Discipline vs Motivation: What is better for personal growth?

Updated on   Updated
Discipline vs Motivation

Discipline vs motivation is an argument that has been going on for years and will probably continue for years to come. It’s a heated topic among people who have goals.

For most people, the words “discipline” and “motivation” have similar meanings. However, they can be very different in reality.

Discipline is the act of self-control while motivation is what gives us that drive to complete a task or work on a goal.

It’s important to know the difference between these two concepts so you can harness them both in your life!

Spoiler alert: Discipline wins over motivation.

Want to know why? Well, read the rest of the article and we’ll give you enough reasons that by the end of it you will hopefully understand why.

Motivation is unreliable and inconsistent

Motivation is inconsistent

Motivation is a fleeting feeling of excitement that comes and goes. It can be unpredictable, and it isn’t reliable or consistent.

Being excited and highly motivated to do something may seem great at first, but it doesn’t last long and leaves you wishing for more energy than ever before.

That’s because you rely on feelings instead of choices when it comes to deciding what you should focus on.

Discipline doesn’t care how you feel

Motivation is about you. Discipline doesn’t care about your feelings. Discipline is about getting things done. Discipline is a learned ability to do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it.

You will be reminded of this constantly, especially if you start doing some easy stuff instead of the actual important hard things that you need to be doing. And it will do this in order to get you to do what does matter, the things that lead to success in the long term.

Motivation is about feeling good because of what YOU did (or didn’t do). Discipline is about doing the right thing regardless of how YOU feel about it at the time, but knowing full well that those choices will bring results down the road, even if they don’t feel satisfying now.

Discipline is what you do with motivation

Discipline is all about consistency, and it’s the most important part of any long-term goal or project.

Without discipline, your motivation will only get you so far. Your actions are where the real work gets done!

But if you don’t have a strong sense of self-discipline, nothing will happen and you’ll just keep daydreaming about achieving those goals instead of doing anything to make them happen.

Discipline is how you turn your visions into reality: it’s what makes your dreams come true!

Discipline comes from within

Discipline does not come from the outside, it comes from the inside. You can’t rely on other people to motivate you. You need to find your own motivation!

Discipline is something that many of us have trouble with, but it’s not something that can’t be learned. You just need to be willing to do the work! Discipline is a skill that can be learned, but only if you are willing to put in the time and effort necessary. It takes practice, like anything else in life.

When I was younger I remember that my mom would always tell me “You don’t want to be lazy like your brother!” When she said this I thought: “Why would I want my brother’s lifestyle? He has no job and doesn’t do anything with his days but plays video games all day long! That’s not what I want at all!”

But now that I am older and have a bit more life experience, I realize that my mom was right. Being lazy isn’t fun or rewarding in any way. It’s just boring and sad.

When you’re young it’s easy to think that the most important thing in life is having fun, but as you get older you realize that there are many other things more important than having fun all the time!

What is more important for personal growth?

We and many others believe that discipline is the most important tool in personal growth and success. But, the problem is that discipline is not a natural behavior that comes easily, instead as we have said previously it must be developed through practice and habit formation.

With time you will see that there are many benefits to having a more disciplined life because this skill allows us to control our thoughts, emotions, and actions so we can align them with our goals instead of letting ourselves be controlled by negative emotions or bad habits (e.g., procrastination).

By the way, check out our guide on How To Break Bad Habits if you need some help with this.

When used correctly, discipline helps us achieve our goals faster by removing distractions from our lives rather than adding them (like TV shows).

Discipline vs Motivation: Focus on the long run

Motivation is about feelings

There are many advantages to using discipline over motivation. When you’re feeling motivated, you’ll do anything for the right amount of money or praise, but when those things are gone, so is your motivation.

Motivation can be seen as an outside influence that makes us feel like we need to do something in order to get what we want out of life: money, fame, respect… anything that requires effort or work on our part is usually a good place to start looking for motivation!

The problem with this approach? It means that if something goes wrong in our lives (like someone criticizes us), then we won’t be able to continue working hard towards our goal because there’s no longer any reason for us to, which defeats the whole purpose of setting goals in the first place!

Discipline is about consistency

discipline vs motivation: focus on long-term goals
Discipline vs Motivation: Focus on long-term goals

Discipline is about doing the right thing, even when it’s hard.

