You know the feeling. It’s the CrossFit Games season and you’re inspired by the athleticism, hot bodies, and amazing lifts. Monday, you’re at the gym ready to give 110% to your new goal of being ripped and strong.
This is motivation. And post Games weekend, your levels of motivation are high.
Motivation is defined as an internal process, a condition that desires change. When motivation is engaged, it provides drive and direction to take action.
Motivation is a feeling. It is emotion, it makes your heart beat faster and gives you butterflies in your stomach.
Motivation then, is what gets the ball rolling. It is the initial nudge of excitement you need to pursue a goal.
The problem with motivation is that it runs out of steam. It is a fair-weather friend and doesn’t stick around very long.
The reality is that success is often challenging and always hard work. The road blocks on the way keep chipping at that initial feeling of motivation. Nobody “feels” like getting out of bed at 04:00 to train when it’s cold outside. Nor do we “feel” like swopping the fried chips for cauliflower and broccoli. We don’t always “feel” like doing the hard things that are required from us to achieve great things.
This is where discipline shines. Discipline supports you when your fickle friend motivation is nowhere to be found.
Discipline is the process and system underlying success, the habits and tools you develop to enable your goals. Discipline is action and is not reliant on the right “feeling” and right time to present themselves.
So how do we cultivate discipline?
- Be clear on your goals and their underlying reasons
- Have somebody you are accountable to
- Build small and easy to achieve habits that are aligned to your goals
- Develop the right mind set – accept upfront that times will get tough and resist the urge to complain
- Identify and remove or mitigate potential barriers
If your goal is to eat a healthy diet, then eating one serving of vegetables a day is a small and achievable habit to begin with. Remove the barriers to this goal by clearing the junk from your kitchen. Find the best quality vegetables you can afford and research tasty and healthy preparation methods. Share the goal with your family and friends so they keep you accountable. Soon, eating a portion of vegetables becomes second nature and you don’t need to think about it anymore. Cue the next new habit.
Motivation and discipline each have their place. The secret is to know when and how to use them optimally.