“I just don’t feel like it,” you say. “I don’t have the motivation to do it.”
Motivation: a magical elixir giving its users the ability to achieve anything.
Before you exercise, you spend 15 minutes reading inspirational quotes.
Before you start working on your start-up, you listen to success stories on YouTube.
After those hours spent reading empowering quotes and watching Goalcast videos, you are infused with energy. All those paralyzing obstacles you feared suddenly become nothing you can’t handle.
You’re ready to face the day and while you’re at it, you might as well tackle the next day’s work as well.
You cannot wait to get your hustle on.
But of course, that feeling doesn’t last forever…
The next day, your motivation is back at the baseline. You need to find new motivational quotes and new stories to watch to get the effect you felt yesterday.
Before long, you’ve heard them all and even that one quote hung on your wall has lost its meaning.
What do you think happens when you lose motivation and all the ways to obtain it?
That’s right. You give up.
Even if you still cling to the idea of your goal, you just end up pushing it off again and again. You accept your lame excuses. Until one day, you look back and realize you haven’t worked on your goal for months.
Then you give up.
So many incredible goals have died this way.
Don’t get me wrong. Motivation is important. You need that extra boost in the first stages of achieving your goal.
But as time goes on, motivation isn’t as important anymore.
What’s more important than motivation?
Self-discipline is the ability to do what needs done—even when you don’t want to, especially when you don’t want to.
With self-discipline, you reject excuses as soon as they pop into your mind. You realize that even if you don’t feel like doing the work now, you will be proud you did it later. You don’t succumb to distractions. You focus on the task at hand and conquer it.
Motivation is what helps you build discipline. When that motivation fades, as it most certainly will, discipline is what will get you out of bed and into your work chair.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to write 1000 words every day for your upcoming book.
In the beginning, you’re so excited to publish your own work, every free minute you have is spent typing at lightning speed.
As the weeks go by, you realize how hard writing a book is. All the research bores you more than the history class you took in college.
You can finish your book or quit, and which path you choose depends on which resource you chose to exploit: motivation or discipline.
If you only relied on motivation, you will slack off when your motivation depletes. You’ll write less and less until one day you stop altogether.
If you used your motivation in the beginning to develop self-discipline and create a sustainable system, you’ll keep going—even when you don’t feel like it.
You look at your daily schedule, see that it’s time to write, and get to it. You don’t think about whether or not you want to write. It’s time to write, so you do.
That’s how your book makes it onto bookshelves around the world. You didn’t need the motivation as much as you needed discipline.
We often put too much attention on motivation. Being motivated feels great, so of course, we’ll always seek that euphoric feeling. Yet, motivation alone can’t carry you to the finish line. It runs out too quickly. So, instead of constantly seeking out inspiration, shift your focus to establishing self-discipline. That’s what you really need to achieve your goals.
Check out our post on how to build self-discipline here.