Discipline Beats Motivation.
Look, many of us procrastinate our butts off, and we don’t do what we need to get done. We only actually get what we need to get done when we have those random short bursts of motivation running through our veins “when we feel like it." For most of our lives, we can end up wasting a lot of our time doing nothing, contributing nothing to our future selves, hurting us in the long run. It happens to all of us. Some more than others, but we all struggle with motivation moment to moment in our lives and doing what we need to get done.
Motivation is something that I have had challenges with a lot these past couple of years, and it still is a challenge for me from time to time; it’s something I am grateful for. The experiences I went through have taught me several valuable lessons, and I would like to share some of those with you today. Before I proceed any further, I would like to give you a bit of insight into what I was dealing with and how it was going for me when faced with these challenges.
A little about myself
I am a father of two young kids, a boy turning three years old in a couple of months and a baby girl turning one this upcoming month. Let’s not forget to mention their beautiful and loving mother, my partner Kenzie. We are the typical couple, we both work, have hectic schedules to work around, coming and going from the home always, and it usually ends up with one of us being alone with the babies while the other goes to work. So we both have a lot on our plates, and motivation plays a vital role in that… Or at least I thought it did.
When I came home from work, it was usually sundown. Babies and the misses were tired, just about to hit the hay. We worked on getting the babies to sleep, taking up to few minutes or up to hours of them being wide awake. Being who I am, I would usually take on that responsibility of staying up with our crazy rugrats until they fell asleep. Once they were eventually asleep, that was a victory for us, but there remains a pile of chores stacked up high, loads of laundry, dishes, the house is a constant mess (because babies are crazy). So as you can imagine, when I come home from dealing with customers and employees all day, where did I have the strength to keep up with work at home? I didn’t, a lot of the time. I wouldn’t feel like doing anything until in the morning. Still, there would be those times when I would rely on motivation to come along because that is what kept me going when I was feeling mentally and physically exhausted; I’d get that burst of energy, that’s when I would have no problem staying up and have no problem with the chores, That motivation never did come often though.
Not only was it the chores that would affect me like this, but it was also college, my writing, and goals. I would wait until I felt like it to get my essays done or at least when the deadline was right around the corner, costing me excess of close misses with my due dates. I ended up having to drop a few of my classes even, which was embarrassing to me. My writing was just the same; I would not sit down and start to write unless I had that light bulb of a moment pop into my head. Always was I putting it off until I “felt like it”? The work I needed to finish was left on the back burner until I felt the time was right to pick it back up again. The lack of motivation was getting me nowhere fast, and it kept me away from what I wanted to accomplish, which is never good, and I knew I needed to change something.
When you’re feeling more than unmotivated like I was, you probably like to watch those Rocky Balboa motivational videos on YouTube, or maybe you go back through your goals and dreams, drawing motivation from your future visions of yourself winning that ultra race, graduating from college or securing that dream job you always wanted, and that’s okay, I love the motivational videos too. (They’re awesome). Eventually, there comes a time when watching those videos don’t make you want to run even 5 miles anymore; they don’t kick you into gear that often, making you even more of a procrastinator, less productive, and further away from your goals. This is where I will tell you that motivation is not helping you in any way, shape, or form.
Motivation and creating Discipline
It’s BS. I’m going to be blunt here; you’re never going to get anywhere if you solely rely on motivation to do what you need to get done. You’ll be riding that hamster wheel, going in circles, maybe one day you will be energized enough to get your work done, but when tomorrow comes around that corner, and that motivation is not there to hold your hand, you’re done with, you'll be right back at the beginning. Motivation is what I relied on to get me going most of the time But let me tell you this, we are not always going to be motivated, and were not always going to feel as good as we do when we are motivated. We need to do the “chores” or “school work” even if we don't feel like it. That is why motivation is unreliable, and this is where you should cut that motivation crap out of your routine, your goals, and out of your life.
Now would be the best time if you focused your attention on being disciplined. You need to throw those damn feelings out of the window when it comes down to getting your shit done, or else your goals and dreams will never come to fruition.
When you need to get your chores done or finish those first steps in getting to your goals, you need to drop your feelings because more than half of the time you spend doing those things; you will be unmotivated, not feeling like it. Instead of getting up at 5 in the morning to hit the gym, you’ll probably feel more comfortable staying in bed wrapped up in blankets. This is where you need to build that discipline. Keep doing the work even when you don’t feel like it when you’re uncomfortable and unmotivated. Doing this will help you build that discipline and turn it into a habit.
Let’s say when you get home from work, the house is messy, and you have to put in some hours researching for an essay that's due in a few days, now out of the options on the table, you can put those responsibilities on the back burner, take a shower, go chill out on the couch or play some video games then hit the sack. However, if you do that, you are nowhere closer to finishing your essay, and the house is still a mess. You suck it up, set your feelings aside, clean the house, and then research for your essay, bam! Now you can do whatever you want without having to worry about what you need to get done.
Creating and building discipline is important and the key to establishing success with your goals, desires, dreams, or anything you set out to do in your life. No matter how you feel in the moment, you'll still be able to take care of your tasks and responsibilities unlike if you were to rely on motivation solely. It will only come once and while rendering useless when it comes down to achieving what you set out for yourself.