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Choose Discipline Over Motivation

Updated on April 9, 2019
Hacicu Bogdan profile image

Bogdan is a football, fitness and nutrition enthusiast in love with the process of becoming the strongest version of himself.

Why do we look for motivation?

Motivation is that inner feeling we have when we think about our goals and the achievements that put our heart and mind on fire. Though, most of the times is extremely difficult to keep that motivation sparkling when hardships appear or as the usual saying, when we don't feel like doing what we're supposed to do.

How many times have you been searching for some external motivation like a motivational video, article or a motivational quote?

I had a period in my life when I was dependent on them. Everyday I was watching hundreds of motivational videos so I can get the courage and energy to do what needed to be done. I was liking and subscribing to every motivational page I could with the intention of having as many motivational photos and quotes on my Facebook newsfeed every morning I woke up and also during the day.

But then I started going out in the world trying to write my story of becoming the strongest version of myself and soon I was busy all day long so my time looking at motivational videos or photos dropped exponentially.

The thing is, as in every journey of growing stronger, obstacles and hard times show up. As a result, I found myself losing the motivation to keep doing my daily tasks like eating healthy, studying, reading etc., so I started binging on external motivation again.

After some time I've had enough of that and I started looking for ways to keep my motivation levels high all the time. What I found instead was...DISCIPLINE!

That's right....discipline is what you need for growing stronger day by day and not motivation. Elliott Hulse said in one of his videos which I will link below that motivation gets you going, but discipline helps you get things done.

I can say that besides the moments I explained previous, my discipline was and it still is above average. If I think clearly, even than there were a lot of things I accomplished just by being more disciplined than the other people. Probably, my football career played a big role in this since I had to develop the discipline of going to training everyday whether I felt like it or not. It didn't matter if it was snowing, raining, too cold, too hot or maybe I had an injury. Still to this day I rarely can think of a day without some form of training, mainly because it is something I love to do but I've also developed a habit and commited to act on it every single day so I can reach my goals.

We will talk more about discipline immediately so READ ON....

Why do people like feeling motivated?

Now that we've established the difference between motivation and discipline let's see why do people love feeling motivated.

Watching motivational videos is like getting a pump after your workout the difference being in the fact that you get it before going into action. The levels of excitement, determination and willpower after watching something motivational increase rapidly and probably your dopamine and adrenaline levels get high too, so you feel that euphoria urging you to smash that workout, finish that project or lose those last 5 kilograms.

Unfortunately, motivation is a short-term feeling, lasting only a few hours and then it goes away, leaving you with nothing more than the excuses of why you can't do what you said you're going to do or....

with the discipline you have developed until then.

In other words, if you don't take action immediately after getting that feeling of motivation you won't be able to rely on it later because it diminishes very quickly and if you don't have a strong disciplinary habit failure it's much more certain to appear than success.

Your ability to discipline yourself to set clear goals, and then work toward them every day, will do more to guarantee your success than any other single factor.

— Brian Tracy

Success and discipline

Simply put, discipline supports you in getting things done. It is a trait that doesn't let you run on emotion like training only when you feel like it, eating healthy only when you have all that you need at home or working hard only when it's sunny outside. By being disciplined you make a commitment that you will do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals even when things don't go as planned, when it seems like everything is against you and you're on that edge of giving up. That's when discipline imposes its power and forces you to keep going and pushing despite setbacks.

Discipline is a much more reliable trait than motivation because it helps you keep a structured and organized order of the daily tasks you need to do, it gives you clarity because when you have a strong discipline then it is easier to form habits because you know that if you planned out your training tomorrow at 6 P.M. than this is what you're going to do no matter what. This way you build consistency, which plays an immense role in reaching success, you build strong habits which over time make it easier and easier to do the tasks scheduled,which then helps you become more efficient and productive with your time.

By being more productive, efficient and having a clarity of your daily assignments you're going to build upon those small victories everyday and as a result you will become more confident in yourself and your self-esteem will increase a lot.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening- it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of living for those who are trained in this way.

— Hebrews 12:11


Summing this up, my opinion is that discipline should control more of our life than motivation simply because it gives us the power to act on our dreams and keep us on the right track no matter the circumstances.

I'm not saying that motivation is completely useless because it's not. We all need that mental pump from time to time before a training, a job interview, a difficult situation that we're about to get into and at the right time a motivational video or article can really get that fire burning in our hearts so we can become more determined and confident that we can get over every hardship that comes our way.

What I'm saying is that discipline will stay with us for a long period of time while motivation is only a short-time feeling.

As a final thought, keep improving your discipline because it is one of the most important things that will get you to the top of the mountain but don't forget to sneak some external motivation when really needed.


1. What are your thoughts on discipline and motivation?

2. I would like to hear about your experiences with discipline and times when motivation wasn't enough to keep you going.

© 2019 Hacicu Bogdan


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