Discipline Over Motivation
One of the toughest and most prolonged battles students of all grades struggle with is motivation. It is a common daily occurrence for students to find it difficult to find the motivation to complete their responsibilities and goals such as submitting their homework on time, finishing projects for extracurriculars, or applying for internships and jobs.
Throughout my own education, I found myself heavily relying on motivation to get me through the day. At times, it felt impossible to motivate myself to do certain tasks which led to more procrastination and resulted in more headaches, sleepless nights, and panic attacks. Little did I know that motivation was never the answer.
The issue with motivation is that it is impermanent and fleeting. It comes and goes in waves. It is an inconsistent feeling which is why students who depend on it end up making things much harder for themselves. So, if not motivation, then what? Discipline. The most successful people are disciplined, because they do not trust their feelings to make decisions for them. When you practice discipline, you give yourself the appropriate tools, energy, and time for the most optimal results.
Take a musician as an example. A professional and well-trained musician does not just practice whenever they feel like it. They do not wait until the last minute when their motivation and adrenaline kicks in to practice for an important performance. They have the discipline and regime to practice for hours on a daily basis, despite whatever they may be going through because they have set their goal in place.
With that being said, I want to share three of my own tips that have significantly aided me in my journey to a more disciplined mindset:
Time Blocking & Scheduling
A simple way to start leading a more disciplined life is through time blocking or time batching. This is when you schedule every part of your day to the tee so that you know exactly what task you are going to be working on, for a certain amount of time, during a specific chunk of your day. For instance, I might schedule to work on three of my body paragraphs for an essay for about two hours from one to three in the afternoon. It needs to be that specific. For me, I also like to plan out my day the night before so that I am all set and ready to go the moment I wake up.
So many students end up having to go through burnout at some point in their academic careers. This can make discipline much harder to achieve. From my own experience, I avoid burnout as much as I can by maintaining a balance between all my responsibilities. I also do not eat more than I can chew when it comes to tackling various roles and projects. Lastly, I make sure that I am rewarding myself and allowing myself to do things I enjoy such as catching up with friends, going out to new places, or just spending a day as a home-body.
Realizing that discipline is more than just forcing yourself to do boring things
Having discipline can be extremely empowering, because it is not just about getting mundane things done. To have discipline is to have self-respect and self-love. You might be thinking, “It’s not that deep,” but it can be if you truly care about your dreams. Discipline is having the consistency and courage to show up for yourself day-in and day-out. It is about honoring yourself and your own goals and passions that you set out to achieve by putting in the actual work. So, the next time you feel unmotivated, try to dig a little deeper and understand that by having discipline, you can develop a loving perspective of yourself that will give you the energy to keep grinding towards your goals.
At the end of the day, motivation is not enough to get us to where we want to be. Motivation will not be there when you fail or get discouraged, but discipline will.
“Motivation produces emotion, but discipline produces results. Motivation is temporary, but discipline perseveres. Motivation fades after time, but discipline grows after time. Motivation is an event, but discipline is a lifestyle. Motivation starts the project, but discipline finishes it. Motivation sets the goal, but discipline works it to accomplishment.” - Hamza Khan