Motivation is fleeting. One of the biggest reasons we hear that people are unable to stick to an exercise plan, stick to a diet change, or change their behaviour in other ways is a lack of motivation. This is what we hear from the client. But truth be told, nobody is motivated all the time.
Motivation is fleeting in nature, there will be cyclic periods of high motivation in which behavioural change and engaging in activities outside the norm is easy. But what happens when this goes? When the initial high motivation starts to flatten, and the old ways come creeping on back in? People then need something else. And it isn’t a motivational speaker, or renewed goal setting, or a new pair of sneakers, although these things might help get you motivated for a while longer. No, what they need is to be more disciplined.
Discipline is the control gained by being able to follow the rules you’ve set or that have been set for you. Discipline is the ability to do what you know is best for you, in the long run at the time you would seek to do something else more pleasurable, or interesting, or easy. Discipline is what decides whether you revert back to your old ways, or whether you are able to stick to your guns and follow through to succeed. You aren’t always going to be motivated, and so you must cultivate a personality that is able to endure, and follow through.
In fact, discipline in highly correlated with the well-studied personality trait of conscientiousness. As defined by Wikipedia…
?Conscientiousness is the personality trait of being careful, or diligent. Conscientiousness implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly. They exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behaviour; and they are generally dependable. It is manifested in characteristic behaviours such as being neat, and systematic; also including such elements as carefulness, thoroughness, and deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting.
Not every person can be highly conscientious, and not everyone should be. As this would make the world a very different place, however if you want to increase your chances of success in whatever it is you wish to succeed in, your best bet is to start incorporating some personality change into your thoughts.
You may choose the view that how you do one thing, is how you do everything. So, if you want to be more conscientious, and therefore capable of being disciplined, you can start by being more organised, planning your days the night before, cleaning your house, and aim for a goal that you consider to be worthwhile. The more you follow through on small behaviours like making your bed each day, the more you’ll start to win those bigger battles like weight loss, diet, and generally living the life that you want to live.