Motivation or Discipline – what will help you be successful?

Motivation or Discipline – what will help you be successful?

When it comes to making sure that you’re getting your workout in, and crushing your goals, there are usually two supporting factors in play. You’re probably very familiar with them, motivation and discipline. But, do you know the differences between these forms of inspiration? How do you develop the skill to harness motivation so you can rely on it when you need it? Keep reading to find out more!

The difference between Motivation and Discipline.

While discipline and motivation are related, it’s important to know that they’re not the same. A good way to describe them would be cousins. They help inspire you to make change and perform actions, especially when those actions may be hard, or not yet a habit.

Motivation is the fun part of starting a new habit. It’s brought on by inspiration and excitement. If seeing a picture of a model doing crunches inspires you to do better, that’s because that #fitspo motivates you. Similarly, if you envision changing your life, and that gets you excited to go to the gym in the morning, that too, is motivation.

However, motivation can drop off when times get tough. If you’ve suffered a heartbreak and want to tuck into some ice cream, motivation generally doesn’t sink deep enough to help us say no. When it’s dark and cold in the winter, sometimes motivation isn’t strong enough to help us get out of bed.

That’s where discipline comes in. If motivation is your internal cheerleader, discipline is your internal drill instructor, blowing the whistle at 5 AM to make sure you’re up and at ‘em. Similarly, discipline kicks in when you’re out with friends, and order a salad instead of a burger. Discipline is the routine you build for yourself so you can rely on it to help you in the future.

How to rekindle motivation.

Discipline is hard-earned. It’s not something you’ll develop on day one of your fitness program. You develop and nurture discipline through routine, repetition, and remediation. That means, you might not be able to rely on discipline until day 30, or even later in your new fitness routine.

Meanwhile, you can rekindle motivation by being inspired to do better. A lot of people can be motivated by weight loss or strength progress. You might follow some Instagram accounts with fitness personalities who help you think of new and exciting workouts to try. Some people keep motivation riding high by scheduling periodic rewards and cheat days into their program.

What sparks your motivation may be entirely unique to you! Find what tools work for you, and keep them at hand so you can always fall on them while you’re cultivating your discipline.

How to prevent discipline from being harmful.

You might look at someone who goes to the gym, even when they’re sick, and be impressed by their dedication. However, that kind of behavior can be truly harmful for someone. A lot of times, perfectionists can be held captive by discipline. Their own dedication to their goal can turn hopes of freedom into a nightmare.

If your discipline seems incredibly strong, make sure to check in with yourself regularly to ensure that it’s not becoming harmful to you. Do you take no rest days? Did you skip birthday cake on your birthday for fear of busting your waistline? Do you miss out on family events to work out? If your fitness journey is causing harm to your life, instead of improving it, it might be time to rein in your discipline!


Now that we’re in February, it might be a good time to revisit, and see what is driving your New Years Resolution. Are you starting to run out of steam? Maybe you should work on motivating yourself more! If you take a lot of rest days, or skip WODS you don’t like, maybe we can work on your discipline.

Of course, never forget the trainers at BVCF are happy to help add whatever you need into your workout program. They’re a great source of both discipline AND motivation, and are happy to pass what they know onto you!

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