Motivation is overrated.

With every goal I try to reach and every habit I try to internalize, I always start off motivated and eager to climb the ladder to success.

But where is my motivation three months later at 5:45am, looking up at a long day of work after a sleepless night?

Where is my motivation during a horrible week, wrought with upsets and disappointments?

I curl up in bed, knowing full well what I have to do, but my motivation is no where to be found.

Motivation is a feeling. It is sand in your palms, sensitive to even the slightest breeze.

So what force do we use to accomplish our goals if not motivation?



Courage is not the absence fear, but the ability to go on despite it.

Discipline is not the absence of avolition, but the pledge to push forward regardless of it’s presence.

Discipline is the force that will be with you no matter what you are thinking or how you are feeling at the time.

No matter what you try to achieve, you will need it. From dieting, to writing a book, to cutting back on your swearing, discipline is the greatest force behind all improvement.

Here are a couple of things I have learned about discipline and how to cultivate it.

Discipline is one day at a time.

I have a little green book in the drawer beside me that I haven’t opened since last august, until today.

This book was my first conscious attempt at developing my discipline, although I had no idea what I was doing at the time.

It has a check list. Read, Write, Gym, 10 Ideas, 8 Hours of sleep.

When I started this book I hadn’t turned any of these things into concrete habits. I tried doing it all at once.

Every day I would put check marks beside what I did and rate myself out of 5.

It started off well, but quickly got ugly.

What I didn’t know at the time is that it is impossible to completely change your life overnight.

Developing your discipline is a life long pursuit. One that most of us don’t consciously pursue.
We aren’t all monks.

Every day try to exercise your discipline just one time. Pick the smallest habit you can and start there. Mine was making breakfast every morning.

That single habit, that single discipline workout every morning, changed my life.

For best results, treat your body with respect.

Everything that you accomplish in your life will stem from your mind. Your mind and the various states you put it through can decide whether you get closer to a better life, or slip further away.

If you are hungry, tired or stressed it will affect everything you do.

You should always make it a priority to get the proper amount of sleep and eat regularly. If you treat your body with disrespect, you will not get anything good from it.

Eating breakfast changed my life because it gave me energy in the morning and encouraged me to get more sleep so that I could wake up early enough to cook.

Your body doesn’t need to be a temple, but don’t let it turn into a garbage dump.

Forgive yourself and move on.

This is another major theme in life. If developing your discipline is a life long pursuit, then it only makes sense that every once and a while you are going to falter.

If you beat yourself up, you are more likely to spiral out of control and end up right back at square one.

Getting angry at yourself will solve nothing. If you fall, get back up as soon as possible and move on.

Today was an exercise in discipline for me.

I didn’t really have the motivation to write today. I have two days off, I’m tired, and it’s thanksgiving. If I wanted to I could have used these things as excuses to skip writing.

But this is where discipline, that little muscle that could, comes in. I know the exact moment that I don’t want to do something when I know I should, is when I have to call upon that little friend.

I have a lot of other things I plan to do today. Some of them will get done, but maybe I’ll miss a few.

That’s okay. I’m not perfect. But I’d like to believe I’m better than I was yesterday.

Happy thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.
As always, I’ll see you next Sunday.


      1. I’ve written a recent series on planning/scheduling but discipline is the engine to making a good plan go. Thx for the excellent thoughts expressed well!


  1. Very motivating. It’s good to remember that one step at a time is all that’s needed. Everything else will then fall into place, given the chance


  2. Fantastic post! These words are so true, especially for an aspiring writer; some days I sit at the computer with no motivation at all! I must remember that discipline will carry me through and (hopefully) lead to success. Thanks!


    1. Discipline will definitely be the wind in your sails, but developing it is a tedious process. Remember to take small steps to practice discipline, such as writing 15 minutes every day. Long term consistency will always win over short term intensity. Thank you for sharing that with me. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this. Lack of discipline is my downfall every time. I’m good with hope, but not conviction. So my hopes are quickly dashed. As you know, I’m also aware of the importance in taking the small steps. Maybe my one thing can be this – on days off I will get up within half an hour of waking. My second thing will be to get washed and dressed straight away. Because sitting around in my jammies always depletes my energies……and I know this so well.


    1. Beautiful! You have already taken this idea and put solid mini goals to get you started. Stick to those first steps and it will snow ball in no time. Thank you for sharing this, it’s very important to take lessons and turn them into action!


  4. Discipline is exactly what I need to achieve some goals in my life. Thanks for sharing it. Definitely a good reminder!


  5. Excellent post – it is so true! Take blog writing for example, motivation may make you want to start a blog, but to keep a regular writing habit requires discipline


  6. This is beautiful- and actually quite motivating! I realised that so many people can try and sell me motivation, but without my own discipline, things won’t get done!


  7. that’s very true, I have been chasing motivation, trying to get it back for years and the other day I found an article about discipline and it put me back on track. Sometimes you know things within yourself but it does you good to read them !


    1. I love that you said sometimes you have to read them, because I re-read things that I’ve written about a hundred times to remind myself of the fact. I’ll read quotes and watch videos like mantras. Everyone needs a reminder! Thank you for stopping by and sharing that insight!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for your follow. This blog post was particularly welcomed today as I have been procrastinating from writing due to lack of sleep from not ‘disciplining’ myself to go to bed early enough. Thanks for the reminder that motivation is not enough. Huggs!


    1. It’s no problem at all, this was a reminded to myself as well. Getting to bed at a decent time is a prerequisite for any form of success or happiness in my opinion. So hit the sack early and a lot of other things will take care of themselves. Thank you so much for the kind words. I really do appreciate them!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe perspective changes with age, but discipline implies writing is work – and something you force yourself to do because you should.

    That sucks all the joy out of it.

    Today, I didn’t write – because we’re going on a trip and I have to get things in order before we go. I missed it. I was sitting in my chair when the sun came up to steal a little time because there wouldn’t be any later – the rest of the day was stuff that had to get done. It is the biggest sacrifice I can make, to give up my good time, my writing time, for something like banking!

    Writing is the only pure pleasure I have left. YMMV


    1. I enjoy writing quite a lot, but I do treat it as my craft as well. You are completely right though, I try to make sure that I don’t suck the fun out of it because that will ruin any hobby in a hurry. Hopefully you will have plenty of time for writing and you won’t have to do much more banking. Thank you so much for stopping by, don’t be a stranger!


  10. Well done Steven. Change, real change that is life altering comes from realizing that you must start with one thing. All of my life (before about two years ago) I was one of the 99% that made New Year’s resolutions, tried to change diet and exercise habits all at once, made commitments to myself that any honestly rational person would say were destined for failure. Then I made one simple but significant change and the world and my life started to come into view. I still struggle with discipline but I am no longer afraid to fail. Appreciate your post and will enjoy following your writing.


  11. Loved this post…. went back and looked for it and read it again, coz it made a lot of sense to me….
    It’s not like we do not know that discipline is essential… It’s just that every now and then, we want our faith reaffirmed about it! And that’s just what happened here….


    1. It’s funny because even though I’m the one who wrote this, I too need reminders every once and a while. I come back and read this article whenever I feel like I waiting around too much for “the motivation.” Thanks for coming back and revisiting it with me!

      Liked by 1 person

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