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3 Reasons to Ditch Motivation for Discipline

People put a lot of stock into motivation. Motivation has turned into big business. It is estimated that the motivational speaking industry brought in $1.9 billion in 2019!

Being told all of the ways we can motivate ourselves each day is kind of intoxicating. A bit of motivational inspiration can make us feel like today is the day we turn our lives around! Imagine that – the idea that one day’s worth of work will lead to years’ worth of change.

But there is a great substitute for motivation: discipline. Here are three reasons why.

1 – Motivation is fleeting

There is a funny quote that SEMbio posted on our Facebook page recently that says it best – “Tomorrow: A mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored.” Funny, right? Until you realize how true it is. It’s so easy to procrastinate and say that *tomorrow* will be the day that you’ll have the energy and motivation to knock that task out. It’s easy to be certain that we’ll be more equipped tomorrow to complete a goal than we were today.

But motivation isn’t going to be there every single day to help you accomplish your goals. And motivation has a tendency to give you the spark to get started, but it doesn’t always stick around.

Discipline, however, if truly attained, would always be there to constantly drive you.

2 – Motivation is like a substance we rely on

Motivation is largely tied to our dopamine release. We can listen to a life coach, or perhaps start jotting down a to-do list for tomorrow, and our dopamine can get flowing at just the thought of the rewards we’ll be getting soon. That rush can feel good! But our goal here isn’t to feel good about our plans. Our end goal is to feel good about what we accomplish. Being dedicated, practicing willpower, and entrenching good habits into our daily lives won’t be fun at first. But it will be more reliable when it comes to getting things done day in and day out.

3 – Discipline is a foundation to grow on

By definition, to be disciplined means you have a single-minded loyalty to your mission. Discipline means you’re trained. To be disciplined means you’ve done something over and over. Having dedication doesn’t simply mean you’ve formed the right habits; it means it’s ingrained in your behavior. It’s automatic.

But this means you need to define what “disciplined” means for you. Does this mean waking up at the same time every day to kick off your morning routine? Does this mean devoting a certain number of hours to family time? You can’t hit true dedication without knowing what your end goal is. So start there, and lay your foundation of dedication to set yourself up for true success.

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Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC

Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011 and is a team leader in recruiting and business development. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management. That experience provides Lawrence a unique perspective as a recruiter.