The past couple of weeks, I have been mentally out of the discipline game. I haven’t gone off the deep end where I’m running around eating, drinking, and doing whatever I want, but I feel like I definitely have allowed myself a lot more slack than I normally do.
This might not be the end of the world, but for me, who is used to carrying things out in a timely and orderly fashion, I can completely tell that I am not at the top of my game, and I hate it. I have so many things that I want to accomplish, yet I seem to keep sliding backwards when I should be striding forward.
I desperately want all of my goals to be accomplished. So why is my motivation not propelling me forward in the way that a burning desire should?
Motivation isn’t the catalyst.
I read or heard something recently that you don’t need more motivation, you need more discipline. This could not be more true in my experience: I am completely motivated to get my real estate license and to lose the last 5-8 lbs that I need to lose in order to be completely happy with my bikini bod, but the last couple weeks with discipline being completely thrown out the window, I can tell that my body is a little softer than it was 4 weeks ago, and I’m still on my first real estate book when I had planned to be on my second by now.
And so, here I sit, no real estate license in hand and jeans a bit more snug that I would like. Nobody wants to hear about the time you were motivated to almost finish a race or almost start your own business. We love stories about actual results.
Why, then, are people so quick to blame lack of motivation or claim they need to do all these things to get motivated to do something? Why don’t they simply put their nose to the grindstone and start to see results?
Sadly, the truth isn’t exciting.
Quite frankly, discipline sucks. No one WANTS to constantly resist all of the tempting foods that are constantly being shoved in our face. It’s definitely not FUN to stay home on a Friday night once again so that you can pop out of bed bright and early on Saturday morning. It’s BORING to sit down to the table to read a chapter for the 17th day in a row rather than flip on the TV to the latest hit show.
Motivation, on the other hand, is addicting. It’s highly enjoyable to get all hyped up about something, especially if you are getting pumped up in a crowd. You see people who have accomplished what you want to accomplish. You hear about how they achieved this body or that amount of customers or traveled to this many places, and their story inspires you to make more of a push for your goals.
But the thing is, most goals are not going to be accomplished in the hour or two where your motivation is at peak levels. If motivation is the only that that is fueling your fire, than you will be shivering in the cold long before the end game is in sight.
It takes discipline to go the long haul. You are going to have to go out to the woods, chop a tree, bring it back piece by piece, and do this over and over again to keep that fire burning.
Simply put, discipline is the ONLY THING that guarantees your results. The very nature of discipline implies consistency, and if you are consistent with anything long enough, you will eventually achieve your desire in one form or another.
Any time that I look at what I have or don’t have and try to mentally complain about how it’s not fair that I’m not at this or that level, I can always force myself to look back and see the lack of consistency that led me to where I am at that moment.
Discipline is hard. But eventually, discipline leads to habit, and once you’ve reached habitual levels of consistent effort, your progress will speed up tremendously.
However, life still likes to throw roadblocks at you in the form of unexpected events. When I have a week where my routine is uninterrupted, my food consumption, gym attendance, and learning schedule are unchallenged and go off without a hitch.
But throw in a random meeting or two, life responsibilities that take a lot of time in my otherwise normal day, and people who are visiting or who want to hang out, and my discipline goes out the window.
So, in reality, I’m actually not that disciplined. If I was, I would be able to navigate those stumbling blocks with ease, and keep my eyes on what it is that I want long-term.
This is a sucky thing to admit to oneself, especially if you have an image in your mind that encompasses all you WANT to be, versus where you really are. And once again, I have all the motivation in the world to want to be fit and advance my learning in general, but when it comes down to it, desire doesn’t matter.
Your body doesn’t react to what you WANT it to look like-it shapes itself based on what you do to it and how you feed it. Your business doesn’t grow based on what you WANT your revenues to be, it yields tantamount to the consistent effort that is put forth by you and your employees. When it comes down to the wire, your efforts will show, no matter how much you will them to be different than they are.
There is no shortcut to any success. Motivation may cause an initial burst of energy that will get you past the breakers, but it is the slow, steady strokes, hand over hand, that will get you across the channel.
So sit down with yourself. Acknowledge where you want to end up, and how far you are away from it. Steel yourself for the long haul ahead. Write out a specific plan for your days, and how you will handle routine interruptions. Settle into the reality that it’s not going to be a high-energy, full speed ahead race where the finish line is reached in mere seconds.
The journey is long. It’s arduous. It’s full of moments that suck. But in the end, the steady turtle of discipline will outpace the bounding rabbit of motivation every. single. time.