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Motivation vs Discipline: What You Need to Know

It is advised that to achieve a challenging goal, we must be motivated and disciplined. But, can we succeed solely based on motivation or discipline? What is more important in your life for success—motivation vs discipline? 


Motivation is defined as the desire or enthusiasm to do, continue, or stop doing a specific activity. It is fueled by external forces like money or power, as well as internal elements like happiness and contentment. 

Depending on these factors, motivation is often described as either intrinsic or extrinsic. In which we will discuss later in the article. 

Motivation helps us understand what we want to achieve. It gives us a vision of what we want and then leaves for us to figure out how bad we want it or not. ; it is only a feeling that lasts for a short time.

Types of Motivation 

Extrinsic motivation is when a person feels motivated due to factors that exist outside of themselves, including rewards such as money, social recognition, power, awards, etc. 

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation refers to the act of doing something without any external rewards. This category of motivation pushes you to act on something for internal pleasure or because it is enjoyable and exciting. 

Our motivation determines the degree of our efforts; we will be able to achieve something quickly if it makes us happy and gives us satisfaction rather than doing something for money. 

As tough as it is, intrinsic motivation provides us with a sense of delight in the process of something, which may or may not occur in the case of extrinsic motivation.

It is the motivation that helps us cope with challenges and opportunities that come our way without clinging over the thoughts of rewards. 


Following and taking action in a controlled and planned manner to reach extreme goals is what discipline is. If you discipline yourself to do something, you train yourself to behave and work in a controlled and regular way, which really does benefit you in the long run.

Discipline does not always imply PUSHING YOURSELF in, but it does mean that whatever you do, you do it consistently and in a planned manner. Discipline teaches us “HOW TO DO,” and it is something that we can manage alone. 

Self-discipline is defined as the ability to regulate one’s actions, feelings, and emotions consistently. When it comes to your finances, your ability to keep to your debt-paying, saving, and investing programs is critical. 

Discipline is a quality that helps us resist the impulse to engage in activities that don’t serve us. While exploring positive factors we can add to our lives. It is the ability to forego immediate gratification and pleasure in favor of a larger reward that requires effort and time. 

It denotes tenacity and refusal to give up while providing you with the capacity to stick to one strategy while being tempted to change it.

In fact, one of my all-time favorite books of all time is Bryan Tracys, “The Power of Self Discipline.” (you can find here) in which I strongly recommend it if you want to learn more about the power of discipline. 

Motivation VS Discipline  

Discipline is a habit we develop or an action we regularly perform, whereas motivation is a state of mind. We need the motivation to get started and transform our desires into action to begin the process. Discipline to keep us powerfully moving in every step of the way.

“WHY TO DO” is essential, but without “HOW,” we can not fulfill our desires and achieve our objectives. 

“Discipline is consistency, whereas motivation is willpower.”

When we state that motivation is ‘oh, I’m so excited to do it,’ and discipline is ‘I don’t want to do it but still won’t give up,’ we can readily comprehend the difference between these two.

While motivation is based on a positive attitude or motivating mindset, discipline is solely based on our sweat and determination. Discipline, unlike motivation, is entirely under our control. It’s not enjoyable, but it’s really gratifying. 

Although it is excellent, but it’s only a temporary boost that needs to be renewed regularly; we need long-term discipline to get through hard times and achieve bigger things. How bad do you REALLY want it?

We get fatigued, exhausted, and lack the motivation to continue with our routine during the journey; this is where discipline comes in handy. When our insides scream, ‘You have to do it no matter what,’ it encourages us to keep going and complete unfinished tasks. 

Motivation permits us to be receptive to new ideas and actions, while discipline aids in the formation of a habit. If we insist on doing something at a specific time for numerous days, it will eventually adapt to our way of life. Our brain neurons begin to remind us of this work on their own. 

Discipline slowly starts stabilizing inside our mind and body and empowers us to live a productive day every day. However, discipline is a mental training process. It governs and maintains your social behavior, as well as your ability to keep it in the face of adversity.

Finding motivation is simple. Even if we don’t have control over it, we still desire it, which is why there is so much inspiring content on social media and podcasts.  

