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Motivation vs. Discipline

October 25, 20232 min read

"Motivation ignites the fire, but discipline sustains the flame."

Motivation - it's what gets you started!

What is it? Motivation is the feeling or desire that drives you to take action. It's the excitement and enthusiasm you feel when you decide to start a new workout regimen or set a new fitness goal.

Characteristics - Motivation is often emotional and can be triggered by external events, like watching an inspirational video, hearing a success story, or the approach of summer.

Strengths - It gives you that initial push. When you’re motivated, you’re eager to get to the gym, try a new workout, or challenge yourself with a new fitness goal. "I am going to sign up for Hales Fit."

Weaknesses - Motivation can be fleeting. External factors, like bad weather, a busy schedule, or lack of visible results, can quickly dampen it. "The weather is garbage, I would rather sit on the couch."

Discipline - the engine that keeps you going!

What is it? Discipline is the ability to make a conscious decision to do something (or avoid doing something) regardless of how you feel in the moment.

Characteristics - Discipline is consistent and is driven by commitment and habit rather than emotion. It’s about making choices that align with your long-term goals, even when it’s not easy.

Strengths - Discipline ensures longevity. It helps you stick to your fitness routine even when motivation wanes, ensuring that you continue making progress. "I don't feel like tracking my food today, but my goals are important so it's what I want most vs. what I want now..."

Weaknesses - Too much discipline without any intrinsic motivation can lead to burnout or resentment toward your fitness routine! Live life flexibly - pay attention to your body and what it's telling you! Burnout is real, recovery is necessary.

Why Both Are Important?

Starting Strong with Motivation: When you’re motivated, you’re more likely to explore new workouts, push yourself harder, and set ambitious goals. This initial enthusiasm can set the stage for a rewarding fitness journey. "I am so excited to get started!"

Building a Foundation with Discipline: While motivation gives you a strong start, discipline ensures you keep going. By cultivating discipline, you create a solid foundation that will keep you working out, even on days when you’re not feeling it. "I don't want to, but I know I will feel better after."

Balancing Peaks and Valleys: There will be times in your fitness journey when motivation runs high, and other times when it’s barely there. Discipline fills in those gaps, ensuring you stay on track. Fall down seven, stand up eight. Your fitness journey is not linear. It is up and down. What matters most is that you keep showing up.

Achieving Long-Term Success: Relying solely on motivation can lead to a start-stop pattern in your fitness journey. By integrating discipline into your routine, you give yourself the tools to achieve and maintain long-term success.

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Haley Stegman

Haley is a certified Sports Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer.

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