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  • Writer's pictureFernanda Latorre

Unveiling the Link Between Discipline, Hurdles of Initiation, and Job-Hunting Success

Job hunting involves challenges, uncertainties, and emotional roller coasters. It's a phase where the right blend of discipline and motivation can significantly impact your success. The journey often resembles a complex puzzle, where discipline, motivation, and the daunting challenge of taking the first steps must align to achieve success.

In this article, we will explore the profound connection between discipline and motivation, delve into the psychological reasons behind the difficulty in taking initial steps, and provide actionable strategies to overcome the lack of discipline in the context of job hunting.

The Interplay Between Discipline and Motivation

Discipline and motivation might seem like separate concepts, but are intricately linked.

Discipline serves as the foundation upon which motivation thrives.

Discipline serves as the foundation upon which motivation thrives. When you establish disciplined routines and habits, you create a structured environment that facilitates motivation. Research by Gollwitzer and Sheeran (2006) emphasizes that setting clear intentions, often requiring discipline, can significantly enhance goal achievement.

Motivation provides the driving force that sustains discipline.

Motivation, on the other hand, provides the driving force that sustains discipline. Motivated individuals are likelier to stick to their routines and push through challenges. The Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) posits that intrinsic motivation, driven by internal satisfaction, is more potent in maintaining long-term commitment than external rewards.

The Hurdle of Initiation: Psychological Barriers to Taking First Steps

The perceived effort required to begin a task can outweigh the anticipation of reward, causing people to delay or avoid starting altogether.

Despite the importance of discipline and motivation, taking the initial steps toward a goal can be unexpectedly tricky. This phenomenon is often attributed to psychological barriers such as fear of failure, uncertainty, and the comfort of inertia. Research in procrastination, notably by Steel (2007), highlights that the perceived effort required to begin a task can outweigh the anticipation of reward, causing people to delay or avoid starting altogether.

Moreover, the Zeigarnik effect, proposed by Zeigarnik (1927), suggests that unfinished tasks tend to linger in our minds, causing discomfort and mental strain. This unease can contribute to the difficulty of initiating tasks, even when we logically understand their importance.

Strategies to Overcome Lack of Discipline in Job Hunting

1. Chunking and Micro-Goals: Break down the overwhelming task of job hunting into smaller, manageable steps—set micro-goals, such as updating your resume or researching a specific company. Completing these small tasks generates a sense of accomplishment, encouraging further progress (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989).

2. Visualize Success: Imagine the positive outcomes of successful job hunting—landing an interview, connecting with inspiring professionals, or finding a fulfilling role. Visualization can harness the power of positive thinking and motivate action (Seligman, 1990).

3. Accountability Partners: Share your job-hunting goals with a friend, family member, or mentor who can provide encouragement and hold you accountable (Buddy System). This external support reinforces discipline by introducing an element of social obligation (Gollwitzer, 2012).

4. Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself despite setbacks or perceived lack of discipline. As Neff (2003) studied, self-compassion reduces negative self-talk and fosters a supportive inner dialogue that can mitigate the fear of failure.

Applying Discipline and Motivation to Job Hunting

1. Structured Routine: Dedicate specific hours to job-hunting tasks each day. Establishing a structured routine helps build discipline and cultivates the habit of consistent effort (Duhigg, 2012).

2. Clear Goals and Rewards: Set clear, achievable job-hunting goals. As you achieve milestones, reward yourself with something enjoyable, reinforcing discipline and motivation (Locke & Latham, 2002).

3. Leverage Intrinsic Motivation: Connect the job hunt to your values and long-term aspirations. This intrinsic motivation enhances the meaning behind your actions and bolsters discipline (Deci & Ryan, 2000).


The journey of job hunting is a multifaceted experience that demands the fusion of discipline and motivation while acknowledging the psychological barriers that can hinder progress. By understanding the synergy between these factors and implementing tailored strategies, individuals can overcome the initial hurdles, maintain the discipline required, and succeed in their job search endeavours.

Awareness + kindness + patience = you got this!


Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behaviour. Springer Science & Business Media.

Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: A meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin, 133(1), 65-94.

Zeigarnik, B. V. (1927). Das Behalten erledigter und unerledigter Handlungen [Memory of completed and uncompleted tasks]. Psychologische Forschung, 9(1), 1-85.

Kanfer, R., & Ackerman, P. L. (1989). Motivation and cognitive abilities: An integrative/aptitude-treatment interaction approach to skill acquisition. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74(4), 657-690.

Seligman, M. E. (1990). Learned optimism. Knopf.

Gollwitzer, P. M. (2012). Mindset theory of action phases. In Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 526-545). Sage Publications.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practical theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.

Neff, K. D. (2003). The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2(3), 223-250.

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