It takes time to develop discipline. However, you get empowered to complete any task once you have it. Discipline is constant if we are sincerely into something, whereas motivation varies.  

Motivation alone is not enough.

The problem with relying solely on motivation to attain our objectives is that it is transient. It isn’t consistent or constant. On some days, we are more motivated than ever before and desire to get up early, enhance our work efficiency, and work toward our objectives.

On other days, all we want to do is lie in bed. This is why you will be stuck if you rely exclusively on motivation . Trust me, we all have days when we feel like doing nothing or setting things off, and you do not find an ounce of motivation these days.  The people that push through the hard days are the ones who will achieve their goals.

Discipline alone is not enough.  

Many people prefer to cultivate discipline vs motivation, for it asks them to accomplish something even when they don’t want to. 

You go to the gym and lift heavy weights because you promised yourself that you would. Being disciplined is more complex than being driven in this regard.

If you’re obsessed with discipline but don’t understand why your goals are essential to you, your healthy habits may become a job rather than a means of achieving your goals.

What to focus on—Discipline vs Motivation? 

It is the combination of both these ultimate sections that make one powerful and dedicated. 

Being able to accomplish what you’re expected to do is not the same as being driven to reach more significant goals. When tiredness sets in and things become increasingly difficult to complete, you need motivation to keep going. 

However, motivation is pointless without discipline. Discipline is developed through time. It serves as a framework for developing goals-oriented tactics. It may help a person push through the obstacles they may face.

Discipline empowers you to: 

—keep moving forward even if you lose motivation.

—have the willpower to do what you desire

—encourage yourself every day and surround yourself with exceptional individuals and an environment that motivates you. 

—work hard for your pleasure, assisting you in achieving challenging goals

—work toward your objectives. 

Discipline helps you work harder and try again even if you fail. On the other hand, motivation is a requirement for a successful job and self-maintenance. You can conquer the world while continually encouraging yourself in this manner.

Discipline helps with responsibility and respect in you. Self-discipline helps you to pick and follow to certain activities, ideas, and behaviors to develop and achieve. It also provides you the energy to push through procrastination and lethargy and keep doing what you’re doing. 

Ultimately, we can attain anything we want or desire if we combine discipline and motivation.

Most of us have watched the famous movie—THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, based on the true story of Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), the founder of Gardner Rich & Co, which is an extremely inspirational movie. 

When we look at the protagonist’s life, we see that it is full of difficulties; life throws challenges at him from all sides—housing, relationships, responsibilities. To get something better, to achieve something, to provide a better life for his son, he found motivation. These WHYs and all other reasons drove him to work towards his goal.

How to stay motivated and disciplined throughout the process of achieving something? 

“Motivation keeps you going; it’s the discipline that keeps you growing.” —James Maxwell.

Following are some tips that can help you find the motivation again and work according to your plan with discipline.

1. Short-term realistic tasks

Break down your progress into short-term chores. Our bodies often resist massive changes, so these small tasks gradually build us up. The change won’t be too drastic if done this way. Completing small missions one by one will also contribute some motivation as a result of delight and joy. 

Even if you fail, it is okay as they are just small tasks, nothing more. Don’t let the minor setbacks affect you; rise from the task’s failure with great energy to complete the next one. Sometimes, accomplishing these short tasks can be tough, too. Manifest willpower that will keep you disciplined for the task at hand. It’s easier to stay disciplined for small tasks than bigger ones. 

2. Eliminate distractions

Distractions are a part of life. Temptations and distractions are everywhere; these can be spending time with family and friends, or playing your favorite game, or just doing anything that detaches you from what you need to do. These distractions can grow into laziness and procrastination, which can damage the flow of your efforts.

Anything unproductive that you do to get a hit of dopamine is a distraction. What is necessary is not letting these come into your routine and break your discipline. The only way you can become more focused is by eliminating distractions and staying motivated to achieve your objectives. 

3. Get motivation from your environment and surroundings. 

Surround yourself with hardworking and inspiring people, and hang motivational quotes near your work desk so that they will reignite in you when your willpower is low. 

With a strong will to work, you can seek motivation from anything around you. If there is positivity around you, there are fewer chances of you feeling low, down, or unproductive. 

