Don’t Count On Motivation, Because Discipline Is The Key

Discipline Is King

Motivation is a fleeting state that requires a certain mental or emotional approach to reach a goal.

It fluctuates depending on outward conditions.

In contrast, discipline can help you conquer the toughest challenges.

For example, you may wake up with a cold or flu and have a 10,000 word report to write, yet not be motivated to complete it.

However, discipline commands you tackle the work knowing it must be completed, regardless.

Success depends on discipline because motivation comes and go. It entails chipping away at a goal until the desired outcome is realised.

Motivation is interrupted by excuses and fades steadily. This is why your motivation at the beginning of the year contracts towards the latter part.

“In other words, if you are an effective manager of yourself, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source. And you have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values,” states author Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

You mustn’t wait until the perfect conditions to begin a task. Rather, tackle it boldly until the conditions become perfect.

Motivation is an overused word, apparent in the corporate world where managers try desperately to inspire their employees.

Yet, in the sporting world motivation cannot be relied upon by athletes for success.

Winning athletes know discipline is the cornerstone of success. They consistently show up to training when they’re less inclined. Unforeseen circumstances may interrupt their preparation, yet they are determined to put in hours of dedicated practice.

Life has a way of dragging you every which way if you let it. This means if a crisis or unplanned event arises, you may be unmotivated to take action on your goal.

This scenario happens all too often.

If you think back on the previous week, did something unexpected affect your motivation?

Did it wane during the week or were you disciplined despite the interruption?

Author Jay Samit states in Disrupt Yourself, “By carefully studying your environment and analyzing your daily frustrations, you’ll find that opportunities for disruption start to jump out at you. Daily discipline is the key to this exercise. I tell my students to write down three things they notice could be improved every day.”

Get Feelings Out Of The Way

You must disassociate feelings with actions to reach your goals. This is the biggest impediment affecting people because they are dictated by their emotions, instead of seeing the goal as the prize.

You will enjoy reaching your goals more than the immediate gratification of succumbing to your emotions.

If you rely on feelings, you are less inclined to commit to the task at hand because you are dictated by short-lived emotional states.

Discipline means showing up time and again, irrespective how you feel. The goal has a greater purpose, so it is incumbent on you to stay committed until the end.

It’s clear, you don’t undertake a goal to play small. It’s about winning and achievement that make the pursuit exciting.

“The discipline of consistent action is what self-management is all about. It’s the only way to win and keep winning,” affirms author Larry Weidel in, Serial Winner: 5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success.

So, how can you be more disciplined and avoid counting on motivation?

First, create regular routines without over-committing in the early stages. If your goal is to exercise four times a week, build gradually instead of going all out in the first week.

The greatest impacts on your life will result from taking the first step and improving on it.

Gradual Improvements

In the sporting world there’s a term known as, marginal gains popularised by Sky Team’s cycling manager, David Brailsford. It is a concept referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” According to Brailsford it means, “The 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.”

At the senior level, most professional athletes are of a similar ability in terms of: performance, dedication and skill. What separates first from second or third is the smaller gains, the 1% such as: sleep, nutrition and recovery.

The 1% increments add up, leading to marginal gains. Therefore, discipline becomes the means to success.

“Success is actually a short race – a sprint fuelled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over,” state authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in, The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.

The key is to start small and make small increments towards your goal.

Second, discover your underlying motivation for pursuing the goal. Find a convincing reason to take daily action, even if it’s the smallest task, you are likely to stay committed.

People who have a compelling reason are disciplined until the goal is accomplished.

The desire must be imbued with enthusiasm, you will stop at nothing to achieve it.

“As Samuel Johnson said, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Anyone who thrives in any endeavour develops this discipline, the ability to be still, to stay the course, to grow down – no matter what. No matter how the world receives them. No matter what results they get initially,” affirms Derek Rydall in Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change.

The forces of life conspire against you in the form of resistance. If you succumb, your efforts will be in vain and your success squandered. Yet, if you take them into account, you will stay resolute irrespective of the circumstances.

Persistent action in the face of fear is paramount, as Susan Jeffers writes in her acclaimed book, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. With this approach, you reinforce your self-esteem each time you commit to a task.

Authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan state, “When you discipline yourself, you’re essentially training yourself to act in a specific way. Stay with this long enough and it becomes routine – in other words, a habit. So when you see people who look like “disciplined” people, what you’re really seeing is people who’ve trained a handful of habits into their lives.”

You must learn to think with the end in mind as Stephen R. Covey states.

Discipline replaces motivation because you show up consistently. The goal is too important to allow feelings to get in the way.

The late American motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”

I advise you not to allow regrets to impose upon your success.

Do Not Get Tired, Just Get Ready For Action

One inch past tired is more action and then you get what you want ultimately. But when you let the “tiredness” take over, failure happens. Recently, when I was faced with the fact of being “over taxed” in life, I realized a few things which I will list here:

Nothing is worth killing yourself over, and I do mean nothing.
Reality must always be faced honestly or you will die over it ultimately, directly or indirectly.
Ultimately, as long as there is breath in my (or your) lungs, failure is not permanent.
We are all about as happy and care free as we make up our minds to be.

Before I go on, I actually got part of that last thought bullet from Abraham Lincoln, and the care free part I added from a feeling of “so what, I will do my thing my way and I am accountable to myself only ultimately.

Sure, we can let life drain us until we are dead, but protecting ourselves from the drain is ultimately our responsibility and nobody else is responsible. So, I will go on with the list bullets.

Nobody can make us feel bad or genuinely destroy us without a fight, without our permission.
Sanity begins with real conscious thinking about why we are doing what we are doing, not so much how we are doing it.
The best trails in life are the ones we blaze ourselves and follow without let up fully.

Think about what I am writing and saying here deeply, the best responsibility we have is the responsibility we have for our own actions and results, and the more genuinely conscious we are, the more powerful over ourselves we are. That is the whole point of this article, responsibility for our results. In fact, consider this article an exorcism of sorts: The exorcism of getting the expectations of others off our backs and living up to our own genuine expectations. After all, nobody else lives the life of another person however hard they try. We all live our own lives, and work with our own consciousness always. So, do not feel guilty for not living up or down to expectations of others. Love yourself, that is where it is at anyway for good, bad, ugly, pretty or otherwise.

After all, there is nobody we can please or disappoint worse or better than ourselves. If we think we can control another, we really are fooling our own minds. So, control yourself, master yourself, start there and all else will be added. For in my reality, the genuine kingdom of heaven inside us comes down to a good attitude that works for our total good and impresses nobody but ourselves. Indeed, the sweet music of praise from others does not matter if you cannot respect yourself first. You must have good inside before you have it outside. That is the bottom line of this article.

My name is Joshua Clayton, I am a freelance writer based in Inglewood, California. I also write under a few pen-names and aliases, but Joshua Clayton is my real name, and I write by that for the most part now. I am a philosophical writer and objective thinker and honest action taker. I also work at a senior center in Gardena, California as my day job, among other things, but primarily I am a writer.

How to Get Started

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. So, we need to do the difficult things while they are still easy and do the great things while they are still small. We have to start where we stand, and work with whatever tools we have at our command, and better tools can be found as we go along.

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen. Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another. What we get by achieving our goals is not as important as what we become by achieving our goals. We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated because we will never win if we never begin. The key is to keep company only with people who uplift us, whose presence calls forth our best. When we fail we learn from the mistakes we made and it motivates us to work even harder.

I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything at the same time. So, we have to think of our priorities not in terms of what activities we do, but when we are able to do them because timing is everything.

The people who influence us are the people who believe in us. We might be a somebody who was once a nobody and did it because the more we do, the more we can do. I don’t believe we have to be better than everybody else. The most important thing is to believe that we have to be better than we ever thought we could be and reach our maximum potential.

If there is a chance in a million that we can do something, anything, to keep what we want from ending, we have to do it. We must act now and move towards our goals. We need to develop a sense of urgency in our life. Whatever we want in life, other people are going to want it too. So, we have to believe in ourselves enough to accept the idea that each of us have an equal right to have it.

The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare ourselves to overcome any obstacles that will come in our way as we climb the ladder of success because we can’t expect to hit our target if we don’t gamble and make it happen.