Realistic motivation: where energy and discipline meet

Embarking on new projects or new goals requires motivation: a powerful energy that fuels your spirit. It’s a good feeling. When you’re convinced that you want to accomplish something, it’s easy to feel excited and begin each day with a strong sense of commitment. However, is this realistic motivation?

Motivation is a temporary emotion. Some days you can strongly feel it; other days, it’s completely gone, and you struggle to bring it back. With this in mind, I think it’s time to rethink this concept and look at it with different eyes.

From the perspective of science, motivation is the willingness to do something. From a practical stance, I define realistic motivation as the combination of a burning desire to take action on a specific objective and the discipline to complete it.

Realistic motivation, above all, holds hands with discipline. It consists of being aware that you won’t always have the same levels of energy to reach your goals. Even if you don’t feel like it, you know you need to keep going. Deep inside, you’re convinced your objective is worth accomplishing.

I like how James Clear puts it in simpler words.

At some point, it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to take action and feel insecure at the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch.

(…) This, I think, is the essence of motivation. Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same.

james clear

Discipline is exactly what gets you to that point of unbearable inaction. As you keep your efforts consistent, you move forward. Motivation can be part of the equation, but it can come and go. It expands and contracts.

In the great scheme of things, a burning desire to do something can get you started (motivation). However, discipline puts your feet on the ground and gets the job done. Both components take you places.

What do you think?

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