“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing”

I saw this quote by John C. Maxwell the other day and it kept swirling through my mind for the past few days.

I’ve been frequently asked “how do you stay so disciplined?” – When swimming in the cold water, or going to the gym early in the morning. I find it difficult answering this question. Because I don’t really think about it – I just do it. Why? Because I feel better afterwards. I feel like it’s healthy and that it helps me get more out of my day. But that’s just how I feel.

Today we dove into the world of motivation, willpower, perseverance and discipline to find out the difference and what discipline really is. We also give some simple tips to develop more discipline and get more out of your day.

The meaning of…

There is some confusion about the differences, well at least with us. Is perseverance the same as discipline? In our opinion, “perseverance” has a somewhat negative connotation: keep pushing, regardless of the consequences. Discipline has more to do with the bigger goal, purpose in our opinion. With organization and focus.
Is willpower the same as motivation? Willpower is something you need, to do what you don’t really want to do, just like perseverance. While if your goal is really rewarding and meaningful, motivation usually comes naturally. And with it, the discipline to finish it. If you really do what inspires you, you usually don’t need willpower. But what exactly are the differences?

Willpower: The ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. The capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling, or impulse. (source)

Motivation: The term “motivation” describes why a person does something. It is the driving force behind human actions. Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. (source)

Discipline: Discipline is the quality of being able to behave and work in a controlled way which involves obeying particular rules or standards. (source)

Self-discipline is broadly defined as conscious control that is oriented towards successful outcomes by overcoming obstacles or impediments (source: Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 2014)

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (source)

Motivation vs. Discipline

What do motivation and discipline have in common? They are both related to the WHY. They focus on long-term results rather than short-term pleasure. Motivation is often fleeting and exciting. It comes and goes, just like thoughts. It gives a drive to start something but says nothing about finishing it.

This is where discipline comes in.

When you are disciplined, you don’t have to wait for the moment of inspiration to strike.

Discipline is all about doing what you need to do.
Even when you have less motivation – discipline makes you move forward and keeps you going. Discipline requires organization, planning and self-control. It increases focus and productivity.
Sometimes it seems that some have discipline and others don’t. Is this correct? No, discipline can be trained.

Today we share 5 simple tips to be more disciplined.

  • Organize
    Be sure to have a cleaned and organized home and office. You’ve probably heard this phrase many times; a tidy house = a tidy mind. Maybe it’s an open door, but so true!
  • Prioritize
    Knowing what you have planned for the day brings better focus. So a good schedule (day to day ánd long-term) is necessary to get more work done. Be aware that your planning should be realistic. Prioritize. Start the day with the most important and biggest task. We’re big fans of dividing the day into two blocks. This will ensure that you work on 1 goal/big task per half-day in a focused way and you still have variety in a day. This is totally personal of course, we share here what works for us 😉
  • Goals
    Write down your goals, make it visible and concrete. Seeing your goals daily helps in building your discipline. Constantly remind yourself WHY you started. Break down your goal into smaller sub-goals to make it feasible.
  • Take responsibility
    Self-knowledge. Here it’s crucial that you know yourself very well, to know your weaknesses. Create new habits to help you succeed. Let me sketch an example: you have a busy and demanding job and want to feel fit and energetic. You get home late at night and don’t have the energy to put together a healthy meal most of the time. You go to a take-away restaurant or order take-out. Or you grab snacks from your pantry. The solution? Create a new habit to solve this problem – take responsibility. Take 1 moment during the week – Sunday afternoon, for example – to prep healthy meals. This saves time, money and you’re supplied with healthy meals all week.
  • Start small
    Start with small goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t start too big. Not achieving the bigger goal in one time will make you feel frustrated because you didn’t succeed right away. By splitting the bigger goal into smaller goals, you keep it realistic. Achieving these smaller victories will keep you motivated to keep going.

We hope that these tips are useful for you! Do you have more tips & tricks to develop more discipline? Let us know and we’ll add them to our list! Remember, your dreams and goals are the starting point, but discipline is what keeps you going until you achieve your goals and dreams!