Laziness is crippling.
It makes even the tiniest tasks seem insurmountable.
Laziness makes today’s to-do list tomorrow’s—every day. Your projects are left half-done and those you do finish are terribly executed. You achieve nothing. It makes you feel like a failure.
Before long, you stop trying.
Each time there’s something to do, you have an excuse, “I’m a lazy person. I can’t do that.” It becomes part of your identity. You don’t try to change because “it’s just the way you are”.
To become the energetic, driven person you know you can be, you need to understand why you’re being lazy and change that sabotaging self-image.
How to Not Be Lazy
Overcoming laziness starts with answering the question, ‘Why are you acting lazy?’
Without knowing the answer, you could force yourself to not be lazy. You could drag yourself out of bed each morning and force yourself to go to work. Yet, that’s less effective than finding the roots of your laziness and extracting them.
Usually, laziness is caused by one of these two reasons: You’re overwhelmed or you lack the motivation and energy.
1. You are overwhelmed by the plethora of tasks awaiting you
You have too much to do. Should you start with this or with that? That project is too hard, but the other one will take forever to finish.
Taking on more than you can handle is mind-numbing.
It pushes you into inactivity. When you have a thousand things that need done, you end up doing none of them.
Is your schedule packed?
Does it feel like you’re in over your head?
If so, start by decluttering your to-do list. Chances are not everything on it is important. Use the Eisenhower box to eliminate unnecessary tasks.
Next, take the remaining tasks and break them up. Most tasks are composed of smaller tasks. A complex task can be daunting, and you’ll procrastinate it for as long as possible.
Once you break all your bigger tasks into bite-size tasks, you’ll be less overwhelmed and be more likely to complete your to-do list.
2. You lack the motivation or energy to accomplish, in other words, you don’t feel like it—all the time.
Maybe your schedule isn’t packed. Yet, you still struggle to start the most basic tasks.
You look at your to-do list with a feeling of dread because everything is something you don’t want to do.
You either don’t have the energy or can’t muster the motivation.
If you’ve ever wondered why some people breeze through their to-do lists while others sludge through them, it’s because of the energy they bring to the tasks.
Lacking energy is a cause of laziness. You might not sleep enough or sleep well. Maybe you eat too much sugar and junk food. Being depressed also leads to a lack of energy.
If you lack energy, try one of these:
Not only does exercise get your blood pumping to your brain and muscles, it also improves your breathing, giving you that much-needed energy boost.
- Keep some nuts nearby
Eat nuts in between meals. Almonds and peanuts contain energy-boosting minerals, such as folic acid and magnesium, helping your body produce more energy.
- Hang out with energetic people
Energy is contagious. If you hang out with lazy people, that’s what you’ll become. Find people who are excited and upbeat, and draw your energy from them.
If you aren’t motivated to do a task, you’ll have a difficult time starting it. In this case, you have two paths ahead of you. The first is for tasks you used to love. You renew your motivation for the task.
To rediscover your motivation, remember why you started.
For example, if you’re in college and struggling to go to class, remember why you applied for college in the first place. Was it because of your love for the subject? Did you apply to create a better future for yourself?
Think about what kindled your motivation in the first place. If is no longer there, then ask yourself why you’re still in it.
Your second path is for tasks that you don’t feel like doing—and never will. The things in life that you need to do just because, like doing the dishes.
With these tasks, there is no easy way out. You have to force yourself to do them.
You are never going to want to do them and waiting just postpones the inevitable.
Now the question is how?
If you knew how to make yourself do them, you wouldn’t be here reading this post.
Mel Robbins came up with an effective technique that’s helped her and countless others do what they don’t want to. Her solution is so simple, it’s surprising that it actually works.
Whenever you need to do something you don’t want to, you count down from 5 and then get up and do it.
I told you, it’s surprising that such a trivial technique can make a difference. Test it for yourself if you don’t believe me.
Here’s Mel on why it works:
Change Your Self Image by Proving Yourself Wrong
What makes laziness so hard to get rid of is that after a while you start to identify as a lazy person. You start to avoid the actions that will improve your life. You miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities under the premise that you are not the kind of person who achieves great things.
That’s a sabotaging self-identity that you need to eliminate. And the best way to do that is to prove yourself wrong. Do the things that you think you can’t do.
Soon enough, you’ll start thinking, “I am a person who defies all odds,” because you did. You took action when you were at a low point in your life—when you thought you didn’t have the ability to do so.