How to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated: 10 Quick Strategies
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Most people think that laziness is an undesirable trait.
It’s true that there are moments in our lives when we become overwhelmed by what’s on our plates, and during this time we tend to put off tasks or procrastinate on a number of things. Usually this is caused by not wanting to deal with a challenge or decision that we don’t want to make.
But if you're habitually lazy, then this behavior will ultimately lead to failure in life. That is why you should focus on behaviors that will help you eliminate your tendency to procrastinate and put off what's important.
So if you frequently feel lazy or unmotivated, then this article can help. What you’ll discover is a simple guide that will help you stop being lazy once and for all. Not only will you learn about the main causes of laziness, you will also get ten simple strategies you can use to overcome this bad habit.
(Side note: One way to motivate yourself is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE!)
Let's get to it…
What You Will Learn
- 5 Reasons Why You Might Be Lazy
- 1. Focus on the actual cause of your laziness.
- 2. Be kind to yourself.
- 3. Learn mindfulness.
- 4. Ask for help when you need it.
- 5. Create a checklist of the goals you want to accomplish.
- 6. Get more exercise.
- 7. Dress for success.
- 8. Reward yourself for your achievements.
- 9. Recognize that it takes hard work to achieve success.
- 10. Keep going.
- Final Thoughts on Overcoming Laziness
5 Reasons Why You Might Be Lazy
1. You are uninspired by the task
Motivation and inspiration pump you up and give you the energy to do whatever needs to be done, and complete it in the time frame that is expected. This means that if you are inspired by your job, you will be motivated to do it correctly. But without inspiration, you will often find yourself coming up reasons to put off a task for another day.
It's easy to justify a lack of effort. People who are in dead-end jobs or working on tasks that don't have a long-term benefits for them will find all types of reasons to not work hard. This creates a vicious cycle where they they never get things done and then feel even more stuck because they can't seem to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.
2. You are overwhelmed by the situation.
When you are completely overwhelmed with things that you have to do, your brain will often become confused and start to slow down. You may even try to convince yourself that you just can't do the task.
Once you are convinced of this, you probably won't see a good reason to start the task, which then leads to laziness. Also, if you are working on a task that seems like it just won't end, your motivation is likely to diminish and you may start to procrastinate.
(Side note: If you often feel overwhelmed, one strategy you can use is to break down a task into simple steps and use an app like Todoist to work on them in small chunks.)
3. You are fatigued.
You may work yourself too hard at work. By the time the day is over, you feel exhausted and can barely stay awake, let alone spend any time with your friends or family.
Progress requires mental activity, energy, and clear thinking. If you are fatigued, your mind is not as sharp as it usually is, and this prevents your body from functioning as effectively as it typically does. Fatigue also makes it difficult to make good decisions. Because of this, it is best to divide your tasks and responsibilities in a strategic way so you can make sure to get the important things accomplished. (If you frequently feel fatigued, then here are 23 reasons why you might have low energy.)
4. You are hurting.
You may be lazy because you are depressed or suffering from a loss. Laziness and a lack of motivation are common symptoms of depression.
While someone might feel as if they are being lazy, they might not be noticing the signs of depression or dealing with the feelings surrounding a loss. People who are hurting usually feel stuck and have anger towards themselves, which only exacerbates depression.
5. You have a fear of failure or achievement.
You may subconsciously fear success, so you use laziness as a way of sabotaging yourself. In addition to this, some people have an underlying worry that they will succeed at something and it will threaten those who are close to them, so they become lazy to avoid potential conflict.
Others fear failure, and prefer to be lazy rather than to fail because they don't have to face the fact that they attempted to do something and didn't succeed. Many postpone pursuing their goals (such as going after a promotion) because they have a low estimation of their skillset. The fear is that if they make the effort, then other people will see their inadequacy. This would be devastating, so it is better not to try at all.
Do you recognize any of these signs of laziness in yourself?
If so, then here are ten strategies you can use to stop being lazy and increase your productivity…
1. Focus on the actual cause of your laziness.
After identifying the most possible cause of you shirking your responsibilities, it’s time to address the issue.
If you are uninspired, perhaps it’s time to change your daily routine.
If you feel overwhelmed, list your priorities and try breaking down what you need to do into smaller tasks to avoid tackling everything all at once.
Fatigued? Allow yourself to have some down time.
If you are hurting, acknowledge your need to grieve for a loss.
If you are afraid of failing or succeeding, make a list of why your fears are irrational.
Whatever the root cause is of your laziness, if you are able to address it directly, you may be able to get some more motivation to do your work.
2. Be kind to yourself.
Think about how you talk to yourself. If you had a friend who talked to you like you talked to yourself, would you still be friends with that person? At the end of the day, you need to be your own biggest cheerleader and advocate.
That's why you should stop the negative self-talk like telling yourself that you're lazy or worthless. If you spend a lot of time thinking like this, you will escalate the problem and make yourself more prone to anxiety and depression. Instead, try an inner dialogue where you present yourself in a positive light and are supportive of your own efforts. Doing this can change your outlook and motivate you.
3. Learn mindfulness.
A great way to avoid being overwhelmed with all that happens in your life is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is an antidote to laziness because when you are mindful, you can identify your tendency to procrastinate and make a conscious choice about either doing something or not doing something.
When you're being mindful, you are able to observe the excuses that pop up in your head and recognize them as simply being passing thoughts. Live in the present moment, appreciating what you have in the now.
4. Ask for help when you need it.
Most people are conditioned to do everything for themselves and not reach out for help. But suffering from the stress of a piled-on workload is enough to make anyone stop in their tracks. One of the best ways to cut down on your heavy workload is to ask other people for help when you need it.
You can be selective in how and when you ask for assistance so as to not appear to be complaining, incompetent, or lazy. Also, you can make sure you reciprocate in the future when someone else asks you for help. Once you’ve asked for and received the help that you need, your list of tasks won’t seem so unreasonable. There’s a lot of value in having a cooperative spirit in getting things accomplished.
5. Create a checklist of the goals you want to accomplish.
Want to emulate the successful people who have overcome challenges in their lives? Then one thing you can do is set a series of short-term and long-term goals that focus on what you want from life.
Regularly review this list to see which goals you’ve achieved, and cross them off. Writing down your goals will help you focus on them. Checking them off the list as you accomplish each one will give you the motivation that you need to keep going and finish other goals.
Put copies of your checklist everywhere, as this will allow you to see it often. Once you start seeing check marks accumulating, you will want to keep going. You'll be able to have a visual image of what you have been working towards and what you're capable of doing. This momentum will feel good.
6. Get more exercise.
There are so many positive benefits you can reap from having a workout routine. It energizes you, boosts your metabolism, helps you lose weight, and improves your ability to focus.
Exercise will get your blood pumping and put your body into an energized state that can last all day. If you find it tough to get up and going in the morning, try exercising for even just 15 minutes. This will make you feel more active through the afternoon.
Once you get on a schedule and make working out a priority in your life, it will become easier to do, and will prevent you from slipping back into a lazy mindset.
Choose the workout that fits your schedule. While you're at it, benefit your mind and body by eating a healthy diet as well. Junk food won't give your body the nutrition that it needs to be active. Without proper energy, you can start to feel lazy and stop caring.
If you want a simple way to implement this idea, then try one of the 11 morning exercise routines that we provide on this page or use the Aaptiv plaform.
7. Dress for success.
Dressing well reflects your intention to succeed, whether you are in a corporate setting or at home. When you look the part, you are more likely to be confident and actually act the part as well.
Other people will look at you (and therefore treat you) more respectfully, and see you as an authority figure. On the other hand, if you dress poorly and therefore don't feel good about yourself, you will not act confident—and that will be clear to other people in your actions. Changing your clothes will change your behavior.
8. Reward yourself for your achievements.
To help you start overcoming laziness for good, give yourself something to look forward to. When you are looking forward to something, it can actually stop laziness from even starting in the first place. There are many ways you can show yourself appreciation for a job well done.
Determine goals for yourself and then set rewards accordingly. This can help you keep your reward in mind while you are doing a task, and therefore keep your motivation going.
You can even set very small rewards for yourself for doing a set amount of focused work.
For example, add in some small breaks between your short (but focused) bursts of work. Start with 25 minutes of work on a task and then give yourself 5 minutes of rest. (For more on this, check out our article about The Pomodoro technique.)
This will help break up the time you are actively working, and it will make the work seem less daunting because you will be hacking away at it, little by little. This will also help you feel energetic and motivated for longer, and therefore do better quality work.
After starting small, you may want to increase your working time to 45 minutes before taking a 15-minute break. If you want to prevent yourself from looking at the clock, use an app on your phone, or a kitchen timer.
9. Recognize that it takes hard work to achieve success.
Self-discipline takes people to where they want to go. If you find yourself full of excuses, then you are probably lacking self-discipline. Discipline is created by creating small habits that turn into bigger, more important routines in your schedule.
The longer you put something off, the worse it will start to seem. The important thing is to take action once, and then continue to take this action until you start to see progress.
The truth is, most experts and professionals readily admit that the majority of their achievements are 99% hard work and just 1% talent. Undisciplined talent won't get you anywhere.
All successes demand steady and consistent dedication and work that strains you both physically and emotionally. Your will to flourish has to translate to your will to keep working when doing so is necessary and useful.
10. Keep going.
Don’t throw in the towel when things get difficult. Accept that some days will be more challenging than others. This may involve reminding yourself of your goal so you can stay focused. Part of achieving success or finding a solution to a problem depends on remembering why it matters to you.
If you lose sight of your goal, you will easily become distracted and hit dead-ends that might make it seem impossible to continue. Doing regular reassessments of the importance and value of your long-term goal will help keep you focused.
One way you can maintain momentum in your life is to embrace the philosophy of Kaizen. This is the Japanese business concept, which revolves around actions and activities that continuously improve the entire organization from the ground up. Because there is always room for improvement somewhere. So Kaizen stresses the idea of overcoming challenges and never giving up.
You can create Kaizen in your life by looking for (and implementing) those 1% improvements throughout all aspects of your life.
Final Thoughts on Overcoming Laziness
There are different reasons why people become lazy, but there are ways to overcome it. You don't need to make a drastic change in your life. Instead, I recommend picking just one of the ten strategies that we covered in this article and focus on that for the next few weeks.
To get started, identify one small change that can make a difference in your life and schedule it into your routine. If you don't know “how” to do this, then check out this 13-step process about building routines through a concept called “habit stacking.”
Hopefully the advice in this article inspired you to stop being lazy in your own life.
Did you find this article to be useful?
If so, feel free to comment below!
Finally, one way to improve your life is to read and learn something new every day. A great tool to do this is to join over 1 million others and start your day with the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. This newsletter is a 5-minute read that's informative, witty and FREE.