Well, here you are. You’ve been trying to reach a goal or objective, but you just can’t seem to find the motivation to get going or keep going.
So, what’s preventing you from reaching the finish line where your results are patiently waiting for you to arrive? Is it truly a lack of motivation? Is it discipline? Or is it both?
Let’s first discuss the difference between motivation and discipline. I’ll do you a favor and sum it up in one simple example so we can quickly get to the point and you can get started on the things you need to do to begin achieving your goals.
So, here you go…
Motivation is your resolve to set the alarm for 6 am.
Discipline is your ability to get out of bed when the 6 am alarm goes off.
Look, I’ll level with you. Goals are important. They’re so important I actually wrote a book on Goals (you can find that book just off to the right in the margin of this article). Setting goals requires you to be motivated enough to believe you can achieve them. But even I’ll admit that you can have a litany of goals and never take action on any one of them and that’s all you’ll have—goals.
Face it, what you’re looking for is results! Fortunately, I can help with that as well, so keep reading…please.
For starters, eliminate all distractions, even for this one short but unequivocally important disclaimer: Unless and until you take action, nothing will happen. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…
Action is the catalyst that’ll set your goals on fire! In other words, you’ve got to act.
Discipline Fuels Action
OK, so now that you understand the difference between motivation and discipline, let’s discuss some of the ways for you to start seeing the changes (results) you desire. Here are some tips to help you reframe things and to move out (and ahead) confidently:
- If you don’t think you’re disciplined, it’s because you haven’t decided to be.
Discipline comes the moment you make a decision to be disciplined, hence the phrase: Self-discipline. Your discipline is an internal force that you must summon. The best way to summon and sustain your self-discipline is to create compelling reasons to act. Without a compelling reason, you’ll likely give up and quit.
So, what’s a compelling reason? Any narrative that drives you through the most miserable circumstance when it shows up, because, make no mistake, it will show up. It’ll show up to test you, to taunt you, and sometimes torture you. But there’s a bright side on the other side of all the challenges. It’s called “Victory”. Your path to victory is fueled by the compelling reasons you have to get the task done.
Are your reasons so compelling that you’ll cast aside your immediate desires for the sake of the goal? Will you stay home and do the task when everyone out else is out having a good time? Will you go to the gym on time every time? Will you stick to your healthy diet even when your favorite unhealthy snack is offered? Will you stop drinking, quit smoking, or save enough money when you feel like quitting? Your compelling reasons must be there to carry you through.
- Take control.
The one superpower you have that no one can take from you is the power of choice. You can make any decision you want anytime you want to make it. All you have to do is to convince yourself on the direction you want to move out on and then decide.
Lean on your logic while leveraging your emotions. Logic tells us the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and goes a long way in helping us to calculate risk and reward. Emotions are the double-edged sword that can pour gasoline on the fire of your logic (determination, drive, tenacity, and convictions) or douse the momentum of your progress. Leverage your emotions and there’s nothing that can stop you.
The good news is that you get to control it all. You get to command your mind to do whatever it is you desire it to do. Want to wake up early? Use your logic and leverage your emotions. Want to get in better shape? Use your logic and leverage your emotions. Want to write a book? Well, you get the point.
You have a choice to be disciplined or not. How will you use your superpower?
- Discipline is not your enemy.
Discipline can come off sounding like such a harsh word. After all, images of grit, grime, sweat, and tears emerge every time most people utter the word. Beyond that, however, is the admiration of people who personify the word.
Think of any successful person you know of and I’ll make a wager there’s a path of discipline at the core of their success. There are countless stories of the so-called “overnight” successes who will be quick to tell you their story was far from an overnight journey to success.
If you’re willing to enlist the friendship of discipline—to see discipline as an ally and not an enemy—then you have what it takes to set yourself apart from most people and to achieve almost anything you desire. Discipline is the friend who whispers into your ear and tells you to “get up, keep going, you’re almost there…”
You’d be wise to embrace the friendship of discipline. If you’ll do that, she’ll never disappoint you.
- You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The difference between winners and losers is not always apparent. Quite often, the difference is subtle but significant. Watch any sporting event and you’ll see the difference eventually emerge. When winners get knocked down, they don’t stay down. When winners fall behind, they don’t stay behind. Even the movies do a decent job of providing examples of winning mentalities. The winners seem to always emerge with a level of determination that overcomes the odds and turns the tide of momentum to their favor.
