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Discipline: Four Ways to Keep Momentum Behind Your Motivation

“That’s it!” you say. “I’m going to make a change.” Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done.

Have you ever had a time where you were motivated to add or modify a behavior in your life, but after a few weeks, you notice yourself not maintaining your progress like you were before? We need more than motivation to make meaningful change in our lives: while motivation gives us momentum, discipline will keep us moving.

But discipline doesn’t come overnight. Here are four small habits you can add to your life that will enable you to maintain your healthy habits so that you can achieve your big successes:

  • Be Honest with Yourself: Can you identify any specific actions you keep repeating, or thoughts that you allow to determine your actions, that could be directly detrimental to your motivation? For example, if you are determined to improve your credit score, but you keep spending on lavish meals you can’t afford with friends, consider cutting back on your dining plans, or suggest an occasional potluck. You may also be self-sabotaging yourself with doubts or what-ifs that you’d be better off identifying and nudging aside when they appear in your head.
  • Set Your Finish Line in Sight: While you may have a major change you want to achieve, consider setting smaller, more tangible milestones along the way. By giving yourself concrete goals and check-in dates, you are more likely to maintain your efforts, or at least be reminded more constructively when you’re behind on your progress. We are far more likely to accomplish goals when we are reassured we are moving forward, rather than feeling overwhelmed by our dream change that we’ll make “someday.”
  • Role Models Make a Difference: We do not have to face our growth alone. Seek people who exemplify the behavior you are striving to maintain for yourself. Do not be afraid to ask others directly how they solved their own issues with discipline!
  • Setbacks Are Beneficial: Whether you have made a decision that interrupted your momentum, or an unforeseen, external circumstance interrupted your ability to progress, don’t despair. This is an opportunity to learn. Do not think of these moments as time lost, but instead as clarifications as to what path you should be on.

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