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Discipline vs. Motivation: Key Components to Achieving Your Personal Health Goals

The terms discipline and motivation are often used interchangeably. While both are critical to achieving any kind of personal growth, these two terms are by no means synonymous. 


If you’re looking to achieve personal health goals, it’s important to identify what drives you (your motivation), and then harness that drive to develop a set of healthy habits (discipline).


In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the important relationship between these foundational concepts.


What is Motivation?


If you want to make any kind of change in your life, whether that means losing weight or improving your mental health, you need something to motivate you; something that inspires you to seek change.


Psychologists have identified two specific kinds of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Both can be relevant to achieving your personal health goals.


Extrinsic Motivation


Sometimes, we’re motivated by the desire to achieve a reward or to avoid a punishment. These are both examples of extrinsic motivation. In other words, with extrinsic motivation, you’re not doing something because you find it inherently rewarding or enjoyable; rather, you’re doing something because you hope to earn something else in return, or else to avoid unpleasantness.


Some common examples of extrinsic motivation:


  • Arriving to work on time each day so you avoid losing your job.
  • Doing a great job at work to earn recognition, make a difference or contribute to the culture, receive a pay raise or a bonus.
  • Losing weight because you want to be healthy for yourself and your family , feel and  look better in your clothes.


Intrinsic Motivation


When you engage in an activity because you find it to be innately fun or rewarding, that’s an example of intrinsic motivation. In other words, intrinsic motivation is rooted in your own internal values or interests.


Some common examples of intrinsic motivation include:


  • Working out in the morning because it feels good.
  • Choosing healthy meals because you enjoy making them and you know it’s good for your longevity and health. .
  • Solving a brain teaser because you like the challenge and the benefits on your brain health .


While both forms of motivation have their place, research shows that intrinsic motivation is usually better for sustaining long-term habits.


What is Discipline?


Indeed, it’s important to recognize that extrinsic motivation doesn’t last forever; desiring to look and feel better in your clothes may prompt you to make some positive changes, but if you want to sustain those changes, you’ll need more than just the desire for an external reward. What you’ll need, in a word, is discipline.


What do we mean when we talk about discipline? Essentially, discipline is all about training yourself to behave in a controlled and regular way. To put it differently, discipline is all about building healthy habits.


As human beings, we’re all creatures of habit, and forming new habits requires real effort; it requires discipline. When we start a new habit, like going to the gym every morning, it takes a lot of focus and brain power. And having motivation, whether extrinsic or intrinsic, can certainly help!


As we continually do this activity, though, it starts to demand less and less of our mental focus. Eventually, it will become automatic. (You probably have lots of automatic habits in your life already, like brushing and flossing before bed each night.)


Research shows that it can take a couple of months for any habit to become automatic, which is why identifying and harnessing your motivation is so important. But if your motivation ever begins to wane, having that sense of discipline in place can help fill the gap.


Get Started with a plan of Action


As we approach a new year, you may feel motivated to make positive changes in your life, whether that means hitting the gym each day, meditating regularly, or eating better.


Our recommendation? Just do it. Remember, at first, it will take a lot of mental energy to accomplish your goals. Make a schedule and stick to. For example, set a goal of going to the gym for 45 minutes 5 days a week. As you become more and more familiar with this routine, you can increase your workout times to 60 minutes 5 days a week. Remember at first you may feel motivated, but motivation is fleeting and this is why discipline is important. A goal is accomplished by setting daily procedures and sticking to them. Remember most of the time you will not feel like doing it, do it anyway, this is how you break through the internal dialogue of excuses.  


We wish you the best in achieving the kind of discipline that helps you reach your goals. CBD may help relieve some stress and allow you to focus more on your goals, we invite you to browse our store for some options. 


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