Motivation is fleeting, discipline is permanent. Change is constant.

Image courtesy of Brett Jordan on Unsplash

It’s been over 110 days since I last published a blog here on Medium. To be completely honest with you all, I wasn’t motivated to write. I wasn’t inspired to workout daily or lift like I had before. I didn’t give building my business much of any thought. Reading has been challenging for me. Listening to audios/podcasts have been difficult.

I have dealt with a lot of personal issues, depression, anxiety around the global pandemic, searched for full-time work over the course of 7 months, attempted to financially get by on unemployment benefits, and more or less, survive in 2020.

Reluctantly, we’re out of that historical period now. There’s been much to reflect on during the last 12 months. I’d like to think I’m in a much better place now than I was before. I live with my partner in our beautiful Philadelphia apartment. I’ve been back to work full-time during the past three months. My weekly pay far surpasses that what I was making on bi-weekly unemployment benefits. I’m able to save money again for emergency funds and my short-term goals. Traveling internationally will happen later this summer. My rent’s been paid early or on time every month since July. Investments in my personal and retirement accounts are able to be made weekly and monthly thanks to my financial situation.

I don’t take any of that for granted because at this time last year I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t have a plan. I was in a downward spiral mentally. The world was flipped upside down and so were countless others. It feels like only a little bit ago or now I am finally able to get back to zero. Compartmentalize this all. Reflect on what the hell happened. And share my personal story, which isn’t anything special. But if it can help someone else or relate to anybody than I feel obligated to tell my story.

One of the questions I’m often asked and one question I often ask myself is how to stay motivated. This is a question I think about in regards to life, but also fitness in general, and it’s a tough one to answer. Is motivation necessary? Is it garbage? Do we really need it? Or is there something else we need to focus on?

For years, I was always looking for that one thing that would motivate me and sometimes I would find it. It could be a song on my iPhone or Spotify, a motivational video on YouTube, or even a quote that I read in a book that would push me to go the extra mile.

However, none of these methods were sustainable because, after a while, the things that motivated me would no longer have a lasting effect. I would lack motivation and wonder how I could get that edge back. After experiencing this never ending cycle, I finally came to realize that it is not actually about motivation. Mel Robbins says that, “Motivation is garbage.” You’re never going to feel like it, whether that’s waking up early, working out, eating clean, reading 4–5 books each month, or whatever (insert goal) your thing is.

The way that our minds are wired is fascinating. How we perceive our thoughts and feelings is a whole different animal, but when you narrow it down to the basics, the fact about humans is that we aren’t always designed to do things that are uncomfortable, scary or difficult.

Our brains were designed to protect us from those dangers. Why? Because our brains are trying to keep us alive. Your brain is wired to stop you at all cost from doing anything that might hurt you.

In order to change, in order to build a business, in order to be the best partner, in order to be the best parent, in order to build personal brands–to do all those things that you know you want to do with your life–you are going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain, or bone-chilling.

So, then what do you do? Discipline is the answer. Discipline is having the ability to fully commit to a goal and do what is necessary to complete that goal, regardless of how you feel in the moment. This answer is hard for people to accept because as humans, we love immediate gratification. Delayed gratification is difficult for me to grasp. We all want it (whatever it is to you) right now.

The tough question you may be asking is, “how can I become more disciplined?” I don’t have all the answers but I believe it starts with understanding yourself and your goals. If you have weak goals that don’t have much purpose, then staying disciplined is going to be very tough. Look at me in 2020… On the other hand, if you set purposeful goals that are well thought out, I believe implementing discipline is much easier.

As an example, I’ve made it one of my personal goals to incorporate some sort of movement (walking, running, biking, stretching, lifting, yoga, etc.) every single day so far in 2021. I’ve succeeded as to date and I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy because it hasn’t been. I am a shell of what I used to be but then again the only constant in life is constant and never-ending change.

In an attempt to keep this short and to the point, because I feel like I could go on for days, don’t look for motivation to get you back into the gym. It isn’t going to help your business or brands in the long term, maybe for a few short months. It won’t help your health and lifestyle. Drinking all of the water, consuming all of the vitamins and supplements, eating clean will only go so far as. When you don’t have your internal world, mindset, and attitude right, nothing else will matter.

What you need to do is set purposeful and ambitious goals for yourself. Set a goal that’s going to challenge you. It’s alright if it’s a big audacious goal. It should scare you and people should notice you. There’s a problem if some people don’t think you’re crazy. That is when you apply discipline and don’t look back because that shit will mess up your neck.

I have no option of going back my my previous or past life. What I was doing wasn’t working. It wasn’t fulfilling. Clearly I wasn’t happy. I was depressed. It was short-lived and fleeting.

Only now, when looking back, can I connect these dots. It’s taken quite some time and I’ve been scared and resistant to this new norm/change. I am committed to training and moving each and every day. Our lives are sedentary enough and I refuse to compromise on my health. I am committed to accomplishing my short term, medium, and long term goals. I have to fully commit, because there’s no going back to my past self.

I’ve found that by waiting for motivation, it may never come. By choosing discipline, you at least give yourself the power to create results that are completely your own. Start your hustle. Start up whatever lights you up each and every day.

Hard work and discipline aren’t sexy. They do, however, provide a sense of freedom, satisfaction and accomplishment that motivation rarely could.

Who knows, you may even motivate yourself along the way!

My Very Best,

Donovan Vogel

Philadelphia based teaching financial literacy | Prospering all other hours | Writer | Lifter | Reader | Traveler | Freedom & Wellness

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