I have been struggling lately with staying motivated. I have lulls like this in life where my attention to detail wanes a bit and my excitement for my current endeavor subsides. In the past I’ve used these moments to build up my list of excuses and rationalize my quitting. But as I am getting older I am realizing the difference in motivation and discipline.
Motivation is the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. In the past I was always looking for something to motivate me, like an emotional shove in the right direction: Pumped up music, inspirational talks, stories of success, etc. But once the external hype was removed I had nothing to fall back on. So I stopped and moved on to something else. And continually failing to finish things that I started became a burden I carried around for years. It was so heavy, mostly constructed of self-pity, doubt, anger, fear and aggravation.
What I would learn from that period in my life was that I was misusing motivational tactics in place of discipline. I lacked discipline and did not realize it, thus when the emotional high from the inspirational story wore off a couple weeks later, I had no clue how to continue. Now I think I am figuring out how to overcome these lulls using discipline to carry me through. Discipline is simply training yourself to do a certain task(s) in accordance with a set of rules. And discipline is what carries successful people to victory! Discipline makes you workout when you don’t feel like it. Discipline is what makes you order healthy food when you really want the burger. Discipline is why you walk door-to-door in the rain to make sales quotas. Not because you “feel” like it, but because you have trained yourself to do what is necessary regardless of your mood or level of enthusiasm.
If you are the type of person like I was, getting jazzed up watching the workout infomercial, ordering it and then losing interest after a couple weeks then maybe you need to look deeper at developing discipline. Here’s How to Develop Discipline and Unlock Your Hidden Potential:
- Make the bed every morning
- Log your food and caloric intake before each meal
- Focus on not allowing yourself to procrastinate
- Make a to-do list for each day to keep you organized
- Work to keep the dishes from piling up in the sink/keep the house neat and tidy
- Work to keep your word/do what you say you will do
- Find productive things to do versus sitting in front of the television
- Work to be a better spouse/focus on your family/help out around the house more
- Ask yourself daily if you are doing the best that you can do
And in my opinion the most important one for me has been #1: making the bed. I have found making the bed is my catalyst for a productive day and it starts the day off with organization and structure. Some might find bed making a bit trivial, but I find keeping my life structured and disciplined is helping me stay focused while I practice my habits that will lead to more success.