The Athletic Rider: The Difference Between Motivation and Discipline

Laura Crump Anderson is an Equestrian Fitness Specialist at InForm Fitness Leesburg. She is certified as a personal trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine and specializes in working with riders of all ages and disciplines. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science, is a Certified Personal Trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine, and has evented through Training level. Read more of her EN fitness columns here

I strongly considered not writing about New Year’s resolutions because, well, for one thing I hate them. Not to be a hater, and generally I am not; however, creating change in your life does not lie on a day of the calendar. It rides on a shift in your mindset. The good news is that can happen 365 days a year, but requires the 364 other days each year to keep working. One of my favorite diagrams is this…

Photo by Laura Crump Anderson.

I would be missing an incredible opportunity to cheer people on if I was to ignore January. Motivation is high in January; the first two weeks it is as if every day is #motivationmonday. The key now is to harness that motivation create discipline, and this is where the struggle begins.

Photo by Laura Crump Anderson.

Motivation is important. Motivation is a spark, it is getting the shiny idea, it is chasing the dream.

Discipline is not exciting; it is not sexy and attention grabbing. Discipline is hard. Discipline in boring. Discipline is taking the extra 10 minutes to make sure something is done correctly and not just sufficiently. Discipline is doing the hard things when they do not matter, so that you can do them when they matter most. Discipline is found in the everyday and the mundane — it is what you do when no one is looking.

Today my discipline is writing this article. Your discipline in this moment is reading to the second to the last paragraph of this article. You did it and can transfer this success into another success. Try applying this discipline into a plank to true failure, for instance — working to momentary muscle failure requires a lot of discipline.

Photo by Laura Crump Anderson.

So, when the shine of motivation wears off and you are feeling like you cannot continue, make sure you have cultivated discipline within you.