“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
Although laziness is common and a natural part of life, it has the potential to completely consume us.
I personally have times where laziness causes me to feel trapped. No matter what I do, I cannot seem to shake it off. I feel tired, fall asleep constantly during the day, sit around a lot and feel unable to be active, avoid doing anything productive, and put on hold things that I want to accomplish.
I believe there are two kinds of laziness. First, there’s the kind where you have been working your butt off for weeks and finally, after all your hard work, all you want to do is be lazy and do nothing.
But then there’s the kind of laziness where you struggle to find motivation. Every time you think of something you would like to do or achieve, you cannot find the energy or drive to work toward it. This is the kind of laziness that I am talking about.
Being lazy is actually quite draining and depressing. I know because I regularly find myself feeling so lethargic that even the simplest task seems like a challenge. I’m sure I’m not alone in this struggle.
I have found five effective ways to overcome my laziness that I want to share with you so you can win your personal battle too.
1. Focus on just a few things at a time.
We often create a big list of things that we want to do and achieve. 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.
Out of the two sets of six-month goals below, which set gets you more motivated?
Learn to play guitar, do well at work, and get fit.
Learn to play guitar, do well at work, get fit, build big muscles, get better at singing, get top marks at school, learn how to draw better, and write a book.
When I see the second list, I feel overwhelmed. When my life looks a bit like this, I usually don’t know where to start or if I can succeed at anything I’ve set out to do.
People feel motivated when they feel they have a good chance of success.
This has been a big learning curve for me. When success seems like it is just around the corner, suddenly I get an amazing rush of energy where I feel liberated and excited to achieve bigger things.
Set yourself two or three easy to achieve goals at a time and you will notice that you will naturally gain inspiration and motivation.
Exercise is the simplest way to overcome laziness. A lot of the time, we feel lazy because completing a task seems too difficult. With exercising, you don’t have to figure anything out. You just have to make that one big decision to literally start moving your body (jump up and down, go for a run, or start doing lunges in your living room).
This has been a big revelation for me. Sometimes I get so fed up with feeling lazy and lethargic that I literally just start running. I have learned that if you can overcome physical laziness, your mind will naturally follow.
You will find that you will become more willing to think about complicated things, such as working on a project or doing something that you have been avoiding. Exercise will help you break through that barrier of inertia and will help you feel motivated and more willing to put in effort.
3. Allow yourself time to relax and do the things you enjoy.
Sound’s ironic, doesn’t it? Overcoming laziness by relaxing! But it works.
Often, we become lazy because a task seems too difficult. By relaxing and doing the things we enjoy, we allow ourselves to feel satisfied. When we are satisfied, we are more willing to take on bigger tasks and achieve bigger things.
By relaxing and enjoying yourself, you also allow yourself to think about things, reflect, and feel inspired.
For example, I often feel uninspired to write articles. I get a mental block. Writing and researching becomes an overwhelming task, so I retreat to laziness. I completely block out anything that requires hard work.
I have learned that as I relax and do things I enjoy, my mind is encouraged to reflect again. It is not scared of becoming overwhelmed because it knows that I am not going to push it to do something productive if it does not want to.
This is how I gain inspiration again. When I relax, I suddenly find myself thinking of all these great ideas and I regain inspiration and motivation.
4. Get organized.
Your physical surroundings have a big impact on how you feel. If your house is a mess, you are likely to feel even more overwhelmed—both because clutter creates a sense of chaos and because having to clean your house adds to your giant list of things to do in a ridiculously short amount of time.
Clean your house and organize your physical surroundings and you will naturally feel motivated to be more productive and active.
You will be making life simpler and easier to manage.
Once you’ve organized your home, you may feel motivated to get organized in other areas of your life and tackle tasks you’ve neglected.
As I mentioned earlier, laziness is often our attempt to avoid difficult or unpleasant tasks. Ironically, once you start tackling them, it will all feel less difficult and overwhelming and you’ll likely feel a lot less tense.
5. Be aware of and monitor your internal dialogue.
Our internal dialogue (the way we speak to ourselves) has such a big impact on how we feel and what we do.
Anthony Robins, world famous motivational speaker, explains that if we want to feel ecstatic, all we need to do is adopt a point of view that creates that emotion.
For example, picturing in your mind the things that make you feel that way, change the tone and content of your internal dialogue and change your posture and breathing to create that state in your body.
This has become my personal motto, and I am genuinely amazed at how much more positive I feel just by choosing to have a positive outlook.
Every time I have a negative thought, such as “today is going to be a long, hard day at work,” I immediately challenge that thought by telling myself something like this: “I have so much to be grateful for and today is going to be fun and enjoyable!”
I then make a choice to get rid of my slouchy posture and tell myself that I have lots of energy.
Just thinking that way makes me feel excited and gives me a big boost of energy.
I once learned that we have over 50,000 thoughts a day. Even if only 10 percent of them are negative, it equals a total of 5,000 negative thoughts a day. When I heard this, I realized that we have way too many negative thoughts and it helped make sense of why so many of us struggle to feel motivated.
Being aware of and monitoring your internal dialogue is so important, and will inevitably impact on how lazy you feel and how easy it will be for you to overcome that laziness.
These methods have helped me incredibly and continue to help me everyday. I am sure that if you apply them too, you will experience a big boost of energy and motivation in your daily life.
Photo by matthew venn