Did you just realize being lazy is bad for you? Thinking how to overcome laziness?
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
We all have those days when we just can’t motivate yourself to get off the couch (or out of bed). You take a cursory glance at the pile of paperwork on your desk, or the overflowing laundry basket and promise yourself that you’ll eventually get to it, but for now, you’re going to finish up a bag of Doritos and watch Game of Thrones.
Being lazy once in a while can actually be a good thing, especially if you’ve been working hard for long periods of time. In fact, being idle may be exactly what you need to recharge your batteries before getting back into the rat race. But when it becomes an incessant behavioural pattern that infringes on your overall productivity, that’s when you know that you’re in trouble.
Laziness is a state of passivity where we allow things to stay as they are, and we resist trying to change things. In pop culture, this quirk has taken on a comedic, almost endearing quality. We all love Garfield, the lazy cat who just wants to sleep and eat Lasagna all day. Or Homer Simpson, the ultimate underachiever and immature ‘average Joe’ with strings of short-lived passions. We’ve heard songs like The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars that glorifies the lazy life.
However, when we look at this trait through the lens of reality, we’ll see its detrimental effect on our happiness. This is especially true if you’re someone with ambition who wants to ‘go places’ in life. Author Jim Rohn once said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Being productive requires us to apply ourselves and enforce discipline in our life.
Laziness has become more prevalent in our society, especially among the younger generations. The pressures of living in a task-driven culture where achievement is prized, and there are constant demands on our time can be overwhelming, and can cause us to shut down and live in our own bubbles. It doesn’t help that there are a number of distractions from social media and the Internet that provide escapism and a respite for the senses, away from the hustle and bustle of the world.
Breaking the cycle of laziness to increase our productivity requires a lot more than half-hearted-promises, reading a list of productivity hacks, or downloading one of the thousands of planning apps available. Similar to procrastination, laziness is a result of a complex web of psychological issues and a lack of essential skills, such as planning and time management.
When we fail to act, nothing moves forward in our lives. As Newton’s first law of motion states, “If nothing happens to an object, and nothing does ever happen, then that object will never go anywhere.” The challenge is finding that spark of inspiration to generate the energy needed to put things into motion. For that to happen, we need to find the right incentive.
You don’t have to look far for inspiration. If you have a pet dog or a cat, you’ve probably seen how it instantly wakes up from sleep when it realizes that there are treats or a nice belly rub on offer. We are no different from our furry friends – we too need to find out what our ‘treat’ is that will motivate and get us moving.
Without exception, the most successful people in the world are incredibly productive and have a solid work ethic that has enabled them to make great strides towards their vision. They’re intuitively aware that laziness is the nemesis to their productivity. Athletes like Serena Williams, business magnates such as Elon Musk, and entertainers such as Steve Harvey have been known for meticulously planned schedules which they tackle with efficiency and precision.
Of course, we don’t all have to subject ourselves to intensely demanding schedules and drills. We can dial it down and craft a lifestyle that suits our specific goals and unique sensibilities.
Here are five steps that can help you overcome laziness and build momentum:
1. Get clear on what you want to achieve and why it’s important to you:
Before embarking on any endeavour it’s essential to get laser-focused on what exactly you want to accomplish. Having a clear end goal that creates a fire in your belly will pull you towards it. If you’re frequently caught up in lazy spells, set some time aside to go within and reflect on the person you want to be, and the life you want to live. Your inner compass will show you the way before you make any major decisions.
Here are some questions that you can reflect on:
- Why is it important that I achieve this?
- What are the potential outcomes if I succeed and how would that make me feel?
- What are the consequences of not taking any action?
2. Stop calling yourself lazy and identify the real issue:
If you’ve become accustomed to being seen as the lazy one, it’s time to strip off that label. You need to stop labelling yourself as ‘lazy’ or accepting that reputation from others because the tags that you attach to your identity have a significant impact on your psyche. The way we see ourselves, positive or negative, majorly influences our self-concept and affects the nature of our thoughts and actions.
Negative labels such as ‘lazy’ restrict your potential to grow and are often self-fulfilling. Your words and actions will reflect on lazy behaviour. If you want to overcome laziness, remove this label and replace it with positive ones such as ‘resourceful, hardworking, and smart’.