So, be the winner! Decide to be the winner and your subconscious mind will eventually “automatically” begin casting you in the winner’s role.
- Embrace your failures.
There are more lessons in the folds of failure than anywhere else. When you fail you learn valuable lessons on what not to do. Here’s the cool part—you can also learn from the failures of other people. Just be sure to learn it, recalibrate, and keep moving ahead.
Fear gains the upper hand the moment you decide not to act because of fear.
Better to try and fail than never having tried at all.
We all fail. Be quick to forgive yourself when you fail. You are bound to have spectacular days just as you will have days where you will not.
Don’t be the person who looks back on life with regrets. The only difference between them and you is a resolve to make a decision to look fear in the eye and confidently take action anyway.
- Find a source of discipline.
Something happens when you surround yourself with disciplined people. Their discipline begins to rub off on you. Self-disciplined people rarely stray away from the discipline they have because that discipline is largely responsible for the success and happiness they enjoy. Once you get a taste of the results of discipline, it becomes a part of who you are.
Find a mentor or a role model you can relate to whose discipline you can access. Listen to them. Watch their videos, watch what they do and how they do it. Model them.
- Challenge your excuses.
You’re smart enough to decipher reasons from excuses. Decide right now not to accept the excuses your mind will likely conjure up to provide a “break” or a “reward” for the discipline you’ve had. Breaks and rewards are fine, except when they’re not. Only you will know the difference. Stay true to yourself and your discipline will pay handsome dividends.
Discipline is not a part-time gig. You don’t get weekends and holidays off. I know many a novelist (myself included) who worked on Christmas and New Year’s Eve to finish a chapter or write an advertisement or a press release.
Challenge your excuses. Find the time, make the effort, and connect with the right people and resources. You can do this.
- Stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
There is only one YOU. No one else can be you. By the same token, YOU cannot be anyone else. You can follow them, match and mirror their habits and rituals and produce similar results, but you will never be them…nor would you want to be. Face it, you have no idea the issues and problems they personally face on a daily basis. Heck, you have enough problems of your own.
I’ve always believed you can have, be, do, or become anything in life as long as you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get (yourself) there. Achievement is a highly personal journey, despite what it may appear to be in social media circles and in the movies. You’ve got to leverage your own strengths and talents to achieve the goals and objectives you have for yourself.
It’s you versus you. Anything else is deception and distraction.
- Embrace discomfort.
Comfort is the enemy of success. Let’s put this in perspective, shall we? We all desire to find comfort. Comfort is a close relative to safety and security. But comfort is often used as an excuse for safety and security when it comes to sticking to a disciplined plan of action. In many ways, comfort is the enemy of discipline.
One of the reasons we fall short of having discipline is that we run away from the hard, uncomfortable things. We’d rather do the easy, comfortable, familiar things.
Tell yourself that you’re done running away. Commit to leaning in to discomfort for the sake of breaking free of the conditions you despise. Refuse to be defeated on this and you’ll begin winning more and more.
- You have to take action, and you have to take action now.
To reach a goal or objective, you must act. To produce results, you must act. But there are no time limits on when you should arrive at your destination. The Law of Consistency is magic that leverages the power of action. Your first step puts you one step closer to your results than you were before you took action. Your consistency produces results over time.
Most people get overwhelmed and never take action because of the overwhelming nature of their goal. They look at the goal in its entirety and splendor and suddenly realize the goal is so big they become overwhelmed by what it appears to take to achieve it.
All you have to do is start. All you have to do is act.
Your action comes in many forms. It could be research. It could be writing. It could be signing on with a personal trainer. It could be shopping for healthy food and leaving the ice cream in the store. These are all actions that are significant first steps.
So, stop thinking about it and get started. As they say in the infomercials, “Act now!”
Putting it All Together
Chances are you’ve probably heard some or all of this before, but putting these ten tips into practice may still seem difficult.
Everybody faces the implementation struggle. How can you possibly wake up by 6 am for a workout when you still feel overly tired and sleepy?
After trying almost every mind hack possible, the most effective way I have found to leverage my discipline is to do something every single day—even one thing—that brings you closer to your goals and aspirations. After all, if action is the catalyst that creates change, discipline is the fuel that’ll get you there.
If you prefer to listen to this article, you’re in luck! I choose two articles a month and use them for content topics on my podcast. This happens to be one of them. All you have to do is click the link below.
Here’s to living Your Best Life!