It’s not about motivation…. it’s about discipline!

Imagine with me for a moment. It’s tomorrow morning and the sun is peaking through the blinds like a nosy neighbor. You know your alarm is about to go off any moment, but you’ve beat it to the punch.

You slowly roll yourself out of bed, stretching your back and shoulders as you do and shut off your alarm clock before that familiar “click” sounds followed by your favorite FM morning show.

You’re proud of yourself, because yesterday you set a goal to begin working out in the morning before leaving for work or being overwhelmed with the sound of little voices demanding breakfast and attention from you.

You dress in your brand new tank and neon shorts and work up a good sweat. It’s hard work, but you’ve made a goal and this time, you’re sticking with it.

Fast forward a few weeks and that same alarm “clicks.” You’d like nothing better than to throw it against the wall because what’s the point? For two weeks you’ve honored that goal you set for yourself, but the results aren’t coming as quickly as you imagined. Motivation, that once loyal friend who typically cheers you on, has decided to sleep in as well.

So, if the motivation isn’t there any more, how can you possibly keep going?

This week while listening to one of my favorite morning radio shows (via podcast, because they don’t broadcast in my city for the time being) the host, Bobby Bones, said something I thought was brilliant. It’s also something I’ve never really thought about, but I agree completely.

As he was discussing a caller’s hectic schedule with them on the phone, the caller asked how he stays so motivated in his own life, as he’s really accomplished quite a lot on very little sleep.

Bobby said, “Motivation will only take you so far. Motivation runs out. It’s discipline that you need. Discipline is what will keep you going.”

“How interesting and true,” I thought! Then I started thinking… How does one develop discipline?

So, I did what every person on this planet wouldn’t probably do and I turned to my good friend Google. The first image that popped up upon my google search read

“Self-Discipline is about your ability to control your desires and impulses for as long as you need to stay focused on what needs to get done to successfully achieve your goal. It’s about taking small, consistent daily actions that help you form CRITICAL habits that support your objective.

Three words stood out to me upon reading and those were SMALL, CONSISTENT AND ACTIONS

  1. It’s about Small steps: Think about it, if you start training for a marathon and on day one decided to run 10 plus miles, you’re probably not going to be running tomorrow because you’ll be too sore, tired and discouraged. However, if you come up with a plan and take that plan slow, literally one small step at a time, then your seemingly large goal of a marathon is totally achievable. Say you start by walking half a mile and then your increase that distance to a mile. Then you jog a minute, and walk two minutes. Then you job two minutes and walk one minute… slowly increasing your pace and your distance. Before you know it, you’ll be running miles and you’ll look back and wonder “how on earth did I get here?” No amount of motivation can trump slow and steady progress. I’ve seen this while training horses. If I take a horse, throw a saddle on it’s back and expect it to carry me while understanding what I want it to do, well I’m bound to end up right back in the dirt. However, if I slowly teach that horse cues on while on the ground and slowly introduce my weight a little at a time, well before I know it, I’m riding that once wild horse and we are communicating as if we are one. I’m in the middle of this right now while training a mustang. Most people see me ride him and think, “Wow, how crazy that you can just hop on and ride a horse like that.” However, what people haven’t seen are the hours I’ve put into training this horse before I ever attempted to sit on his back. Slow and steady wins the race in the end, and it usually lasts beyond the race.
  2. It’s about consistency: Now, say I set a goal to journal every single day. The only way for me to achieve that goal is to get up and do it! For me, I find that journaling or writing works best if I set a timer for 5 minutes. Then I write until my timer goes off! Five minutes is a great amount of time because it leaves me wanting to write more. Consistency is really about creating attainable goals for yourself. If you overdo it too quickly, you’re bound to hit burn out and quit. However, if you just do a little every day and create that habit, then you’re more likely to stick with it!
  3. Ready, set, ACTION: Every goal that we set for ourselves takes ACTION. Even in the Bible admonishes us to not be idle! Sure, we can wake up every morning and read through affirmations, get our mind in the right place, think positively and pray that everything will work out for us. Heaven knows I’m a big believer in the power of positive thoughts. However, if we do not DO then how will we ever BECOME? Every goal, every aspiration, every hope and prayer takes ACTION! You cannot become the worlds most read blogger or the most sought after tennis coach in your city without work!

So, how else do we become disciplined? Here are a few tips I’ve come up with.

  1. Make a list of goals and read them every day!
  2. Find your reasons and make sure those reasons are BIG enough!
  3. Give yourself milestones with rewards attached and make those rewards GOOD! We all love to work for something and reward ourselves. Studies show that the hardest working, most dedicated workers in business are rewarded and appreciated for their hard work. YOU should do the same for yourself!
  4. Set alarms on your phone. Guys… I do this! It’s such a great tool to get me moving.
  5. Take breaks. We all need breaks and you should take them. After all, what’s the point in working so hard if you aren’t taking breaks to do things that you love doing. Schedule time for breaks and then really soak it in. I’m so BAD at this! I have a hard time letting myself enjoy life unless I’m achieving. Guys, I’m telling you right now that it’s not healthy or good and goodness knows I’m working on it.
  6. Have someone to buddy up with! Discipline is more easily achieved with a buddy, because it will hold you (and them) accountable.

Guys, we got this because we owe it to ourselves to be disciplined. You owe it to yourself and I owe it to myself to follow through, because we can do amazing things I we are worth it! Let’s help each other keep at it! You got this! I got this. We all got this!