Motivation. A word we hear alllll the time, whether it be regarding work, chores, exercise, or a slew of other things. Motivation is important because it gives us the drive to start something. The literal definition is "the general desire or willingness of someone to do something". Obviously this is key because it sets the ball rolling. The downside....it can be (and often is) very fleeting.
Think about how many times you've been in the following scenario:
It's a Sunday night. You are starting a new exercise regimen tomorrow and can't WAIT. It's finally time to dedicate an hour each morning to bettering your own health, and you are READY. It's been far too long since you've been "motivated" to get back on the wagon. You have your clothes set out, your insulated water bottle already filled with ice water, and your workout planned. Your three alarms are labeled "time to workout!", "for real, get up now", and "GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED". In other words, you're READY and leaving nothing to chance.
Monday morning comes along. The motivation is still there, you jump out of bed at the first alarm, and have a great workout. You feel incredible all day because you accomplished what you set out to do.
Fast forward to Tuesday. You did all of the same things the night before to set yourself up for success. This time when your alarm goes off, you groan, shut it off, and roll over. It takes you until the third alarm today, but you eventually get up and get it done.
Now it's Wednesday. Same nighttime routine, same alarms. This morning, you're SORE, you're tired, and you have zero motivation. You turn off all three alarms, and sleep until you need to get up to get ready for work.
You're mad at yourself all day because you lost motivation, and you can't figure out where it went. This is the key issue - motivation comes and goes, and is totally out of our control. I'm not saying motivation is bad, because that's not the case. Use it to have a super productive day and get some serious sh*t done when you have it.
But when you don't....
Enter discipline. If you want another definition, this is "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior". Notice where motivation is a thing, a noun, discipline is a verb. It is something you do. It has nothing to do with wanting to do something or feeling motivated, it is simply getting it done.
The more you can implement disciplined actions into your daily life - whether these be focused on your career, health, family, day to day chores, etc - the more the will become routine and habitual. We are creatures of habit. The problem is, habits can be both good and bad. When used properly and consistently, discipline can help create strong habits and help to get rid of the not so great habits we all have. The best part about this is eventually, the actions that will lead to success in reaching your goal will become automated. You won't have think or expend precious mental energy trying to get yourself to get them done, you will simply just do them.
Instead of lamenting a lack of motivation today, later on this week, or whenever it may hit, remember why you were motivated in the first place. Remember what the end goal was that motivated you. Then - implement a little discipline to take you one step closer each day. It won't be easy, but I promise it will get a little easier as time goes on. I also promise it will be worth it.