Be with people who uplift you. As said earlier, the sources of motivation can vary for different people. However, you can still motivate yourself by reading inspirational quotes or books, watching uplifting podcasts, TED talks. You can even start talking to someone that inspires you.

Keep a constant reminder—why did you start in the first place?

Grasp your end goal tightly in mind, and do not lose sight of why and where you started. Remind yourself of how and why you established this goal, as well as what you’ll have accomplished when you’re through, especially when things become challenging. Every time you feel tired, remind yourself:

  • Why you are doing,
  • What you are doing
  • Where all this hard work will take you. 

4. Take small steps and reward every accomplishment.

When our baggage is full with deadlines, leftover work, old and new projects, our mind starts to get fussy. It leads to confusion, and we get stuck in a rut. In which we have an entire article on how to get off it if you’re feeling that way here.  Instead of forcing yourself to reach deadlines somehow, try to rearrange your schedule. 

Please remember, you cannot do it all at once. Even if you try, you will end up exhausting yourself mentally and physically. Tell yourself: ‘What’s done is done. What’s ahead is what matters.’  

Try to start with what needs to be done first and within your boundaries. If the old projects are past your deadlines, consult your boss and let them know of your position—ask for some additional time. Instead of sulking over your work pressure, invest that time in taking small steps and completing short tasks. Appreciate yourself for the work done and your willpower. 

Sometimes, we don’t value ourselves enough, and that sabotages our energy the most. Mentally exhausting ourselves will not generate motivation. However, embracing our value and existence will. So, try to love yourself a little more. 

5. Start prioritizing 

As discussed, prioritize the work that’s the most important. That’s not all; We get distracted and prioritize things that are the least of our concerns. We have a limited timeframe and energy to conclude all the tasks at hand. Instead of prioritizing games, Funtime, mobile phones, or social media focus on more important things. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. Keep your productive work up and ahead. 

Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy things that you like. However, divide your time equally, and when it’s time to work, WORK WITH HONEST DEDICATION AND DISCIPLINE.

6. Create an environment that drives you towards that goal

While intrinsic motivation can depend on your mood, extrinsic motivation can be readily created and changed per our dependency. Creating an environment will drive us, boost our energy, and help us increase creativity. These changes can be as small or as big as you want.

Does your venue/office/workplace make you lose whatsoever interest in work? Often, the dull colors of the walls, messy tables, and the lack of creatives in the room can drain your energy before you even start. Start by considering small changes. 

  • Maybe it’s time you invest in fresh decor; it can be anything—painting the wall, colorful plants, a comfortable chair, lighting of the room, and different creatives. 
  • You don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars on office decor; a handmade adjustment, affordable plants, and self-painting can turn your place inside out. 
  • If you are looking for a bigger change and can afford to spend some money, maybe it’s time to relocate your office. Change of scenery is always good.
  • As funny as it might sound, purchasing a new pen, a new file folder, a new to-do diary, can alleviate your mood and motivation. 

Organization is the key to stabilize your messy mindset. If you have constantly been wasting time finding the necessary documents, it may be time to organize your desk. Purchase a new cabinet to arrange your essentials properly.  

7. Reflect on your past mistakes

Making mistakes and learning from them is an essential part of life and its journey.

Without making mistakes or reaching rock bottom, we wouldn’t be able to learn. So, when you make a mistake—take it as a positive indication rather than misery.

Mistakes teach us, build us, and provoke us to stay disciplined, focused, and motivated. 

When you make a mistake, reflect on what went wrong. Learning from mistakes has proven to increase self-discipline. When you increase self-discipline, the debate whether motivation vs discipline goes away. This is because you’ll be more motivated to keep being more discipline and realize the power you hold.

Conclusion: Motivation vs Discipline

  • Before everything, your mental health is more important. If it’s exhausting to work or even think about it, take a break.

    You can do the following:
  • Wild trip
  • Take warm baths,
  • Hang out with your friends/family,
  • Don’t drown yourself with work,
  • Spend some relaxing time with yourself,
  • Do whatever you want to take the burden and tension off your chest. 

But that’s never enough; you should consider frequent breaks throughout the workweek. Don’t stop living your life or stop enjoying your life. Try to balance life with work, motivation with discipline, and work with fun breaks.

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