Although they might sound similar, I feel there is a big difference between being disciplined and being motivated when you’re working towards your goals.
Motivation is FEELING LIKE doing what you need to do. You’ll know the feeling of motivation doesn’t last long. And often, the expectation is that motivation comes from an external source – like reading a book, or working with a personal trainer.
Self discipline is about DECIDING to make certain choices – and sticking with them regardless of whether you are in the mood or not.
Now, both have their place, but given that motivation doesn’t last that long (and willpower runs out quickly too), it is having self discipline that is going to see you the full way through to your goal. But, discipline can be hard to build.
By definition, self discipline is uncomfortable. No one needs self discipline to eat ice cream.
So, how can we best develop our self discipline? Practice makes perfect.
The aim is to set your environment up so that you never need to remember what you’re trying to do – it just becomes a part of how you live your life. Breakfast? There are only eggs in the house… 5pm? Time to work out.
This way, when you need to use your willpower in an out-of-the-ordinary situation, you’ll have plenty in reserve.
There’s no need to continually test whether your self discipline is working – just get into the habit of only eating in a certain way, then it is easier to continue that habit when you’re out of your usual routine.
Practice being uncomfortable
Even driving a different route to wherever you’re going is uncomfortable, and makes for good practice.
Just do it anyway
Even when you don’t want to follow through with whatever aspect of your plan – make yourself follow through with it. The more you practice this, the easier this self discipline will become.
When it doesn’t quite work out – just draw a line under it and move on. No need for any negative self talk – just think about how you can avoid the same thing pulling you off course next time.