Yes, motivation can be a very helpful, positive state of mind. You are feeling good about your work. You are feeling amped to get down to it. You are inspired, ready, revved up!
But don’t let motivation fool you!
Because at the end of the day, motivation is just a state of mind – just a feeling. And as you probably know all too well: feelings are fragile, fickle, and often fleeting. You cannot rely on motivation to stick around when the going gets tough.
If you just focus on motivation, then you teach yourself that you can only work when you are feeling good.
But you know what is always there, even when you feel like giving up? Do you know what will get you through your work even when you don’t feel like doing it — even when you are in a rotten mood, feeling bad, or not at all motivated?
Discipline beats motivation every time!
Discipline is there when motivation quits on you. Discipline is hard rock — it’s a solid foundation. Discipline is what will keep you studying when life tries to take the wind out of your sails. Discipline is what will keep you focused on your goals when things get tough.
What you need to ask is not, “How do I get motivated to work?” but rather, “How do I get myself to work even when I don’t feel motivated?”
If you start building up discipline, you will be able to get the work done no matter how you feel, what obstacles you face, or what happens in your life.
Here is what you can do to start cultivating discipline:
- Be more organised. You will soon realise that it gets much easier to stay disciplined while working in a well-organised environment.
- Be end-goal oriented. Always remind yourself that there is a reason why you are working hard whenever you feel like giving up.
- Make yourself a schedule and daily to-do lists and stick to them!
- Remember to reward yourself for sticking to your schedule and accomplishing your goals.
- Remove temptation by switching off your phone, television, or Facebook feed when there are tasks at hand.
- Get to bed early enough to be well rested, while getting up early enough to get things done. Find a sleeping routine that works, and stick to it.
- If you fall, just get back up again. Being disciplined is something you need to practise, and you won’t always get it right. But don’t give up!
- Remember that discipline in one part of your life will seep into all the other parts of your life. So be disciplined in everything you do: eating, getting up in the morning, working out, studying, and working.
“If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life” – Bruce Lee
Motivation is not bad in itself, mind you. Motivation is often the match that sparks the flame. But discipline is what’s going to keep that fire burning, even through those cold winter nights when you just want to give up.
Motivation is great when you need a bit of instant inspiration. But in the long run, discipline will help you win every time.