Do you really want to lose weight? Then don’t eat that tub of ice cream in front of you.

Do you really want to write a blog post every day? Then sit down and write one, no matter what other things are going on around you or how much resistance your brain puts up against it.

Here’s a quick and effective discipline exercise, that is known as the 2-minute rule:

Simply make it a habit to just start doing “the thing” for only 2 minutes. Just tell yourself that you will only “waste” 2 minutes on it, it’s not that much now, is it?

But the beauty of this rule is that most of the time, you will continue doing “the thing” even if the 2 minutes have passed, and now you’re invested in it.

Because usually the hardest part about doing something is simply just getting started.

And if you rely on motivation and feelings to get you to do something, well then I have some bad news for you. Because if you “don’t feel like doing it” then there are no reasons for you to even start.

Discipline means making sacrifices for the long-term benefit.

That doesn’t mean that you should be miserable all the time and deprive yourself of everything that makes life enjoyable.

In fact, discipline requires building habits that are sustainable and healthy so that they’re not just short-lived attempts at self-improvement but lifelong changes that make us better people overall (and yes: healthier).

It’s like fad diets that come and go, you try this diet today that’s super strict like “the military diet” that promises you will lose 15 lbs in 3 days. You start doing it, but you feel very miserable, you will lose the weight but at what cost?

You basically starved yourself and severely limited your calories for 3 days just to see a sudden drop in weight. But as soon as you go back to your regular unhealthy diet, you will start putting on weight again.

A much healthier and better approach is to cut down on just a couple of things such as processed foods, stop consuming sugary treats, alcohol, etc, and maybe start doing some light exercises, without having to go too drastic all of a sudden.

This is way better for people to sustain and they don’t have to starve themselves to death.

Motivation is the fuel that gets you started

Motivation helps you get started

Motivation is like a fire, it’s the fuel that helps you get started. But while it burns hot and fast, unfortunately, it doesn’t last for too long.

Sure, in the beginning, motivation is great and we don’t disagree with that, but it’s not reliable or consistent. It can come and go at any time and you never know when it will return or how long it will last if it does come back.

Motivation is similar to alcohol: At first, it gives you energy, gives you confidence, improves your mood, and makes you feel great! But then after a while, it’s hangover time… and we all know how that feels. That’s why there are many benefits of being sober for the day to day life.

Find your discipline and work hard to succeed

Discipline and motivation are two crucial qualities of success. But when it comes to picking a side between discipline vs motivation, well then, we’d have to go with discipline. It’s the more important of the two, by far; it’s what keeps you going when times get tough, and it keeps your eyes on the prize even when distractions abound.

Motivation can come from various sources: a friend or family member who wants to see you succeed, a sense of pride in your work (if you’re doing something enjoyable), or even just an innate need for self-preservation.

Motivation helps keep you going in short bursts; discipline is what keeps you going over long periods of time, even when things get tough and uncomfortable.

In fact, effective discipline requires that we push through these difficulties instead of giving up or getting distracted by other things that may seem more interesting at first glance (such as playing video games).

Discipline vs motivation, which should you be focusing on?

While we believe that discipline is more important than motivation, because of the many reasons stated above, that’s not to say motivation isn’t useful, but rather that discipline is a much stronger tool for personal growth and success.

That’s because, in essence, discipline comes from within while motivation is unreliable because it depends largely on external factors like other people telling us what we should do or how they think we should act.

Discipline requires self-control and self-awareness, without these qualities, we’re unable to apply ourselves consistently toward our long-term goals over time, and that’s where true success lies!

Oh and don’t forget about the Power of Positivity as well, and how it can also improve your life.

So what do you think?

Is discipline more important than motivation? Did we miss anything? Pick your side of the coin in this headed debate of discipline vs motivation and let us know in the comments below!


The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and to discuss the risks and benefits of any treatment.


By Stephen M.

Stephen Montagne is an entrepreneur, writer, and digital marketer dedicated to helping others break free from addiction and live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Having conquered his own battles with binge drinking, smoking, vaping, watching nasty vids, and more, he understands the challenges firsthand. Stephen's personal transformation, including losing over 110 pounds (50 kilograms), fuels his passion for guiding others on their own journeys to recovery. Through his insightful writing and digital marketing expertise, he empowers individuals to embrace change and discover a life of purpose and well-being.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *