People often confuse what is more critical and necessary when it comes to motivation versus discipline.

It is often said that motivation is the key to success. Without it, it simply isn’t possible to achieve our goals. After all, motivation is what gets you started. While discipline is what keeps you going when the going gets tough.

Discipline gives us the strength to stick to our goals even when we don’t feel like it. It allows us to get out of bed on those mornings when we’d rather stay in bed, and it keeps us going when we feel like giving up.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between motivation and self-discipline and see which one is more important for achieving your goals.

Let’s get started!

What is Motivation?

Motivation is the desire or will to do something. It’s what gets you started in the first place to pursue your dreams. Motivation comes from within yourself, and it can be a powerful force that drives you to take action to achieve your goals.

It is important because it gets you started. Without it, you would never begin and just daydream about doing so.

According to Oxford, Motivation is: “the reason why somebody does something or behaves in a particular way.”

“When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.” –Albert Einstein.

motivation - man on top of a mountain

What is Discipline?

Discipline is the ability to stick to a plan or routine, even when it’s difficult. It is the ability to do what you need, even when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s about setting goals and sticking to them, no matter what.

It allows you to push through difficult times and come out victorious on the other side.

Discipline is important because it helps you stay focused and on track, even when things get tough. It keeps you going when motivation starts to fade because your goal is worth pursuing.

According to Oxford, Discipline is: “the ability to control your behavior or the way you live, work, etc.”

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” –Jim Rohn.

Man using disciple to pull 2 men up a mountain with a chain

What Is The Difference Between Motivation Versus Discipline?

Both discipline and motivation are essential for achieving your goals.

Motivation is what gets you started, while discipline is what keeps you going.

Without motivation, your dreams would remain something that you tell yourself you will start ‘one day.’

But without discipline, you are likely to just give up when things get hard or you don’t achieve results as fast as you would like.

Which Is Better- Motivation Versus Discipline?

When comparing Discipline vs Motivation, you must realize that both are important for achieving your goals.

Many people find the motivation to take the first step towards working towards their goals and dreams. Still, they quickly give up when things get hard, and they need to take steps to work towards making it a reality.

Because of this, discipline is better than motivation, as it is what actually gets things done and allows you to achieve your goals.

When the excitement of starting something new fades, all that remains is the work. It is then that discipline gives you the driving force to keep going and improve, even if it is not enjoyable.

Discipline also helps you overcome any self-doubt or fear you may have. It allows you to continue to show up and do the work rather than listening to the voice in your mind telling you that you’re not good enough or it is a bad idea.

Skyler’s Experience – Motivation Vs. Discipline

I experienced this many times myself. I had wanted to start a blog for 5 years. So many times, I became inspired. I bought a domain, began to set up the website, designed a logo and set up an email address.

But, I never even took that very first step of writing a first blog post and publishing my site.


Because my motivation ran out. I started to experience self-doubt and imposter syndrome. I was worried I would fail, so the motivation and excitement quickly faded.

I did this more than 5 times, constantly repeating the same process. Then finally, something changed.

I became disciplined, started to take action, and put in the hard work, even when my blog was only getting 1 or 2 views per day or life got in the way. I didn’t give up this time or convince myself I would fail.

7 Reasons Why You Should Choose Discipline over Motivation

If you’re still not convinced that discipline is more important than motivation, here are 7 reasons why you should choose Discipline over Motivation

Creates Habits That Stick

When you’re motivated to do something, it’s usually because you’re excited about the results. However, we only have a limited amount of energy, and the excitement doesn’t always last and is short-lived.

It is easy to give up when things get tough, or you don’t see results immediately, especially if you don’t have strong self-control.

On the other hand, discipline helps you create habits that stick because it is not based on how you feel in the moment and increases self-confidence over time.

E.g., You may not always feel like working out, but if it’s a habit that you’re disciplined about, you will do it anyway.

2. Leads to Long-Term Success

Discipline is not a short-term solution; it’s a long-term lifestyle change. And making that change will lead to lasting, long-term success.

When you’re disciplined, you make choices that may not be easy to make at the moment but will pay off in the long run.

For example, you may have had a long, exhausting day at your 9-5 job. However, you come home and still decide to spend an hour or two writing a blog post. Or you may choose to go for a run even when you’re tired and would rather stay in bed.

They may not be easy choices, but they will help you achieve your long-term goals. And that’s what discipline is all about.

3. Gives You Consistency

Discipline also gives you consistency. When you’re disciplined, you do what you must, even when you don’t feel like it. This means you’re not just relying on motivation to get the job done – you’re also relying on yourself.

And this is so important because motivation is fickle. It comes and goes and is never there when you need it most. But if you’re disciplined, you don’t need the motivation to do the job. You just do it.

4. Helps You Stay Focused

When you’re motivated to do something, it’s easy for you to get sidetracked. Especially to start working on things that aren’t related to your goal if they feel fresh and exciting.

