A balancing scale representing the interplay between motivation and discipline.

Motivation and discipline are the two important terms of productivity. If you ever talk with high achievers, athletes, or successful entrepreneurs, their key to success is motivation toward their goals and being disciplined. “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing” is a famous quote by John C Maxwell. In this article, we will dive deep into the terms of motivations vs discipline, which is important, and what is the difference between them. Make sure to read till the end to get the inspiration you need in your work.

Motivation vs Discipline: Definition

Motivation vs Discipline

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Motivation is “enthusiasm for doing something.” Motivation is an internal state that encourages individuals to engage in goal-directed behavior. It will inspire people to act towards their goals and avoid getting distracted and procrastinating. A motivated person possesses a highly powerful energy that inspires others to take action.

On the other hand, Discipline is defined as “The practice of making people obey rules or standards of behavior and punishing them when they do not.” Discipline is the combination of daily habits that align with the current goals. It will help you to stay on the path and do what it takes to achieve your goals. Discipline can determine the commitment to one’s goals and stay on the path no matter what happens.

Motivation vs Discipline can lead to a different debate, and we can discuss it in almost every direction. We can use motivation as fuel to start working towards our goals and Discipline as daily work to keep going. 

Types of Motivation

Motivation vs Discipline

Motivation can be a powerful key to achieving your goals and milestones in your career and personal life. The two main types of motivation are extrinsic and intrinsic.

  1. Extrinsic Motivation: Extrinsic motivation comes from the outside of a person, i.e., rewards or paycheck. Extrinsic motivation can play a significant role in starting a work due to a reason associated with the outside world. An extrinsic motivation person relies on the outside world to take action and do the work.
  2. Intrinsic Motivation: Unlikely extrinsic, intrinsic motivation comes from within the person. Intrinsic motivations get the reward in the form of joy and happiness. An intrinsically motivated person does not rely on the outside world but focuses on what makes them happy and drives them towards their goals.

As per motivation, extrinsic or intrinsic motivation plays an important part in achieving the goals. Some people focus on the outside world to get the push and start work, get inspired from someone else, or get better from their competitors. While others may rely on their self-motivation, i.e., what makes them happy and what they genuinely want to do, no matter what the world is thinking about them, if they are satisfied with their soul, they will continue to move and achieve what others can’t.

What is the Difference Between Discipline vs Motivation?

Motivation vs Discipline are the two hot concepts in the life of every high achiever. Hmm, trying to understand what is the difference between discipline vs motivation? Don’t worry, we will discuss the differences between motivation and Discipline to get a better understanding.

It is the inner drive to take action or pursue a goal. It is the ability to control one’s behavior and actions to achieve goals.
It comes from personal interests, desires, values, and external factors such as rewards.It comes from self-control, willpower, and responsibility,
Motivation changes over time, it can be strong at one moment and weak at another.Discipline is a more reliable and consistent force to achieve long-term goals.
Important to set goals, initiate actions, and find purpose in what you do.Important for establishing routines, maintaining good habits, and overcoming obstacles.

Motivation vs Discipline can become a big debate in different scenarios and circumstances. Although motivation vs Discipline are two key factors in achieving your goals, there is always a better thing and the scenario in which we can say, now you need motivation to start or be disciplined to get going. 

Which is Better in Motivation vs Discipline?

Motivation vs Discipline

“Discipline will take you to the places where motivation can’t.” So you are fed up with motivation and discipline, it’s time to know what is better. While both motivation and discipline serve different purposes and scope, we can use them in different occasions and circumstances. 


Motivation is a great tool to start something inspiring and delicate and improve ourselves. A person can start taking action if he feels motivated to do something. Suppose you are in the gym surrounded by powerful, athletic, and inspiring athletes. Your mind will automatically encourage you to be like them and start taking action. This particular feeling can be short-term, and you may feel immense emotions during this short time. You inform your friends and family about your new goal “to achieve an athletic body.” You prepare a monthly to-do list that aligns with your goals, subscribe to the gym plan, get the meal plan from a professional, all things are done from your side, and guess what? You hardly go for a week and start feeling like you are giving up.  

Motivation is a short-term feeling, and people find it harder to stay motivated all the time; many people are finding the answer to how to stay motivated all the time. There needs to be a more motivated answer to them. A motivated person may work for a few days a week and eventually give up on the goals.


Discipline is the lifestyle and legacy of successful athletes, entrepreneurs, and excellent-grade students. Discipline leads the unmotivated person to keep going towards their goal by regularly taking the steps. Discipline enables a person to stay committed and do the tasks no matter what happens outside or inside; you must complete your tasks and walk towards your goals. In the same example of an inspiring gym boy, the motivation alone is not enough to achieve the goal; we need something else. Discipline will give you a plan to stay on track, do the work slowly but steadily, and avoid procrastination. If a boy remains disciplined in his diet, regular gym workouts, and getting enough sleep, he will surely become a great bodybuilder. 

“Discipline is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t want to.” 

With that much saying, master the art of discipline and stop relying on motivation. You can also use both terms: reading motivational stories, listening to motivational songs and speeches, and talking to inspiring people, which can keep your motivation alive. Stay disciplined on your tasks, and surely you will achieve your goals. 


In conclusion, both motivation and discipline are important for achieving your goals and growing as a person. While each has a unique purpose, they are not in competition with each other. Instead, they can be used together to get the best results. Motivation is the first thing that inspires you and makes you want to do something. It can be a strong force that gets you going and gives you ideas.

On the other hand, desire can fade over time. That’s when discipline steps in. Discipline means sticking to your goals no matter what, making habits that help you stay on track, and being determined to keep going even when you’re not feeling like it. It gives you the order and consistency you need to be successful in the long run.

When people argue about motivation vs discipline, it’s not because one is better. You need to understand their different roles and know when and how to use them correctly. Discipline keeps you on track even when you don’t feel like it while motivation can get you started. To summarize, the important thing is to use motivation to start something and then depend on discipline to keep you going until you reach your goals. You shouldn’t pick one over the other. Instead, you should find the best mix for your situation and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What’s the biggest difference between motivation and being disciplined?

Discipline is the power to control behavior and actions to reach goals, while motivation is the inner drive or desire that makes you do something. The spark that gets you going is motivation. The force that keeps you going, especially when motivation fades, is discipline.

Q2. What is more important in achieving your goals: motivation and discipline?

Motivation and discipline are both important. To take action, you need to be motivated and to stay consistent and make long-term growth, you need to be disciplined. They work together, and their importance may change based on the situation and the goals.

Q3. How can I keep myself motivated for a long time?

Staying motivated over a long period can take a lot of work. To help, make your goals clear and important, break them down into smaller steps you can reach, and remember why you want to achieve them. Having helpful people around you and often reviewing your goals can also help.

Q4. What are some ways to be more disciplined in your daily life?

You can be more disciplined by 

  1. Making routines and schedules
  2. Clarify your responsibilities
  3. Make sure your environment suits your goals. 

Tasks can feel less stressful if you break them up into smaller, more manageable pieces, and giving yourself rewards for finishing tasks can help you stay on track.

Q5. Without motivation, is it possible to depend on discipline alone?

Motivation is often what gets you started on a job or goal in the first place because discipline can help you act even when you don’t feel like it. Most of the time, the best way to get things done is to use motivation and discipline. Discipline makes sure that you keep working hard even when you don’t feel like it.


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