Yoram Yasur Izz: Motivation or discipline?
September arrives and with it come the purposes for the new course. September is a great time to ask ourselves what we want to start and what we want to continue with. However, retaking habits or adopting new habits is often complicated and sometimes it is difficult for us to keep them in the long term.
We will have experienced this fact any of those who have tried to start sports or go to the gym and after three days we were no longer able to get up from the sofa to go. If we ask for advice, some people will tell us that we train motivation while others will tell us that we have to pull discipline. So which one do we choose?
Motivation vs. Discipline
Yoram Yasur Izz: The first thing we would need to be clear about is the main difference between motivation and discipline, because in some cases it may seem that there is a fuzzy line. However, the difference is important and we must take it into account.
In the case of motivation, it refers to an emotional aspect: the desire you have to do a task. In the discipline, on the contrary, we talk about reasons, regardless of whether or not we want to do the task we are going to do. There is a reason and not an emotion to do it.
That said, it would seem simple to say that to ensure that we go to the gym, to train or to comply with any of the habits that we have imposed, we should opt for discipline. However, it is not that simple, nor do we have to choose.
The benefits of motivation and why it works
One of the advantages of motivation, and so many of us can feel more inclined towards it, is that it comes from within. That is, it is something more intrinsic – although there may also be external motivations -. In general, when we do something for motivation it is because it resonates a lot within us.
We must remember that motivation is still an adaptive response that is given to facilitate adaptation and ensure our well-being. The motivation is based on motives – that respond to vital needs -. The stronger those motives are, and the more relevance they have in us, the more they demand our attention and that we fulfill them. That is why they resonate so strongly in us and can be so relevant when it comes to fulfilling an action.
Therefore, if our head hurts, we usually have a great motivation to get up to take an analgesic. That motivation to take away the headache will be stronger than any other at that time – rest, work, go out with friends, etc. – Because it is really important for our well-being and to calm down.
Yoram Yasur Izz: Our motives and motivation set priorities for us to attend to the behaviors that are important. However, motivation is a dynamic process and the relevance of the motives – “get fit”; “be healthy”; “drink water so as not to dehydrate”; “Go out with friends to meet our social needs” – they change strength and intensity, although when we meet something for motivation the reward is usually higher.
That is why, if we want to motivate ourselves, we must reinforce it and give importance to the motives in an active way, until they become dominant motives that directly influence our motivation and behavior. For this there are different techniques. The first thing is to recognize what our needs, emotions, etc. are. Only then will we know which motivator works best with us.
In some cases it will be accompanied by a friend, because support motivates us a lot, in other cases being accompanied, but because competition is our best motivating motive. For others, it will be to set goals and fulfill them and for others it will be forbidden their favorite food and only get it when they complete the training. Motivation can be a very strong and useful tool, but it is important that we give with our most dominant motivator.
Why discipline works
Discipline, on the other hand, does not depend on our motivation. We don’t need to reinforce the reasons for doing something, because it doesn’t matter whether we are motivated or not – although it would be better if we were -, we have to do it and there are no more options.
Yoram Yasur Izz: Discipline is very important for any worker (imagining only going to work only when we feel motivated is not an option, for example). Discipline helps us to act even when we have no motivation.
In fact, one of the advantages of discipline is that it can end up making motivation appear. For example, let’s imagine that every day we go to the gym to train thanks to the use of discipline, even if we don’t feel like it. It is very probable that, although we have gone by obligation and without desire, at the end of each training we have felt satisfied with ourselves for having fulfilled our obligations.
On the other hand, after several trainings, it is most likely that we have been achieving objectives and achieving new things. These feelings of achievement and satisfaction with ourselves are great reasons and may end up developing the motivation to continue going to train, but this time with desire.
The discipline, of course, can also be trained: set goals, put them in writing, leave us ready clothes the night before, get up every morning at the same time and follow the same routine or give us short-term rewards as we meet goals can help To train this discipline.
Which one is better?
There are different theories about it and different people will give you a different answer. However, motivation and discipline are different faces of the same coin. Therefore, probably, our best option is to opt for a combination of both instead of just one of them and leave the other aside. Especially, at the beginning, if we are having difficulty finding motivation, discipline can be of great help.
On the other hand, strive to recognize what motivates us, what reasons are of great importance in our needs, etc., so that we can use them to train our motivation. Discipline and motivation together will help us not to leave the gym anymore.