The differences between motivation and discipline

Motivation and discipline are two sides of the same coin and are both very important in achieving long term goals throughout your life.

If there is something you want to achieve, your internal reasoning that forces you on a path towards achieving this goal is motivation.

How much effort you put in, in order to achieve that goal, is discipline.

Today we’ll be going over these two subjects in a little more detail for your benefit. Keep reading!

Let’s look at motivation

Now, motivation is an inner force based on inspiration and your own internal and external reasoning.

Motivation can help you focus on your goals. This can be influenced or kick-started by a variety of factors: your own dreams or those of your loved ones (such as parents or other family members or other people you care about – motivation is infectious!), or in seeking out the pleasure derived from achieving a set goal. Motivation is the reasoning as to why you are attempting to achieve a certain goal.

So, what is discipline?

Discipline differs from individual to individual. While motivation and discipline directly complement each other, they don’t always work hand in hand. Discipline could be defined loosely as the strategy or route you follow regularly in order to achieve your goals. According to entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Jim Rohn “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”.

An example of the difference between the two could be a student preparing for an exam. The reason they are preparing for the exam is that they dream of becoming a scientist. This would be their motivation for success in the exam. The student then commits to a schedule of study – for example, five hours a day – until the exam. This would be the discipline that the student was following.

As you can see, both discipline and motivation are uniquely important but co-dependant in achieving the goal.

Similar but different

It’s important, however, not to conflate the two. Motivating yourself is great, but it provides a relatively short-term boost of momentum that can quickly burn up. Discipline, however, is a learned method of maintaining productivity over time and sustaining a clear pathway towards achieving your goals.

On the one hand, just being able to do the things you are supposed to is not the same as being motivated towards a higher goal, or maintaining the self-motivation necessary to continue doing things when willpower is depleted. You will require motivation to help achieve goals when fatigue sets in and things get harder and harder to accomplish.

On the other hand, motivation is fairly redundant without discipline. Discipline is cultivated over time and provides a template for developing strategies to achieve your goals. Discipline can drive a person to succeed in face of adversity – it drives you to complete the work you don’t enjoy but is required for the progression towards your goals, and it keeps you going when you run out of motivation.

Jim Rohn suggests that it takes consistent self-discipline in order to master the setting of goals, time management and leadership, and without it we become sporadic and ineffective. This consistent effort is necessary in order to truly manage the valuable time we have.

It also takes discipline to conquer the nagging voice in our minds – the fear of failure, imposter syndrome, the fear of success.It is necessary to utilise discipline to quash the voice that brings up the possibility of failure – and it takes discipline in order to recognise our errors and limitations.

Being disciplined helps us remain productive, increases self-confidence and patience, and teaches you what you need to overcome failure.

You need both

Interestingly, according to a study on athletes, we see that strong self-discipline influences the motivation of people. Being disciplined can be more draining if motivation is based on external factors, and you are much more likely to end up burned out and exhausted by your task.

Athletes are often driven by intrinsic motivation, meaning it is easier for them to resist temptations that would negatively affect their daily schedule.Keeping discipline in check can influence your motivation. In this way, strong discipline has a secondary value of helping you stay on course.

Becoming motivated is nowhere near as challenging as becoming disciplined. With a little extra effort, developing discipline to use in conjunction with motivation is a key to upward success in any goal-oriented scenario. The human brain resists abrupt changes, so big, sudden change often causes a person to burn out and fail.

A worthy subject

If you progress slowly towards a more disciplined state, you will incrementally move the baseline. Small changes over time yield massive results and you will find yourself a changed person further down the line.

By taking frequent breaks, practising good habits and learning from past mistakes, you will be on a clearer path to your goal in no time.

We hope you’ve found today’s Citrus blog helpful!

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