Leveraging Discipline to Overcome a Lack of Motivation

One of my favorite moments is sitting down over a hot cup of coffee with a friend and listening to them tell me of their most ambitious dreams. Months later, I find that no steps have been taken to realize that dream. Or maybe a few have, but then... you know... life happened. The motivation ran out.

And that's the problem we all face, isn't it? We run out of motivation. We get to the tough parts and what motivation we do have sputters out and we plateau. Motivation is a fleeting burst of excitement that's dependent more upon an emotional high or peachy circumstances than our willpower or our heart.

The easiest way to succeed is not by finding motivation but by building discipline.

There will be mornings when the last thing you want to do is hit the gym or evenings when you'd much rather watch your favorite show than write 1,000 words of your book. Believe me, dreaming big dreams is easy but when that alarm wakes you up at 5am and the rubber meets the road, there's always something better you can be doing with your time.

Here are a few ways that you can effectively boost your motivation to ease the burden of raw discipline:


Craft a motivational environment

When you wake up and see five notifications on Facebook, three text messages and four Twitter notifications, you're sucked into the world of distractions before you even make it out of bed. You can forget being productive for the first two hours of the day. If you want to create the best environment to get work done, reduce as much possibility for human error as you can. Turn off your phone, block distracting websites, turn on some tunes WITHOUT lyrics, brew yourself a good cup of coffee - do whatever you have to do to create an encouraging environment for you to get things done.

Read: Finding Your Flow: 6 Triggers than Enhance Creativity and Productivity


Make it a game

You know that feeling when you're in the middle of a game and you hear the familiar jingle signaling that your character just leveled up? That hit of dopamine feels so good. Taking that game theory and infusing it into your life is a clever and fun hack to motivating yourself. Set "levels" that you have to reach, along with rewards and consequences if you succeed or fail.

Read: How to Turn Trials into Upgrades


Your motivation will wax and wane - set yourself up for success by pursuing your dreams through a practice of discipline. One step at a time, even when you have to go uphill, will get you to your destination a lot sooner than short sprints and regular burnout.