Motivation Alone VS Discipline

If you want to get anything done, there are two basic ways to get yourself to do it.

The first option is to try to motivate yourself. The second very unpopular but entirely correct, discipline.

Motivation, generally speaking, operates on the assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to complete a task. This may or may not be true at times. Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings.

Actually completing tasks is what gives us the energy that chronic procrastinators think they need to initiate tasks in the first place. How profound.

You don’t wait until you’re an Olympic lifter to start training. You train to become an Olympic lifter.

If action is conditional on feelings, waiting for the right mood will get you nowhere fast. I know that too well, and wish somebody pointed it out for me 35 years ago before I learned the difference the hard way.

The right question to ask is “How do I make my feelings irrelevant and do the things I consciously need to do without complaining about it?”.

The point is to cut the link between feelings and actions, and do it anyway. The other problem with motivation alone is that is has a very little shelf life. Once you’ve left the gym, you are on your own and I’m not there. Then what?

The tasks required to reach our goals have no required mental states. For consistent, long-term results, discipline trumps motivation.

Motivation alone is trying to feel like doing stuff. Discipline is doing it even if you don’t feel like it.

How do you get discipline? By building habits – starting as small as you can manage, even microscopic, and gathering momentum, reinvesting it in progressively bigger changes to your routine, and always getting positive feedback.

I’m always here for you!

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