One Trait That's Far More Important Than Motivation, According To Navy Seal Jocko Willink

Most of us naturally think of motivation as a make or break factor for success, but Jocko Willink says it actually comes in second place.

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We all have things we want to achieve in life, like getting in shape or making more money. But relying on motivation might not cut it.

Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink breaks down why just being motivated isn't always enough and what you need to do instead.



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The One Trait That's More Important Than Motivation

So, why isn't motivation all you need? According to Willink, motivation is just not consistent enough. You see, motivation comes and goes in waves.

Willink points out, "If you only did what you were supposed to do when you were motivated to do it, that’s leaving it to chance.”

Instead of depending on motivation replace it with discipline. Self-discipline will never change regardless of how you feel. Additionally, self-discipline helps you follow through with all your goals.

As the CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc. Peter Bregman, says, "Motivation is in the mind; follow-through is practical."


He goes on to explain that following through requires shutting down the conversation in your mind. It means not arguing or making excuses.

Sometimes, as tough as it may seem, we simply need to buckle up and get things done.

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How To Become Self-Disciplined

So, how do we become more disciplined? Well, first, there are a few things we need to consider. To successfully implement self-discipline, it's important to first understand its impact.

Psychologist Tchiki Davis says that practicing self-regulation (self-discipline) can impact both academic performance and personal finances. Self-regulation has also been shown to reduce the risk of health issues.


Knowing the benefits, if you want to become more self-disciplined you must first become self-aware.



What are the areas you need discipline in? How are they impacting your life? Moreover, how can you adjust your routine to better align with your goals?

Next, figure out why you want to become self-disciplined. What are you looking to improve in your life? Is it your health or finances?


Davis says that once we understand the why, it becomes easier to recall our motivation when faced with challenges.

Be sure to follow a weekly or daily schedule to keep yourself in check. Have friends or family hold you accountable if needed.

Don't forget to remove negative temptations in your life. Whether it's unhealthy food or friends, do away with the old to make way for the new.

Finally, try time blocking. Davis explains that time blocking is a technique students use to accomplish their work.


Try working for 25 minutes uninterrupted, then take a five-minute break. Each session of this is considered a Pomodoro. When you complete four Pomodoros allow yourself a twenty-minute break, says Davis.

Creating this schedule can allow you to complete your work without feeling overwhelmed.

Don't rely solely on motivation to drive you forward. By cultivating discipline, you're more likely to achieve your goals.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.