What is Motivation?

Motivation is the collection of psychological forces that allow us to initiate, organise and persist with behaviours that will ultimately lead to the achievement of a goal.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is when we participate in an activity to achieve an external reward or to avoid punishment. It is when you are driven by external desires and goals. Originally it was thought that external motivation referred to non-self-determined behaviour, but more recently researchers have proposed that in fact there are different types of external motivation that are along a self-determination continuum.

Examples of extrinsic motivation:

  • Playing sport to receive accolades.
  • Training hard to win a competition.
  • Practicing every day to get a sponsorship deal.
  • Working hard to avoid being told off by coaches or parents.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation refers to engaging in an activity purely for the pleasure and satisfaction of doing the activity. When someone is intrinsically motivated, they will perform a behaviour voluntarily, in the absence of external rewards.

Examples of intrinsic motivation:

  • Playing a sport because it is enjoyable and fun.
  • Exercising to get stronger and fitter.
  • Staying late to practice because you love the feeling of working hard.
  • Studying and watching match footage because you love to learn.


Amotivation is the lack of motivation. Individuals are neither intrinsically nor extrinsically motivated. They experience feelings of incompetence and lack of control. For most individuals in this state, they no longer have a reason for why they continue to train and so eventually decided to stop all together.

What is Self – Discipline?

Unlike motivation, self- discipline is a learned skill. So, when you lack motivation, self-discipline can take over and help. Discipline can help you to stay on task despite distractions, focus on what is important and fight against procrastination. It is something that can become a habit through hard work and dedication.

What is the difference between Motivation and Discipline?

Motivation is the why behind your actions and discipline is about what you do in order to achieve your goals. The best way to think about it is, motivation being your initial burst of inspiration and discipline is the thing that keeps you moving towards your goals once the novelty has worn off.

How to improve Self – Discipline?

  • Write down your goals and what you are trying to achieve.

Use SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

  • Start small.
  • Take things slowly.
  • Remove obstacles.
  • Remember your why.
  • Seek instant gratification.
  • Become mindful.
  • Take time to understand your goals, barriers, and triggers.

Benefits of Strong Self – Discipline:

  • Create good habits.
  • Helps you focus.
  • Increases self-confidence.
  • Helps to achieve mastery in a skill.
  • Overcomes procrastination.


YouTube video on Self – Discipline https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuU0lnRhylA

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Deci, E.L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York: Plenum Press

Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.

Ryan, R.M., Connell, J.P., & Grolnick, W.S. (1990). When achievement is not intrinsically motivated: A theory of self-regulation in school. In A.K. Boggiano & T.S. Pittman (Eds.), Achievement and motivation: A social-development perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.