Why Good Habits Beat Motivation

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Motivation is an excellent way to push you toward your goals. But, motivating yourself takes energy. You’re better off developing good habits and automating your way to success.

Habits beat motivation

When you set your goals for success in life, you’re probably expecting motivation to get you there. Because, well, why not? Motivation gives you a good feeling and encourages you to take action toward your goals, right?

But when reality sets in such as distractions, failures, discouragement, disappointments, and so on. Your motivation will not be enough to pull you through.

There will be days when you don’t feel like working. There will be days when you feel tempted to skip exercise, scroll one more Facebook post, or watch one more episode of your favorite TV show.

Or, to use a line from a Youtube video I watched recently (referenced below), you may have received an email you’ve been waiting for, but then it starts with ‘Unfortunately’.

Motivation alone doesn’t cut it

With motivation and willpower, you may overcome the lethargic feeling, the temptations, and weariness towards what you are trying to achieve. But motivation is a finite resource and it requires a lot of energy to maintain.

So, most often than not, you give in. And when you do, it results in lost time, missed opportunities, and even mental stress.

Therefore, do not rely on motivation alone to succeed in life. As former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink said and I quote:

“Don’t worry about motivation. Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes. It is unreliable and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished—you will likely fall short.

So, don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.

You know what you have to do so Make YOURSELF DO IT. You do that with discipline. Everyone wants some magic pill—some life hack—that eliminates the need to do the work. But that does not exist.

No! You have to do the work. You’ve got to hold the line. You’ve got to make it happen. So, dig in. Find the discipline. Be the discipline. Accomplish. That’s it.”

And in order to achieve that discipline, you must form habits. With habits in your life, there will be no need for motivation or even ideal conditions.

What are habits

Habits are the thoughts and actions you perform on a daily basis without much thought. And experts say habits account for 40% of your daily actions.

Can you imagine? Habits dictate almost half of your thoughts and actions!

With this fact, it is important to note that habits play an essential role in your life. Because your habits can make or break you.

Are all habits good?

Note however that your brain cannot distinguish between a good and bad habit. All it does is imprint the repeated actions in your brain, resulting in the habit loop.

So it is up to you to assess yourself and take a close look at your habits. Are they generally beneficial to your life? Do they give you the opportunity to grow and better yourself?

If you answered yes, then these are good habits that you should keep. Because they will lead you to success.

If the answer is no, replace them. These bad habits prevent you from reaching your full potential and will lead to failure.

Choose to develop good habits

As mentioned earlier, most of our daily actions are due to habits. So these habits have a way of defining who we are. For this reason, it is essential for us to develop good habits.

Below are some of the habits you can adopt that are guaranteed to improve your life.

Daily habits

These are the daily habits you need for a generally healthy body and mind.

  • Wake up early- as cliche, as it may sound, getting up early, IS one of the habits that most successful people swear by. It allows them to plan their day without getting rushed. Resulting in better concentration, more energy, and improved productivity. So there.
  • Proper self-care- brush teeth, shower, and yes, sunscreen. You definitely benefit from developing the habit of self-care.
  • Healthy eating– whole foods like fruits and vegetables provide you with the right nutrients your body needs.
  • Drink water- first thing in the morning and throughout the day. It keeps you hydrated, which improves your energy and brain function.
  • Exercise- even simple physical activity can improve your physical health.
  • Gratitude- an attitude of gratitude promotes positive feelings and an overall improved state of mind.
  • Read- reading has a lot of benefits and is another constant habit in the list of successful people.

Reading is good for your physical and mental health, whether you read physical books or audiobooks, articles, blogs, newsletters, and so on.

This is due to the fact that reading improves your brain functions, increases your vocabulary and comprehension, allows you to relate to others, and lowers your stress levels.

  • Positive thinking- along with daily gratitude, it is also beneficial to develop a habit of positive thinking for the improvement of your physical and mental well-being.

Productivity habits

These are the habits you need to get things done.

  • Organization- from having a place for everything to scheduling your projects and knowing which tasks to do first is a good habit to develop.
  • Learn new things– aside from a big chance of career advancement, learning also broadens your job opportunities. And assists you in developing new techniques to keep up with the fast-changing world.
  • Declutter your work area- a clean and tidy working area promotes focus and concentration.
  • Plan the day- develop the habit of spending a few minutes each morning or the night before to plan the day ahead.
  • Take action- that is, stop procrastinating. Develop the habit of simply taking the first step to generate the momentum required to get things moving.

The importance of good habits

Additionally, developing good habits are important for the following reasons:

Gets stuff done

When your daily actions are established down pat to a habit, you get things done. Because it does not take effort on your part anymore.

Let’s say for example you developed the habit of listing 3 things you need to get done for the day. Since it’s already second nature, before the day ends, you would have already done these 3 things.

Gives you focus

Habits allow you to attend to important tasks. It’s easy to get lost in the daily bustle where all things are seemingly urgent.

With established habits though, you can avoid getting into the trap of the ‘busy life’ where you’re doing things but nothing gets done.

Improves your efficiency

Well-established habits can help you work like a well-oiled machine. You tackle the important things, you don’t get distracted, and you have a defined goal. Because of habits, you don’t waste time on things that don’t align with your goal.

Improves productivity

Of course, when you get efficient, you also tend to get more things done.

The habits you develop such as waking up early, avoiding distractions, and completing the tasks you set for the day, are all good for productivity. And the satisfaction you get at the end of the day is its own reward.

Promotes creativity

Since habits are automatic and don’t involve your active brain, you conserve energy. With habits, you can focus the mental energy you saved for creativity.

Creativity is the ability to think outside the box. To veer away from your normal thought patterns to find ideas, solutions, and opportunities. Which can lead to professional and personal success.


To summarize, motivation is a good way to push yourself to improve in life. It does not, however, always live up to expectations. Developing good habits, on the other hand, will give you a better chance of success.

Habits play an important role in your life because they account for nearly half of your daily actions.

But, habits can be beneficial or detrimental. So, you must evaluate your habits to see if they are assisting you in reaching your goals keeping you down. 

In general, the good habits to develop are those that will benefit your physical and mental health. And improve your productivity.

Finally, good habits are important for the following reasons:

  • Gets stuff done
  • Gives focus
  • Improves your efficiency
  • Improves productivity
  • Promotes creativity

Please share your thoughts or ideas about Why Good Habits Beat Motivation in the comments below. If you liked this article, you might be interested as well in these articles:

Top 10 Reasons Why Change Is Difficult
How To Start Over Even When You Feel Old
9 Effective Habits For A Happy Life
29 Quotes To Make Change A Little Easier
9 Powerful Soft Skills You Need In Writing

Outside reference:

Achieving Your Running Goals, Why Habit Beats Motivation
How & Why to Set Goals (for people who feel lost in life)

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