Discipline vs Motivation
I have been asked before where I find the motivation to get up and do what I do. If you don't know let me take you through an average day. I get up at 5:45am every morning so I can shower and help get my 3 year old daughter ready for her day. I work a regular a day job in technology support from 7:30am to 4:00pm. After that I go instruct classes and do the everyday battle that is owning a business. I find some time to play with the toddler and talk with my wife. I'm studying for a personal trainer certification. Some nights I don't see home till around 10:30 in the evening. Somewhere in there I find time to continue my own martial arts training and I go train different systems throughout the week. If there is anytime left before midnight I do dishes, laundry, and pickup the mayhem my daughter may have left. She gets most of it but there's always a few extra things to tidy. My head doesn't usually hit the pillow until midnight or so. Then it starts all over again in a brief 5 hours and 45 minutes.
It's not that wild every day but it can be. And to tell you the truth motivation doesn't get me through it. Motivation to me is a response to an emotional stimuli. I am motivated to do something because I feel inspired. I am inspired by a beautiful picture, music or more often than not seeing the hard work of some else. I am motivated to take action. Motivation is therefore emotional component of inspiration. And as we all know emotions can be fickle and unreliable. If there is nothing sparking that inspiration there is no motivation. It is an emotional high, and you end up chasing that more than you do actually getting something done. You want that chemical concoction of feeling inspired and motivated. And what needs to be done often falls to the wayside.
Instead, what I focus on developing in between bouts of sudden motivation is discipline. Discipline is there no matter how you are feeling. You do something because you tell yourself to do it. You don't have to wait for the feeling to catch you. For example this blog post. Writing is not my strong suit (as the grammatical errors will show) and I put it off as much as possible. But today is the day I have set aside to write for my business. And here I am. Writing though I don't much feel like doing it. It is one of many things I'll do today for my business and family. There will always be things you don't feel like doing, but that have to get done none-the-less.
Discipline develops the same as any other skill, with practice. Start on the small scale. Rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Finding 10 minutes to practice your art. Finding 5 minutes to simply sit and focus your mind for the day. And the key is to do it again and again. And it will force you to prioritize your time and give weight to the things you spend that time on. Probably the most difficult part is determining what really matters to you and shedding all the other things that aren't.
One of the simplest methods to help develop your discipline is by creating a Streak List. No, not a list of places you want to grace with a full Monty view. It is a list of something you need to do either daily or weekly and every day you do it you mark it off with a red X. The idea is to mark a red X on every day. Don't break the streak. There are several apps that keep track of it for you. I use one called Productive. The longer you keep the streak going the less likely you are to break it. You count 115 days of accomplishments and you really don't want to stop.
Establish your routine. Start your week with a list of what needs to be done. It may be a repeat of last week and that's okay. Having them there will help you manage your time and let you tackle new obstacles. Humans are visual creatures and seeing what needs to happen and marking them off is extremely satisfying. And it will help you gain control over what may seem like an overwhelming chaos of tasks. It may even help you find time to focus on something you really want to do for yourself but never felt you had the time to.
Horizon Martial Arts
Horizon Training Center
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