I was a fat kid growing up. In my late teens and early 20’s I lost a lot of weight. People asked “how did you do it?”
“I did it gradually. I started eating healthier and exercising more”. No one liked my answer. Maybe they were hoping to discover a new weight loss secret. And were disappointed when I didn’t have any. They often said “wow I wish I was that motivated”.
In my early to mid 20’s I quit my boring office job and became self-employed.
A few of my friends wanted to do the same. They asked me how I did it. I recommended books, courses and online forums that helped me along the way. They complained “that sounds like a lot of work” and said “I don’t think I’m that motivated”.
Whenever this motivation excuse came up, I had no good response. Now that I’m older I understand it more.
There is this idea that one needs to be motivated to do something. And that if they don’t feel like it, they lack the motivation and can’t do it.
Motivation is an emotion. It’s temporary. You might read a motivating story and take action. However sooner or later the motivation will fade away. This is where Discipline kicks in.
Discipline is doing the work even when you don’t feel like it.
How does one build discipline?
Unfortunately its a slow and boring process. It requires making small sustainable changes over a long period of time. Those changes add up and become new habits. And the more new habits you build the more discipline you’ll have. The more discipline you have the more changes you’ll be able to make.
Building discipline starts with the mindset that “I don’t feel like it” isn’t a good excuse.
If you’re trying to eat healthy you won’t always feel like it.
If you’re trying to exercise you won’t always feel like it.
If you’re working on a side project or starting your own business you won’t always feel like doing the work.
This is why starting with small changes is a good idea. It’s easier to stick with a small change even when you don’t feel like it. And the more small changes you stick with the easier it becomes to make bigger changes.
Discipline helps you stick to your goals. It’s much more valuable than motivation.
So what is your goal? What change are you trying to make? And how can you develop the discipline to stick with it?