You did it!
You finally muster up the courage and motivation to sign up for a gym. Maybe you want to lose weight, get stronger or simply stay in good health by getting some regular exercise in your routine. Your first day at the gym is over – you feel good. You wake up the next day very sore, but do not regret working out for one bit. Things are looking up.
Fast forward one or two months, however, and your frequent visits got pared down to once a week at best. You feel frustrated for not making much if any progress.
One of the reasons for this state of events, you tell yourself, is you lack motivation. Therefore, if only you could find the motivation somewhere, things would be so much easier.
But what if I told you it is never about motivation?
The thing with motivation is that it is a short-lived feeling. Understanding this has the power to change your whole outlook towards many activities that are beneficial to you. For example, you could one day be motivated enough to go on a trip, but it won’t always be like that all the time. There will be times you won’t feel like doing something. You could be motivated to go to the movies one week, but the next week you’re not.
What does this mean?
It means the worst thing you can do to achieve your goals is waiting for motivation to strike. As motivation comes and goes, you need to act if you want to see results even if you’re not feeling it at the moment. Take your work for example. If you want to progress in your career or say, get a promotion, you know you need to put in the effort to reap the rewards afterwards. Working means establishing certain habits that you end up internalizing. If you exercise regularly, you will notice the same thing. You enter autopilot mode. Even if you might not feel like exercising, it has then become a part of your routine. To sum up, it’s just something that you do.
Most people think there is a virtuous cycle. Motivation leads to action, and action leads to more motivation, and so on. But this isn’t true, and you need to change this harmful and paralyzing mindset. Action is the impetus for motivation. For you to get motivated, you need to act first. You need to stop idealizing or visualizing the future too much, looking at the big picture, but instead, focus on starting and taking small steps.
The key here is discipline, not motivation.
Discipline is getting up in the morning every day, it’s going to work when you don’t feel like it, it’s
establishing a routine to work towards something you are after. Make something a habit, and the results
will come. Doing something regularly always beats not doing anything at all.
Motivation is easy, discipline is hard. If you’re only acting when you feel motivated, you are not laying the groundwork for future progress. The same thing applies to other areas of our lives. How would we achieve greater things if we only act when that sudden surge of motivation strikes?
As the saying goes, discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Everyone has goals, but not everyone gets to the other side. Think less, act more, and you will succeed.