Rule #58. Motivation will get you to the starting line. Discipline will get you across the finish line.
We love motivation. Motivational quotes, speeches, films, and songs. I’ve been known to pull up compilations of motivational speeches on YouTube when I’m having a rough day or need a little extra push. Motivation is great, and maybe we’d all like a little more of it. IBut it’s not the only thing we need to emerge triumphant. Throughout my life I’ve had motivation, but lacked the determination to do what I need to do to achieve my goals. I lacked discipline, and make no mistake, discipline is every bit as important as motivation is.
Motivation will get you started, but discipline will get you to the finish.
Whatever goal you’re working to accomplish, something has inspired you to reach for it. Something or someone has motivated you to start down that path, and that’s fantastic. There’s nothing like some good motivation, that’s for sure!
But motivtion can falter, it can wane, and sometimes it’s easier to lose than regain. That’s where discipline comes in. When you’re disciplined, it won’t matter if you’re feeling motivated. Discipline keeps you working toward your goals even when you don’t want to do the work.
Motivation will get you to start saving money, but discipline will keep you on budget when you see something new that you want but don’t really need.
Motivation will get you to change your diet, but discipline will keep you on course when you’ve had a rough day and you want to eat a whole pizza and a tub of ice cream.
Motivation will get you to start working out after work, but discipline will keep you training even when you’re tired from a day of meetings.
Motivation is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s when you put motivation and discipline together that you start seeing great results.
“So, how do I cultivate discipline?”
Well that’s a good question. First, recognize that you already have some discipline. After all, you probably don’t want to go to work every single day that you have to, right? But you do anyway, because you know you have to. That’s discipline. So just start extending that to other areas of your life, one at a time.
It’s important to not overwhelm yourself if this is a challenge for you. You can’t expect to change your diet, budget, activity level, and entire lifestyle in one fell swoop. Just pick something that you do on a schedule, and don’t deviate from that. Do you exercise every Monday, Wednesdy, and Friday? Then don’t miss those days unless it’s absolutely necessary. Talk to your team about it, so they can help keep you accountable. Most importantly, just stick with it. If you mess up, don’t give up. Learn from your mistake, don’t beat yourself up about it, and try again.
If you keep at it, you’ll find that it gets a little easier. It isn’t so hard to stick with your diet, training program, or budget. Then you can start adding a little more. You’ll feel good about that, and you’ll feel even more motivated than before!
Because when you have discipline, it will lead to motivation.
So when you’re feeling motivated, don’t hesitate to get started. But don’t quit if that motivation wanes; stick with it! I promise you that if you stay disciplined and keep doing the work, your motivation will return.
I’ll see you out there!
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is an ongoing weekly article that gives potential guidelines for how we can all live a more adventurous life.