Motivation is Fleeting, But Discipline is Forever

Chris Maguire

Chris is a Senior in the business school and runs a personal fitness page called @_athomefitness.

One of the questions I’m often asked and one question I often ask myself is how to stay motivated. This is a question I think about in regards to fitness, but also life in general, and it’s a tough question to answer.

For a long time, I was always looking for that one thing that would motivate me and sometimes I would find it. Sometimes, it was just a song, a motivational video, or even a quote that would push me to go the extra mile. However, none of these methods were sustainable because, after a while, the things that motivated me would no longer have an effect. I would lack motivation and wonder how I could get that edge back. After experiencing this never ending cycle, I finally came to realize that it is not actually about motivation. There’s an awesome quote that goes something along the lines of “Motivation is like the weather.” It’s like the weather because it is unreliable and unpredictable. If you depend on it, you will ultimatley end up falling short of your goals. So what is the answer?

Discipline is the answer. Discipline is having the ability to fully commit to a goal and do what is necessary to complete that goal, regardless of how you feel in the moment. This answer is hard for people to accept because as humans, we love immediate gratification. So you may be asking, “how can I become more disciplined?” This is a tough question, but I think it starts with understanding yourself and your goals. If you have weak goals that don’t have much purpose, then staying disciplined is going to be very tough. On the other hand, if you set purposeful goals that are well thought out, I think implementing discipline is much easier.

In an attempt to keep this short and to the point, Don’t look for motivation to get you back into the gym. What you need to do is set purposeful and ambitious goals for yourself. Set a goal that’s going to challenge you. Then you apply discipline. Nick Bare sums this up best with his light switch analogy. He says, “Flip the switch and break it”. What he means by this is make a decision like you are flipping a switch, and then break that switch so you have no option of going back. Commit to training for that marathon. Commit to hitting that personal record. Commit to working out four times a week, because once you fully commit, there’s no going back.

Set purposeful goals. Apply discipline. Repeat.