Discipline-vs-Motivation-Burn-CollectiveSelf-discipline and motivation both play a role in building a long-term fitness habit. Is it better to focus on self-discipline or motivation? Is one more important than the other?

First, let’s take a look at the difference between discipline and motivation.


Self-discipline is your ability to control your actions and stick to what you think is worth pursuing – even when you’re tempted to abandon or give up on your goal. On the days you don’t feel like going to the gym, discipline can be the deciding factor in what gets you to show up.


Motivation is that excited feeling you get when you’re working toward a goal. It’s the driving force behind your actions.

Motivation can be more glamorous compared to self-discipline. If motivation is like a cheerleader, self-discipline is more like a drill sergeant. In building a fitness habit, both discipline and motivation have their places in the process. Motivation might be what you need to get started. Discipline can be the thing that keeps you going. But it can also be the thing that’s tough to put to use.

Discipline is a skill which means you can teach yourself how to become more disciplined. Here are a few suggestions on becoming more disciplined with your workouts:

1. Stick with small steps.

When you’re in the early stages of creating a workout habit, keep things small and manageable. Swap, “I’m going to work out every single day for the next month!” with something more realistic. Taking smaller steps now will help you build and stick with your habit.

2. Keep it an individual process.

When it comes to developing self-discipline, there are no magic formulas. A single “right way” to build this skill doesn’t exist. So rather than copying someone else’s routine, think about your unique needs. What’s going to work best for you?

3. Expect motivation to drop.

Remember that motivation is like a cheerleader. You’ll wake up one morning, and it’ll feel like your motivation is gone. The cheerleader will take a day off, and you won’t feel like working out. If you feel unmotivated, you’re not alone. Just do what you can to listen to the drill sergeant and stick to your plan.

Burn Collective in Huntsville is here to support you in building a long-term fitness habit. To learn more about our program offerings and how we can help you achieve your goals, contact us.