Why Motivation Is Overrated

If you thought that was just a catchy headline to grab and then disappoint readers, you’re wrong. Motivation is incredibly overrated.

“But that’s what got me to work out today!” you’re saying. Next you challenge me with something like “How am I supposed to get anything done without motivation?”

Let me know how soon your motivation to work out every day goes dry. My guess is it lasts 5 days or until you have a bad day at work and you “already ate a cheeseburger and fries today, so why bother working out?” Whichever comes first.

Motivation is fickle. Like feelings or inspiration, it comes and goes at will. You can try to contain it, but it will always find a way to escape your grasp. You may use every motivation tool in the book, have an accountability partner, and even give yourself pep talks, but eventually that fire in your heart just won’t burn.

Even if you are a person who can stay motivated for long periods of time and even if your fire rarely stays out that long, do you really want to be a slave to your own whims? Because, although the fire might be staying strong this year, you never know when something will just whisk it away.

Tell me, when you look in the mirror on New Years Eve and see the only thing you’ve been working on more than that stressful work project is your beer gut, how motivated are you to lose that weight for the new year?

I bet you’re pretty determined. New Years resolution time! Because we all know you and everyone else is batting 1.000 on those. Oh wait, I put the decimal in the wrong spot; I meant .0001.

But you’re full of hope, and you have a fire in your belly, which you’re hoping will help to burn the calories even faster. Determination and sheer will power burns calories, right?

Tell me, do you even make it to January 7 on that diet? Did you even work out 2 different times? If you’re one of the few impressive ones, maybe you make it until Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But somehow you get derailed and find yourself in the same position next year. And so the cycle continues.

THAT, my friends, is the power of motivation. Good for a couple of workouts and a week or so free of deep dish pizza.

Good thing there is discipline.

Discipline doesn’t rely on your will-power. Discipline doesn’t come in bursts and fade as fast as it flares. Discipline isn’t a feeling and it doesn’t wait around for permission from your emotions.

Discipline is built. It is built by getting into productive habits. It is built by taking baby steps towards your goal. While willpower and motivation makes you go from a slob who’s only workout is lifting the remote to working out 5x a week for a whopping 2 weeks, discipline slowly gets you to see working out 5x a week and being conscious about what you eat as the new-you norm.

Discipline won’t happen overnight. But nothing great is built overnight. Not the Colosseum, Great Pyramids, or the Star Wars saga. You have to be willing to work hard without seeing instant results.

No matter how small the step, each step gets you closer to the destination. You need to remember that. You may have noticed from previous posts that I’m a huge fan of the concept of baby steps. I am because baby steps can get you about anywhere, and it builds habits and creates discipline that will ensure you keep going and eventually reach your goal.

Do you want to write 10 chapters of your book in the next 2 weeks and then 1 chapter in the next year or do you want to write 1 chapter a week every week until the first draft is done? Do you want to pour $1000 into your Roth IRA today and then forget about it, or consistently invest $50 a month?

Start building that discipline today. Use it to set effective goals and then to accomplish your goals. Use it to work towards your goals every day. Don’t use your fickle willpower. Use the power of habit building discipline.

What habits and discipline are you working on? What baby steps have you been taking recently? Let us know in the comments below! You can tweet at us @EscapeTheBoxLab. If you like this post and know someone who will benefit, give it a share! We appreciate each and every reader, and love it when someone lets us know our content helped them out, so thank you so much for reading!

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