However, discipline helps you stay focused based on your long-term goals, even when they get harder and harder to make progress. This focus will prevent you from working on things that don’t matter and ultimately help you achieve your goals more quickly.

5. Allows You To Take Self-Control

Discipline allows for self-control. It’s being able to regulate oneself. And wow, do we live in a time when people have very little self-control!

Just think about the junk food we consume or the countless hours we spend mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds.

If we can’t control ourselves, we can’t achieve our goals.

We’ll always find excuses to give up or to not even start in the first place. Having discipline means being in control of our actions and our reactions. It’s about making choices that align with our goals, even when we don’t feel like it.

6. Builds Good Habits

Discipline also helps us to build good habits. Habits are the things we do without thinking, and they play a significant role in our lives. Just think about how many of your daily actions you do out of habit.

If we want to achieve our goals, then we need to develop habits that support those goals. For example, suppose our goal is to eat healthier. In that case, we need to build the habit of preparing healthy meals and packing snacks with us instead of eating out.

Or, what if your goal is to be a successful entrepreneur? Then you need to develop the habit of excellent time-management skills to do tasks that have the most significant impact on growing your business.

7. Teaches You Perseverance

Discipline also teaches you perseverance – the ability to keep going even when it’s tough. And let’s face it, life is tough. Sometimes you want to give up, but if you’re disciplined, you’ll persevere.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to lose weight. You may have a bad week where you gain a few pounds back, but if you’re disciplined, you won’t give up. Instead, you’ll get back on track and continue working towards your goal.

From Impossible to I'm possible with motivation and self-discipline


Why Self-Motivation isn’t enough for Productivity

You may have noticed that even when you’re motivated to do something, it doesn’t always mean you get it done. In fact, there are many things we know we should do that we just don’t do.

Perhaps it might seem that the goal is impossible, so why bother trying.

Take eating healthy, quitting smoking, or even just getting out of bed in the morning. Motivation is great, but it doesn’t always lead to action.

However, it is discipline that helps to overcome failure and allows us to make small changes that produce tremendous results over time in the long run.

How To Use Discipline To Form Positive Habits

To be more productive, you must start by forming positive habits. And the best way to do that is with discipline.

Here are a few tips on how you can use self-discipline to form positive habits:

  • Pick one thing that you want to change and focus on that. Changing too many things at once will only make it harder to stick with any of them.
  • Make a plan for how you’re going to change your behavior. This will help you stay on track and focused on your goal.
  • Set small, achievable goals. Trying to accomplish too much at once will only lead to frustration and discouragement.
  • Find a role model or accountability partner. Having someone to help you stay motivated and on track can significantly help.
  • Be patient. Change takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.

Making a choice to be disciplined is the first step in forming positive habits and becoming more productive. So if you’re ready to make a change, start by choosing self-discipline.

From there, everything else will fall into place. Motivation may come and go, but discipline is something you can always choose to have.

It may not be an easy choice, but it’s the one that will help you turn your dreams into reality.

self-discipline - motivation vs discipline


Can you be disciplined without motivation?

Yes, you can be disciplined without motivation. Discipline is about taking action regardless of how you feel in the moment. Motivation is often based on your emotions and can come and go.

Does discipline create motivation?

No, discipline does not create motivation. It is about taking action regardless of how you feel. Motivation is often based on your emotions and can fade.

Is it better to be motivated or disciplined?

It is better to have discipline because it gives you consistency, focus, and control. Motivation can come and go, but discipline is something that you can always choose to have.

How do I get motivated and disciplined?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, some things may help you find motivation and discipline. They include setting goals, breaking down your goals into small and manageable pieces, surrounding yourself with positive people, and holding yourself accountable.

What are the 3 types of discipline?

The three types of discipline are:

  • Structural Discipline is the most common type and includes setting goals and breaking them down into manageable pieces.
  • Motivational Discipline involves surrounding yourself with positive people and holding yourself accountable.
  • Emotional Discipline is about managing your emotions, so they don’t get in the way of your goals.

Final Thoughts – Motivation Versus Discipline

It is true that motivation and discipline work hand in hand.

You need the motivation to get started towards your goals. Unfortunately, while it is great, it doesn’t always lead to action.

Discipline will help you stay focused and on track, overcome adversity, and continue achieving your short-term and long-term goals. It takes discipline to conquer the nagging self-doubt you are likely to experience.

So if you’re trying to decide between motivation versus discipline, choose discipline every time. It’s important to remember that discipline is about taking action, even when you don’t feel like it.

It may not be an easy choice, but it’s the one that will help you to turn your dreams into reality.

Skyler Benson
Skyler Benson

Skyler Benson is a full-time blogger. Join Skyler on and learn how to start an online business and create a life of freedom. Before starting this blog, Skyler worked online as a freelance content writer. He worked with digital marketing agencies and B2B companies for four years. Skyler reviews the best software for your online business and teaches you how to write better and start your freelancing career.