also a very kinetic form of energy, and it is not limitless. Motivation can start running out at any point.
When motivation levels are low, it can be very hard to sustain action and maintain the same energy that made you very easily act on something seemingly so boring and impossible, for example. Motivation is inspiring and almost magical. But just like a potion, it can lose its power and cause us to stop forward motion.
Reality dictates that our achievements will be limited when we rely solely on motivation. Put simply; motivation is not enough. Taking action only when we feel motivated or ‘inspired' can make us habitually weak of will. Without a proper method or inner system that we can fall back on and rely upon anytime, we'll find ourselves often in a cycle, unable to move forward and progress with our life's biggest goals.
Unlock Your Full Potential: Explore our Personal Development Checklists
Where motivation ends, discipline begins. Self-discipline is something that does not come naturally to most of us simply because discipline requires us to live outside of our comfort zones. If there's one thing every person is automatically good at, it is living within their comfort zone, keeping habits and doing things the way we've always known them.
Unless you have made self-discipline a part of your approach to life, or were trained and conditioned to establish discipline in many aspects of your life, then it will need some getting used to and consciously learning and practicing discipline to be able to successfully manifest it.
Discipline is not easy at first, and this is why many people, no matter how badly they want to reach their goals, do not succeed. Lack of self-discipline can fail us when motivation wears out, and it is bound to wear out eventually.
Combine Them for Success
The best bit – Almost anything is possible when motivation is backed up by self-discipline. When you have the determined focus to make something happen regardless of the circumstances, no matter how long it takes, you have self-discipline. Motivation is what drives you initially, but discipline is what will sustain you, and mostly you will need more of the latter in your life when pursuing long-term goals.
Establish self-discipline and begin practicing it day by day. It often means doing the things you don't want to do, because you know you have to do them to achieve your desired results. It is tirelessly and persistently being consistent with your actions and plans day in and day out. When you look at it, discipline is far from easy, but when you build it, it gradually becomes second nature to you.
We all need self-discipline in our lives, more than motivation, really. No matter how great your dreams are, they cannot be sustained without discipline. Choose to practice and build discipline within yourself, and you'll make success a habit too.