Motivation Is A Good Start, but Self-Discipline Is Sustainable

The Motivation Myth: Lack of success is due to a lack of motivation. 

Motivation is defined as the reason or desire to act in service of a goal. Another definition states that motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. The latter definition is a lot more expansive and extends beyond most people’s definition of motivation. 

Motivation is often the “why” a person gets up in the morning to set about a certain activity. However, self-discipline helps to guide, refine and ensure that you consistently do that activity. In other words: Motivation may get you in the race, but self-discipline will get you to the finish line. 

Self-Discipline: The Necessary Component

Self-disciple is the ability to pursue a certain goal or set of actions even when not particularly motivated. It is often a lack of self-discipline, not motivation, the leads to failure in accomplishing a specific goal. 

“Motivation may get you in the race, but self-discipline will get you to the finish line.”

Motivation vs Self-Discipline — They rhyme, but they’re not the same:

I want work out more often to improve my mental and physical healthI will wake up an hour early to work out for at least 30 minutes each day
I need to increase the number of calls I make to prospects so that I have more opportunities to convert prospects to new customers.I will make 50 to 60 calls per day to prospects and track activity in a CRM
I’d like to start a new business and acquire investors to free up personal capitalI will create a business plan and pitch to a minimum of three investors by April 1

Without Self-Discipline, Motivation Falls Flat

Motivation is typically the impetus or “why”, whereas self-discipline is the specific, systematic, measurable action or set of actions that determine the “how”. Motivation is a necessary component to help shape and define needed actions. However, the examples above demonstrate that motivation is a good start, but self-discipline is needed for sustainable success. 

Self-discipline requires consistency and process, while motivation is often times driven by a momentary feeling. Have you ever listened to a motivational speaker or read a book that had really great information and lots of notable ideas that were exciting – and yet you implemented nothing? The initial motivation did not create a sustainable shift or change in your mindset or actions. How does knowing that motivation is often fleeting or may need to change over time help you? 

  1. You better understand the importance of going beyond the reason why you want to accomplish a particular goal. 
  2. Exploration beyond the initial motivation allows you to direct attention from the excitement of the moment to actionable, repeatable steps. 
  3. Self-discipline is what will enable you to document and take those actionable steps on a regular basis (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly) and accomplish the specific goals identified.

Self-discipline is really about having the self-control to be consistent on a course on days where you may not be motivated to do so. It is the workout routine that becomes habit, even when you are tired. It is limiting social media activities in order to ensure that you make the 50 to 60 telephone calls to prospects in order to convert them to customers. While motivation is valid and valuable, self-discipline will always be the necessary sustainable component to ensure that you get into gear and do the things necessary to successfully accomplish your goals.

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