Who doesn’t love to feel motivated? When it’s at its peak, you feel you’ll conquer the world. You think you’re the next Warren Buffet, Arnold Schwarzenegger or J.K. Rowling. But then it quickly melts away when things get tough and you try to restore it with countless YT videos and /r/getmotivated.
Most highly successful people are definitely motivated. Yet, the factor that contributed to their success the most is discipline. And it’s discipline that eventually becomes a huge source of motivation.
Let’s take UFC star Conor McGregor as an example. He’s obsessed with MMA which he clearly admitted many times. And now that he reaches the top, he’s seen as a huge talent. But if you ask Conor, he says talent doesn’t exist and what truly matters is the amount of work and time you put into something.
Time will make you or break you
Time is an interesting factor. When you play it right and follow the habits that serve you well, it can be your biggest ally. However, if you ignore the little daily mistakes, sooner or later you’ll be in trouble.
The point of this article is not to say the motivation doesn’t exist. It does and it can impact your ability to pursue your goals, no doubt. What I’m getting at is that you can only truly benefit from motivation once you learn how to have self-control to do the right thing over and over again.
At the beginning of the year, the amount of people trying to change their lives for better goes through the roof. The number one New Year’s resolution of 2015 was to lose weight. Yet, another statistic reveals that 67% of gym membership will never be used. What’s the reason? It’s a very incompatible discipline to motivation ratio. Let me explain what I mean by that.
As a result of frustration caused by procrastination, people feel the need to make the next year the best year of their lives. The problem is, they never actually sticked to their long-term plans and this caused the frustration in the first place. So even though motivation levels skyrocket, if you’ve never developed a good habit, you’re likely to fail miserably when you try to go big. In a nutshell, the amount of motivation overwhelms your personal abilities (fortunately, it’s variable and not constant).
How to substitute motivation
Self-discipline is the best substitute for motivation. Firstly, because it’s more reliable and steady. Discipline is a skill whereas motivation is just an intense feeling. But imagine what you’d be capable of if you could utilize this wave of intensity in your daily disciplines which would combine over time. This is where overnight success is born. Caution: it takes years to get to the overnight level of success.
Through the years, I had many different goals, yet I only succeeded in areas that I’ve put time and work into. I visualized various scenarios that I’d like to achieve but it didn’t work out if I wasn’t willing to do the work day after day for weeks, months and years.
Again, if your long-term visualization (usually triggered by a flush of motivation) is not followed by daily disciplines, whether it’s exercising, writing, working on your business and so on, you’ll be in the same position the year later.
Although a big vision matters, you need to create your daily routines that will eventually get you there. To finish this post, let me share you a great quote from The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson:
Instead of writing down what you’re going to do […], write down at the end of the day what you did do that day.