If we knew how to stop being lazy, we’d be super-heroes. We’ve all had a case of the Mondays, the Tuesdays, or maybe the “any day that ends in Ys”…. We’ve all felt lazy, uninspired and unmotivated to get moving and to take action. There’s no shame in admitting that laziness has taken control of your time on occasion; the problem isn’t about feeling a little sluggish from time to time, the real problem is when you cannot break out of that sluggish rut. As Psychology Today reports, according to Neel Burton, M.D., psychiatrist and author of The Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide, “a person is being lazy if she is able to carry out some activity that she ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved…she is being lazy if her motivation to spare herself effort trumps her motivation to do the right or expected thing.” Been there, felt that.
If this describes your current mood, or maybe your mentality every morning when you get out of bed, there’s good news: laziness can be overcome. Motivation might not be easy to come by, there are certain steps you can take to self-motivate, and surround yourself by inspirational forces that can help you get moving and get things done. It’s time to rise up and learn how to stop being lazy, so that you can make the most of your day (life!)
1. Set Realistic Expectations
If you’re often feeling lazy, then you cannot (and should not) expect to wake up one day and be the energizer bunny, knocking items off your to-do list with a smile and a constant supply of spunk. It just doesn’t work that way. Set realistic goals for yourself so you can ease into your new routine. It’s OK to set the bar low at the beginning, because if you set yourself up for failure you’ll only fall deeper into a pattern of laziness and disappointment. Start small by only tackling a few items each day, so that you can get into the habit of achieving your goals, which will further motivate you to work harder.
2. Focus on One Task at a Time
Sometimes laziness can be confused with being overwhelmed. Don’t try to do too much at once; instead focus on one task at any given time, put all of your energy (however much you may have) into that single job, and see it through. According to Chantalle Gerber, author of 52 Simple Steps Towards Happiness and Success, “focusing on two or three things at a time will allow you to feel less overwhelmed. Instead, you will feel motivated, as your goals will now seem so much more achievable.” The best part is that the feeling of success you’ll experience when you do finish that project will provide you with further motivation to move onto the next challenge.
3. Surround Yourself by Positive People with Good Work Ethic
It’s easy to feel lazy sometimes, and it’s really easy to feel lazy if you’re surrounded by other people who are equally unmotivated. The whole “misery loves company” motto works here too…laziness thrives on company. Surround yourself with other people who are driven to accomplish their goals, and let their work ethic rub off on you. It’s certainly easier (and more fun) to get things done with a friend by your side, just make sure that friend will push you to take action and work towards success, not make you feel like it’s okay to sit on your butt.
4. Create a Vision Board
If you’re a visual person, create a board with images, quotes, photos and objects that will remind you what you are working towards. The idea is that it’s harder to be lazy if you are constantly bombarded with your goals. For example, if you want to get in shape but you often wake up feeling sluggish, create a board with photos of inspirational athletes, weight loss goals, a 5K race you want to complete or a picture of yourself during a time when you were fit. If you want a new career but you’re too lazy (and maybe a little scared) to change jobs then create a board with quotes that inspire you and photos of successful people in your field. Put it on paper so you can visualize your success and get inspired by those images—then get moving.
5. Keep Track of Your Progress
Nothing is more motivating than success. Don’t shrug off your wins, no matter how small they may seem. Even the tiniest accomplishments are worth recognizing, and if you keep track of your progress you’ll actually see how your work is paying off, thus inspiring you to continue that effort, maybe even at a higher intensity, with more passion and with a renewed sense of purpose.