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Motivation vs. Discipline

A Determiner Of Your Success

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By Débora Coutinho | 13th December, 2022

It is not uncommon for people to experience a loss of motivation from time to time. A shift in perspective can help to rekindle it. But, rather than depending on motivation, one should focus on discipline.

A Pretty Accurate Story

Here's a situation: imagine someone who's just made a goal for themselves - they want a more active life, so they make a subscription to a local gym. On the first day, they're super excited about this project, thinking: this time, it's going to work. The first week is pretty nice: they've gone to the gym at least 3 times, they feel good, and they are going towards the set-up goal. But then, all of the sudden, all the excitement around this journey leaves, and they're left with demotivation and the feeling of failure, which eventually translates into abandoning the goal they set for themselves. The motivation that drove that person from the beginning disappeared as if it had never even existed. Seems accurate? Does it seem like something you've gone through, not necessarily regarding going to the gym, but also other projects and goals you've set for yourself? Well, most people have definitely experienced something like this, and that's why it is so important to discuss motivation, or better: the lack of it, and why it shouldn't stop us.

What Is Motivation?

Firstly, motivation is a pretty common thing, as we've all experienced it at least once. It's the excitement towards a dream, a goal, towards the journey to make what you aspire to become your reality.


According to Psychology Today, "Motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining our objectives."Hence, motivation is an incredible tool that helps us get that boost that makes us driven to achieve what we want. However, it's not a tool we can actually manage.

When Motivation Disappears

There's always that time when we simply feel like our effort is not being retributed. In the case mentioned above, the time when going to the gym doesn't seem so fun anymore, and the effort you've been putting towards your goal (whether you want a different body aesthetic or just to improve your health) is not paying off. You feel demotivated, and it's just easier to get back where you were before. That's it: motivation left, you're alone now.

It happens to everyone. That's why you can't count on motivation to keep you going: because it can be there sometimes, but you don't know when it leaves, or when it gets back, the only thing you do know is that it's not going to be there 100% of the time.

And Now What?

Well, if you can't depend on motivation, that for sure doesn't mean you can't get anything done. That's when discipline enters: on discipline, you can count on. Having discipline is hard, and you learn, throughout your journey, how to build it. It's a life-long process of feeling unmotivated but having that force that drives you no matter what, no matter how you feel: at the end of the day, you know that feeling great all the time is not a reality, but you still work hard and show up to the gym, for example, because it is when you're uncomfortable that change happens. No growth happens when you do the same.

That's why it's never good to rely deeply on motivation to achieve what you want. Build your discipline, show up and work hard: even if it takes a while, your effort pays off.

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