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It Takes More Than Motivation

“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”  John Maxwell

Motivation comes in many forms; we can be motivated by fear, reward, personal satisfaction or to impress others.  Whatever the source, motivation is what makes you decide to change and is what gets you going.  Discipline – the ability to continue pushing forward – is what determines your success.  Why do so many New Year’s resolutions fail?  They were made with the best of intentions, to be sure.  The problem is that after the initial thrill and excitement of working towards a goal wanes, without the discipline to keep going, most people just…stop.

I believe the first step towards success is being motivated intrinsically; that is, by something that comes from within and that is important to YOU.  It doesn’t matter if your best friend wants you to run a marathon; if that isn’t something you desire to do, it will be really easy to bail out on those early morning (and cold!) training runs. If your source of motivation comes from something you feel deeply about (losing weight to stave off diabetes, being healthy to be able to share time with those you love, participating in a distance race that just lights your fire) the discipline will come much more easily to you.  Sure, it will be HARD.  It doesn’t matter how much you want something…if you aren’t disciplined to stick with it, especially when the going gets tough (which it will) it doesn’t matter how motivated you are, it will be easy to make excuses.  You have to possess that discipline to get out of bed on those cold, dark mornings to get your training done, the discipline to set aside time for cooking healthy meals, and the “stick-to-it-ness” to keep going when others bail on you. (And trust me, at some point or time, they probably will)

Lots of people have motivation.  Gyms are full of them come Jan 2.  Success is earned by those that not only have the motivation to start, but the discipline to continue. This is where growth – and ultimately success – occurs.

What are you motivated by?  Do you set goals in order to please others or to “go along with the crowd” or are you motivated from a voice inside that whispers (or yells!) “go for it”?  Think about what you’d like to accomplish, what areas of growth you have outlined for yourself.  Do you have the discipline to see these goals to fruition, to keep going when things get hard or less than ideal?

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