Discipline Trumps Motivation

Here’s a key difference between those who get things done and those who don’t: Those who get things done do what needs to be done regardless of how they feel. Those who don’t, typically wait until they feel motivated to take action.

Taking Action When Motivated Is Easy

When you’re in the mood to do something, the easiest thing to do is take action but when you’re not in the mood, it can be quite difficult. If the key to success is taking action, then the key to taking action is to not rely on your current mood but your level of discipline.

There are lots of examples that can be used here. When the alarm goes off at 5 in the morning to wake you up so you can hit the gym before work, many people’s first response is to hit the snooze button. Since there aren’t any immediate negative consequences to not going to the gym, the decision to just stay in bed and skip the workout sounds appealing especially when your body just doesn’t want to get up.

Then there are those who live with a higher standard for themselves. Whether they feel like it or not, once the alarm goes off, their feet hit the ground. They know the longer they lie in bed and debate with their inner voice, the higher the chances they will remain in bed. They realize they can just continue to sleep and bask in the instant gratification that comes along with that but they also realize the results they’re after aren’t going to magically happen.

Another example would be how you spend your free time. Do you spend it doing pointless things or do you spend it developing a useful skill? One common goal that many people have is to learn something new from cooking to a new language, an instrument, programming, etc.

Having a goal and actually taking the steps to see it through are two very different things. When it comes to learning a new skill, time and patience is often required. Putting in the practice each day can be difficult. At first, while the idea is still new and exciting, you’ll likely be highly motivated so taking action will naturally be easy.

However, once that excitement phase dies down, once your progress starts to slow or the material starts to get more difficult, motivation tends to decrease. This is when most people end up quitting. They don’t feel the motivation so they think perhaps learning this skill isn’t for them.

When you aren’t motivated to do what you know you need to do, that’s when taking action is the most crucial. This is when you get the opportunity to strengthen your level of discipline. Discipline is like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it will become and the less you use it, the weaker it will become.

Here’s a resource to help you develop self discipline: http://www.studygs.net/discipline.htm

So here’s the bottom line:

If you want to accomplish all of the things you’ve dreamed about, forget relying on motivation. If it’s there, great, use it but more often than not, it won’t be there. During those moments, get yourself to follow through anyway. Remind yourself that the more you decide to take action, the easier it will become.

Accomplishing goals isn’t like what is shown in movies where there’s some time lapse of results accompanied by some inspirational music. In real life, the work can be tedious and the progress can be slow. There won’t be any fireworks and confetti and a crowd cheering you on.

Most of the time, it will be just you and your thoughts. Sometimes your thoughts will be on your side and other times, it won’t. Either way, you must continue to keep on keeping on.

Sound hard? It should because it is. This is why most people fail to realize their grand dreams. The good news is just by being able to discipline yourself to do the work, you’ll be ahead of most people. It won’t guarantee that you’ll get the results you’re after but you’ll have a much, much higher chance.

So, what’s that thing you’re supposed to be doing right now? Whatever it is, stop reading and go do it!

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