Habio Blog

Motivation vs. Inspiration:
What Do You Really Need to Achieve What You Want?

Motivation and inspiration are often confused with each other. Read this article to understand the difference between them and the role of discipline in achieving the goals you've set, and get tips on how to stay inspired and motivated.
A woman running and the friends give her motivation and inspiration
What do motivation and inspiration mean? Are these terms the same or different? If different, then what is the difference between motivation and inspiration? When it comes to Motivation vs. inspiration — which is more important? In this article, I'll walk you through the answers to all of these questions and more.

Many people mistake motivation for inspiration. They consider motivation and inspiration to hold the same meaning and use them interchangeably when, in reality, motivation and inspiration are different concepts. Motivation and inspiration both hold great significance in our lives. But it is imperative to be disciplined to enjoy the fruits of motivation and inspiration.

Motivation vs. inspiration: Do they differ?

Man standing on the rock search for motivation and inspiration
Motivation and inspiration are entirely different concepts. In simple terms, motivation comes from an external source, whereas inspiration comes from within. Their difference does not mean that one is more important than the other. Motivation is for people who want to act in a particular manner for a specific goal. On the other hand, inspiration provides the instant urge to achieve something that may help their personal development. Motivation involves needs and motives that drive action, whereas inspiration encourages us mentally to attain our best selves.

What is motivation?

We often ask questions like the following:
The term motivation is frequently used in our daily lives, but do you really know what motivation means? Motivation refers to a force that compels us to take action. It gives us a reason to achieve our goals, drives us to establish the targets we desire to accomplish, and helps us steer clear of purposeless actions and behaviors. It involves psychological, biological, and social forces that maximize our hopes and desires. Consequently, it stimulates us to take action that eventually results in achieving short-term or long-term goals.

What is inspiration?

Inspiration is a force that triggers us mentally and emotionally to get closer to the best version of ourselves. If people really want to achieve something, the desire to do so comes from within. Inspiration is usually based on our values, beliefs, experiences, interests, passions, and other sensations that make us feel better when we achieve our goals. Inspiration is a spontaneous impulse that keeps us committed and interested in our goals.

The difference between motivation and inspiration

Motivation is a persuading force, whereas inspiration is a pulling force. Motivation involves a sense of resistance and competitiveness but usually doesn't last long. On the other hand, inspiration consists of excitement and effortlessness, all the while having an enduring nature. The difference is that motivation stimulates us to act, whereas inspiration affects us cognitively to get us closer to our goals. Another thing to consider is that motivation is usually planned, but inspiration is always spontaneous.
Woman writes her plans down in her planner to get more motivation and inspiration in life

Motivation vs. discipline: Which is more important?

Motivation vs. Discipline — which is more influential? Motivation without discipline is like a car without fuel. Motivation helps you to establish your goals, while discipline allows you to act on them. Once you start to live a disciplined life, you won't have to fret about setbacks, procrastination, and failures. As José Eduardo dos Santos said, "There is no magic wand that can resolve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline." A disciplined life, coupled with enough motivators, is the ultimate recipe for success.

Tips on how to boost your motivation and inspiration levels

Motivation and inspiration are different yet equally meaningful concepts. Both play a substantial role in our success. Let's explore some useful ways of boosting our motivation and inspiration.

Set goals and review them

Planning out your goals will give you disciplined direction. Through this, you will be able to understand the bigger picture. Our brains are trained to focus on specific and measurable things; therefore, setting goals and reviewing them from time to time boosts our motivation to work toward them. Progress toward our goals makes us happier, motivating and inspiring us even more.

Have a supportive environment

When it comes to maintaining motivation with inspiration, a supportive environment is beneficial. If the environment is resistant, we tend to use our energy wastefully. It robs our enthusiasm and the ability to stay motivated. People around you should encourage you and serve as role models. Since motivation does not last long, resistance in the environment may further reduce its endurance.
Man doing ski jumping as an illustration of motivation and inspiration for others

Start small, think big

We should always set challenging yet realistic goals. What's the point of setting high standards that are too far from reality? It is better to start with smaller steps as it will keep things manageable. Although there are times where we may begin to lose our motivation and inspiration, we must remember that beginnings are supposed to be messy. Setting unrealistically high goals may result in repeated failures, which may eventually become an external factor that reduces our motivation and brings us down.

Include activities that you love in your routine

As explained previously, inspiration comes from within. This means that improving ourselves from within can help us maximize our inspiration. We should include more activities in our daily routine that make us happy and help us get in touch with our inner selves. The more content you are on the inside, the more spontaneous bouts of inspiration you will experience.

Make a public commitment

Humans fear social disapproval. Making a public commitment compels us to stick to our goals. This commitment serves as a motivating factor that prevents us from deviating from our path. Suppose you make a public commitment that you will lose 20 pounds in 10 months. Whenever you feel demotivated during your journey, this public commitment might increase the probability of following through with your goal and push you to continue. Public commitments are also a great way of boosting your confidence and self-esteem.

Accept your failures

It is crucial to accept our failures in order to move forward in life. Accepting failures turns away any regrets. Regrets have the potential to destroy our mental well-being and push us into a demotivated zone. You can overcome your failures by accepting and acknowledging that you are courageous enough to give things another try.

Reward yourself

Rewards serve as extremely useful motivators as they bring internal satisfaction and happiness, which increases spontaneous experiences of inspiration. You can reward yourself even for the smallest achievements. The more you reward a behavior, the more it's likely to be repeated in the future. You can reward yourself by doing something you love, like going to a movie, buying your favorite scented candles, or having a spa day. Anything that boosts your dopamine levels is a good enough reward.


The definition of motivation and inspiration clearly explains the differences between them. The significant difference between motivation and inspiration is that motivation may come from multiple external factors, but inspiration comes from inside. Both are equally important, depending on the goals. By trying out the tips mentioned above, we can increase our chances of boosting our motivation and inspiration.
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