Motivation and Discipline: Two Key Factors for Success

Two of the most influential factors to success are motivation and discipline. They help create habits that shape us and refine us into a better version of ourselves. Whether you’re practicing Jiu-Jitsu, opening a business, or striving to overcome a personal challenge, you can make your goals more enjoyable and achievable with motivation and discipline.

The Influence of Motivation

Motivation is a desire and willingness to act. We are motivated by different factors to achieve specific outcomes daily. When we feel hungry, we desire to eat to remove that hunger. 

Motivation also works well in achieving your goals because it pushes you to perform. If you plan on losing weight to drop a weight bracket for a CompNet competition, then the event is your motivation. An alternative goal could be improving your physical fitness to be ready to compete. That motivation is the key to performance at the event.

Not all motivations stem from a desire to have a positive outcome. We also experience motivational factors because we fear the worst-case scenario happening. In the same situation above, the fear of getting disqualified for the competition could be the catalyst for someone wanting to make weight. Alternatively, not wanting to lose a match because your fitness level is not up to par may motivate you to increase your fitness level.

The reason you need motivation is the first step. Enthusiasm and excitement will help make the transition into hard work smoother. It’s easy to start when you have a strong desire to do so. That passion will translate into better results in a shorter timeframe.

The Challenge in Motivation

The problem with motivation is that it’s often short-lived. You may find that the same emotions that originally stir you no longer provide the same effect after a period of time. Motivation alone doesn’t provide enough consistency to provide long-term results.

Let’s take the weight loss example. During the first month of your journey, you’re excited as you see tangible results from each action you make, from exercise to diet. However, during the second month, your progress slows down, making you question the effectiveness of your methods.

Another example could be how excited you were when you stepped on the mats for the first month.  That immediate first love of what it felt like in the white belts days of constant learning and exciting new information.  Getting smashed was part of the expectation and it was part of the journey.  Then suddenly, the honeymoon wears off and the difficulties of becoming proficient are in front of you.  You’re suddenly not as motivated as you used to be during the first months. Getting smashed is starting to become not so much fun!

The loss of motivation can be a goal killer if you’re not careful. The lesson here is that motivation is not the only thing you need to ensure you succeed. While emotions can be a factor to get you started, it’s not the thing that will keep you on track on the hardest days. To be truly successful requires someone to practice motivation with a measure of discipline.

The Chain That Binds: Discipline

Successful athletes break down reaching their goals into a mix of motivation and discipline. When your emotions begin to wear down, discipline will be the thing that keeps you standing.

Discipline is the act of staying in control and behaving the same way no matter what factors are present in your current circumstance. In essence, it means remaining the same and enduring even when your motivation is low. Discipline will be the final push that builds the foundation of a habit. When your actions become a habit, it will be harder to break them.

Numerous studies show that people who demonstrate strong self-discipline have good habits. Most of their lives are crafted to fit their needs and goals. You can create a scenario where the actions to success will be something you do naturally. Over time, you’ll need less motivation to do the work required.

For example, by planning your meals for the week every Sunday, you’re making the weight loss plan easier. Or deciding on a training plan that fits well into your schedule and you stay consistent with, regardless of the outcome of the last training session. You don’t need daily motivation; you only need to follow what you prepared and planned for. Stay disciplined in following it, and eventually, you’ll get to a point where it becomes a routine.

Why You Need to Build a Habit

People are naturally creatures of habit. Our brain loves taking shortcuts to lessen the load on it. When we’re starting something new, we often need a lot of focus. Going to the gym or learning new Jiu-JItsu techniques will take a lot of effort. It is unfamiliar, so our brains and bodies have to get used to it.

Over time, as you become accustomed to the action, it becomes easier. However, the motivation to start and discipline to stay on your path are still requirements. The motivation puts you on that path, and the discipline allows you to build a habit. Once your action becomes a habit, you’ll need little effort to maintain what you’re doing.

In short, the action becomes automatic. If you need to train three times a week to stay in shape, by becoming a habit, you put yourself in a position where you’ll always be in the condition you desire. Many of the things we do daily are habits we’ve formed over long periods, from brushing our teeth to commuting to work. 

We don’t even have to think about the actions needed most of the time. They are second nature. The path to success is transforming your desire into habits.

Tips for Creating Motivation and Maintaining Discipline

One problem that derails many people from their goals is staying attached to the need for motivation for too long. Understand that it is something that eventually fades away. The excitement you have at the start will not always be there, but take advantage of it while the desire is strong.

If you want to achieve multiple things, the best thing you can do is prioritize them. What are the things that you want to achieve? While you can change your routine to fit many of your goals, we often work best when we focus on the highest priority items. Don’t spread yourself over too many things you want to achieve, or you might get burned out.

One way to help you stay motivated for longer is to link your desire with positive things. If you want to improve your fitness routine, you need positive reinforcement. Find inspiration among others who found success, or make note of how you continue to improve over time.

Stay on the Path

As you start your journey to a new goal, remember that a habit takes time to form. You’ll need to endure the process of building a habit through motivation and discipline before something becomes a part of your life. When emotions are high, it can be easy to push through, but when they’re low, you need self-discipline. Once you reach the threshold and create a habit, things will become easier for you. And as always, enjoy the journey.

Blog Written Dawn Korsen, a Gracie Barra Brown Belt

Hungry for motivation? Check out this blog with Professor Ana Laura Cordeiro about how competition has changed for women over the years.