We’ve all had that feeling before. It usually strikes late at night, after we have been lurking on the internet or talking to a friend or doing whatever we stay up doing. You suddenly have the desire to get your life together and go out to accomplish your dreams. You write down all your plans for the future and the actions you’re going to take. You might even get started right away, going for a run that very night. Sounds pretty legit, right?
This is what we call motivation and as we all know too well, it does not last! The majority of people will wake up the following day, tired and in a slump, and postpone those goals they set so vigorously the night before. If we’re lucky, that burst of motivation might last longer, maybe a few days or even a couple of weeks. Soon enough, however, our motivation-fueled diesel engine runs out of gas and our train of progress comes to a screeching halt. Why won’t this feeling last longer? How can we accomplish anything if motivation is so temporary, so fleeting, so ephemeral? And worst of all, how do other people have seemingly endless motivation and can actually, consistently make progress on their goals? Maybe some people are just born that way, but you are destined to always fail because you weren’t?
I can describe this motivational dilemma we all face as humans so well, because I have been the biggest victim of it my entire life. This is not an “I” problem. This is a human problem. Motivation IS waning for all of us… Nobody is motivated all the time (if you meet the person, send them to me).
Stop depending on motivation. Motivation is a liar who will trick you over and over again and you will continuously fall for it’s games. You can’t rely on motivation to get your dreams. You have to rely on something else far more solid and dependable. Rely on discipline.
Discipline is motivation’s less charming cousin, but far more reliable and hard working. If motivation is a politician – speaking much, but accomplishing little – Discipline is a blue collar activist, working diligently behind the scenes to affect real change.
The problem with discipline is that he isn’t very trusting and it takes a while to become good friends with him. You have to force yourself to do things for him, at first, such as dragging your butt to the gym regardless of how you feel or refusing to eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s regardless of how stressful your day was. Discipline is built through repetitive little actions, but before you know it, you have built a solid foundation with discipline that will serve you daily in your goals. Once your habits have been set, everyday it is easier and easier to go out and do what you must do, you may even start enjoying the grind.
Sure enough, once you have established your bond with discipline, motivation will still come knocking at your door and you can enjoy his company while he is there, but when he leaves, you won’t be left at his mercy anymore because you have the discipline to do what you must do, with or without motivation.
“Discipline is doing what you know needs to be done, even if you don’t want to do it”