Motivation vs. Dedication | Where Should Your Focus Be?

What do you consider is the driving force behind reaching your goals? What is the one thing that will get you to where you want to be? Many people look to motivation to push them toward their destination. But what happens when that motivation wears off? How can you stay committed on those days you just don’t feel like putting in hard work?

Motivation will only get you so far, and when it reaches its end, something else needs to be there to keep the kettle boiling. Dedication is an integral part of the equation for success that is often overlooked.

Let’s talk about motivation vs dedication, and learn which you need to reach your goals.

The Difference Between Motivation and Dedication

The biggest difference between motivation and dedication is ACTION. Motivation is the initiative to start a task. It includes a person's reasons and desires for engaging in a particular behavior to achieve a goal. Dedication goes beyond a mere desire. It is a person's commitment to following through with behaviors and actions that will lead to the accomplishment of that goal. In other words, motivation does not require action because it is purely an inner desire. Dedication, on the other hand, is both an internal wish as well as physical action and hard work.

If you think about it, anyone can be motivated to do something. Say you are searching through Instagram and you come across one of your favorite fitness influencers or Gloveworx coaches. You might feel inspired and motivated to start working out and getting the body of your dreams. However, does that mean you hit the gym tomorrow and start working toward that goal? Not necessarily.

Once you move beyond the initial phase of motivation and commit to taking action, that’s where dedication comes in.

Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation

When considering motivation vs dedication, contenders need to understand the different types of motivation that impacts their decisions: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is something inside of yourself that motivates you. Extrinsic motivation is something external that you perceive as a reward.

For example, consider high school students who are putting in hard work to improve their reading and writing skills. Their motivation and engagement can come from a number of sources. A student who is experiencing extrinsic motivation may be trying to improve their literacy skills with such determination because they don't want their parents to be mad at them or they're trying to get into an Ivy League university. Those are external motivators impacting their engagement and dedication.

Alternatively, some students might be spending time reading and writing because they have a passion for learning. They don't have to struggle with dicipline to meet expectations. Rather, they enjoy how they feel when they accomplish literacy tasks. Thus, their determination is driven through intrinsic motivation.

Most people experience a mix of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation when trying to reach their goals, though the most successful people stay motivated with a growth mindset that stems from intrinsic motivation and self-awareness. Even so, it's their commitment and dedication that earn them their rewards.

Which Do You Need to Succeed?

We’ve already discussed dedication as the driving force to action. That being said, dedication doesn’t appear on its own. It is fueled by motivation. Dedication is hard work. It means waking up early, sacrificing your free time, getting uncomfortable, taking risks, facing failure, and delving into the unknown. This is not possible without motivation.

Thus, motivation and dedication are both required for success.

Five Steps to Maintaining Motivation & Dedication

Remember, both motivation and dedication require effort. You need to surround yourself with motivation continuously, and you need to dedicate yourself to your goals, so much so that you keep pushing even on the days where there is no motivation to be found.

Here are five steps to get motivated and stay dedicated:

1. Make the Decision to Commit

“It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes a difference.” This quote by Bear Bryant rings profoundly true. It’s easy to have the will or the motivation to win, but that desire won’t get you anywhere unless you are prepared to take the necessary steps to reach that end goal. Without that decision to commit, your desire is just a wish.

Think about what you really want. Maybe it’s the body you’ve always dreamed of. Perhaps it’s to become stronger, both physically and mentally. Maybe you want to win your first boxing match. Whatever that desire is burning in your heart, commit to it. Decide to give it your all and put in the work to make that dream a reality.

2. Find A Deeper Reason

Sure, we all want the money, the fancy car, the big house, the nice body. That’s fine, but it’s not everything. Attach your goals to a deeper reason. Let your motivation become your “why.”

Why is your “why” so important? Your why is what will drive you when the going gets tough. It’s what gives your goals meaning and purpose. Knowing your why can be the difference between merely wanting something and going out and getting something.

Why do you get up and go to work every day? Is it just to make money? Or is it to provide for your family and give your children the best life possible? Maybe you dream of being able to pay for your children to go to college, debt-free. Why do you get in the ring every day? Is it just to look good? Or is it to live longer, age well, protect your body from illness, and to be an inspiration to others?

Take some time to find your why.

3. Refine Your Goals

It’s hard to dedicate yourself to something that has no real end in sight. Spend some time refining your goals. Get completely clear about exactly what you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, how you will get there, and what timeline you will need to complete your goals. Be sure to set SMART goals - goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Meaningful, clear-cut goals will make it much more likely that you dedicate yourself to reaching them, as opposed to superficial, ambiguous goals.

4. Work Smarter, Not Harder

A lot of people assume that the longer and harder you work, the more likely you are to reach your goals. In fact, that’s not the case at all. You want to work smarter, not harder.

Focus on what’s important and eliminate any activities that are unnecessary. A good system to follow is the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. This is a time-management method that allows you to prioritize your activities based on importance and urgency.

When you quadruple your workload, thinking that the more you work, the faster you will reach your goal, you risk burnout. Burnout is the enemy of motivation and dedication. Working smarter by eliminating tedious, time-wasting activities will enhance your productivity and keep you focused on your goal.

5. Hold Yourself Accountable

Unfortunately, willpower isn’t enough to keep you going strong. You need to consciously and effectively work to maintain your motivation and dedication. Accountability is a great way of keeping yourself on track.

Here are some great methods of accountability:

  • Keep a journal of your goals, actions, and progress. It’s well known that writing down your goals makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve them. Take a few minutes each day or each week to write down small goals you’d like to accomplish, which actions you’ll take to achieve them, and then track your progress. This is also a great source of motivation to look back on and can help you understand what you are doing right and where you might need to make some adjustments.
  • Tell others about your journey. Getting family and friends in on your goals is a great way to stay accountable. If you're going out for dinner and your friends know you are on a weight loss journey, you’re much more likely to order something healthy because you know it’s what your friends expect. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire them in the process!
  • Get a coach. Hiring a coach or mentor is not only monetary accountability, but it’s accountability to someone else. A coach is someone who you will grow to respect, admire, and who you want to be proud of you.
  • Create a tribe. Going at it alone is tough. Create a tribe of people who will be by your side, helping and supporting you through your journey. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are on a similar path can be a powerful accountability tool.

Don’t just dream about your goals, take action to reach them. Gloveworx is an amazing community that can keep you motivated, build your confidence, and help you stay dedicated to your journey.

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