Discipline Over Motivation

How many times have you been so motivated to do something or make a change in your life, only to give up on it soon after starting?

Don't worry, you're not alone.

I see the phenomenon happen all the time in the fitness world, especially come January. Whether it be at the gym or yoga studio, everyone is motivated to start the gym or their new fitness regime, only to be burned out in less than 21 days! It is not surprising to me that this happens to so many individuals.

You see, anyone can commit to a new fitness program or challenge when they're feeling motivated. But what happens when the “honeymoon phase” wears off? I’ve found that in these cases, it is ultimately discipline that will carry you through.

Did you know that even professionals lack motivation at times?

I recently attended a seminar by Mike Horn, a world-renowned explorer and former mental conditioning coach of the German National Soccer Team (the reigning World Cup Champions). Mike explained that there are many times that even world-class professionals feel stuck and unmotivated to train and practice. What makes the difference in champions is that they are disciplined enough to commit to their practice even when they don't feel like it. 

Mike told a story about when we was exploring Antarctica. In below freezing weather, there were certainly many mornings he woke up feeling unmotivated to venture out in the cold. For him, he was disciplined enough to get himself up and out there day after day because his life depended on it.

In my own experience, I've learned that motivation, while attractive and powerful at first, doesn't really last. Motivation is often brief, and many people (myself included) tend to lose it. That's why I believe that motivation is fickle, and that discipline is what really counts.

There are certainly many days when I wake up feeling unmotivated- not wanting to work out, do yoga, meditate, or go to work for sure- but I am disciplined enough to get past that resistance and get my butt out of bed to wherever I need to be. When the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I am not always motivated to get out of bed and go after the day, but I am disciplined enough to give up my excuses and hit my daily rituals, because I know my day will be much different if I don’t.

In life, when the weather, conditions, and events are less than appealing, it's ultimately your discipline that will carry you through into your compelling future. When we discipline ourselves to take on the harder and challenging things, we may find that it gives us more freedom, time, and availability to do other things in our lives that are more enjoyable and easy. Our discipline and willpower is like a muscle (a mental muscle, at that). The more we flex it, the stronger it gets. So remember to choose to stay disciplined over motivated. It can make all the difference, especially when things get tough!

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