Motivation is a tricky thing. It comes in hot and fast, makes you feel like you can do anything but than it burns out and leaves you feeling like you can’t do anything at all. Motivation is certainly important but it needs to be complimented with discipline. 

Yes, discipline.

When people hear the word discipline, they offen feel terrorized. Old movies of a big, mean, sargent-major barking out his orders at his tired troops, late at night, while they crawl in mud cursing under their breath. But that’s not discipline. 

Discipline is not loud and it is often unnoticed, un-complemented, and unheralded. It is deceptive in its power and mighty in its reach. Discipline is what you need when you feel like you can take on the world because it never burns hot, it never moves fast, and it never stops.

Discipline is not scary. It is something warm and calculating. It’s not easy, but than again if dreams were easy, no-one would have them or ever dream of things to come. If motivation is born out of feelings, discipline has its birthright in thoughts and the secret is to work both of them purposefully. Thoughts without emotions lead to stagnation. They usually lack purpose and fun. Feelings without thoughts get us into all kinds of trouble or bend us in directions we didn’t really want to go.

So what to do?

Don’t fight your feelings. Thats a mistake. They are important and should be welcome, but never ever rely on them to be there for you. If you decide to get healthy the first set of healthy meals you prepare will feel good. Your body will release endorphins and you will feel great about finally, once and for all, changing your life for the better. The same can be true for getting fit, or taking on any life changing decision. But adversity and human drama is never too far behind. There will always be a birthday, or anniversary, or a celebration, or a box of donuts that made it into the house without invitation. 

If you rely solely on your feelings, the motivation for fun and taste, and the old way of life undoubtedly returns, and you sabotage and undo any good work you’ve put in, because like the wind, motivation can change. Feelings change, like the wind.

Discipline isn’t susceptible to the same dangers. Discipline makes a conscious choice to do something each and every day. You can write every day, practice a musical instrument every day, prepare one healthy meal a day, or whatever you wish. That one thing, done for ten or fifteen or twenty minutes a day, time after time, month after month, builds a tremendous habit and habits are very difficult to break.

So find ways to exercise discipline. Commit to something. Nothing too big that you’ll stop, and nothing so small that it will make no impact in your life. Commit to something and be disciplines for a year, or five, or thirty five. 

Without a doubt, your feelings will try to take you of course and they will try to help you to reach further and deeper. Use them and resist them. Use and resist them but never let to go of discipline. It’s your blood. It’s the foundation of your dreams and dreams are worth fighting for. They are worth building. They are worth it, because you’re worth it, and your life is a great example of those who are coming behind you what is possible when you put your mind to it.

Cover photo generously provided by photographer Markus Spiske.