January 2020 has been a long month for all of us but at this point, about 90% of people have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it’s #FitnessGoals, #HealthyEats, or #SelfCare, there seems to be a reason people are unable to stick to their promises to themselves. You’re gonna hear a slew of excuses from everyone and the one you’ll be hearing the most is “I can’t stay motivated enough to stick to it”. This is where the problem lies. The dependence on something as flimsy as motivation.
Ever hear this story? Someone decides to take their health seriously, so they tell themselves that a balanced diet and religious exercising is going to be their new thing. The first day passes and it goes great. Same with day two.
Then they get their first taste of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). So they take a day off. Perfectly acceptable. On that day off, they decide to reward themselves with a cheat meal. The next day they’re too tired from work so they skip out again.
Then they have a dinner to attend.
An appointment they can’t miss.
Soon, the motivation fades and so does the resolution. Motivation can be found in all sorts of places and it hits us with the urge to take action. A song that made you want to try being a DJ, a movie that inspired you to quit your day job, a quote that says your dreams can be more than dreams. We are addicted to that feeling that makes us feel bulletproof.
But we can’t rely on that emotion to get the job done because just like any other emotion, motivation is not constant. There will be days, weeks, and even months when you will not feel any motivation at all. What is constant, however, is self-discipline. It’s what all those who we see as successful have in common. We all know what it means but it’s a whole new story to learn it.
Self-discipline is the most powerful trait you can hone – far greater than motivation. It beats distractions, laziness, excuses, doubt, and anything else that stands between you and your goal. But as amazing as it sounds, possessing it is no simple task. Getting started can feel like an impossible feat and there’s no denying that. Learning discipline means getting the ball rolling even when your mind and body tell you that you can’t.
Those who have felt motivation know that it burns hot. But it also burns fast. When you stop feeling the rush, you start losing interest. Discipline is unwavering. Discipline is your coach that tells you to do ten more laps when all you can think about is going home and watching Netflix in bed. It pushes you beyond your limits – to sacrifice. To wait. To let you believe that what you’re doing today might not feel like a win but it’s a step in the right direction.
That path can seem insurmountable, but it gets better over time. Treat discipline as you would any skill you’re developing. Practice makes permanent. When making the right decisions begin to feel like routine, that becomes the birth of a habit. It might not make the journey easier, but it strengthens your drive and resolve. Temptation to procrastinate becomes less and your life becomes more fulfilling. After all, isn’t that why we we’re out here in the first place?
Does this mean motivation can go f*ck itself? Hell no. It’s a powerful feeling that you need to take advantage of whenever it arises. But it’s not your key to success. When you’re on that highway to greatness, it’s not speed that will take you to your destination. It’s whether or not you have the willpower to resist taking that next exit.
Hone your discipline and build your routine until those motivational quotes you’ve been reading begin to sound like your own words.