Laziness is hard to overcome. In Newton's first law of motion, he states that an object in motion stays in motion while an "object at rest stays at rest. When you in a cycle of laziness, the hardest thing about overcoming laziness is just getting started.
Why go to the gym when I can be comfortable watching TV on the couch? And why should I go out and run when it's so cold at night? There are literally millions of reasons not to break the cycle of laziness.
As humans, we have the impressive ability to rationalize anything in any way that we want. You might tell yourself that it's too difficult to get started, or it's just not who you are. Unfortunately, the way we rationalize in our head ends in us doing the thing that requires the least amount of effort.
A lot of our habits are determined by our identity. Perhaps you have an identity that you "always fail, so why try", then the cycle of laziness falls comfortably within that identity.
However, the good news is that we can change our identity through incremental success. Who you are today does not mean that's who you are tomorrow. By making micro-changes in your life one day at a time, you can stop being lazy and start achieving your goals.
How to overcome laziness through process changes
1. Have realistic goals
Most people start with unrealistic goals. For example, if I got a nickel every time someone told me their goal is to be a millionaire, I would have at least a million dollars.
The problem with an unrealistic goal is that when you stare up at that massive goal, you start feeling overwhelmed. Worse yet, when you don't see progress towards that big goal, you begin to give up and succumb to laziness. It's hard to keep motivating yourself when you dedicate some amount of time to a goal and you are not able to take a step forward.
Start by differentiating short-term goals and long-term goals. For example, your long-term goal might be running a marathon, while your goal for today is just running 1 mile. Having a nice, specific, and actionable goal will help you focus on the task at hand and begin creating simple habits.
2. Create a plan of action for accomplishing your goals
Have you ever noticed that you feel overwhelmed by something because you don't have a roadmap to its completion? This happens to most people. It's not about laziness, but more about lack of direction.
Let's say you are working on losing weight (e.g. losing 25 lbs.) as a long-term goal, but you don't how how to lose weight. The first and most important thing is figuring out how to lose weight.
Once you learn how weight can be shed, you can create a step-by-step plan on how you will achieve the desired weight loss. Those steps become your short-term goals, while your long-term goal is losing 25 lbs.
One fun tactic for planning is creating a vision board, and work towards it manifestation in reality.
3. Try positive reinforcement
Most people are very critical of themselves when they fail. Positive reinforcement is the principle of using a system of rewards to influence behavior changes.
You should reward yourself for a job well done. You should also use positive thinking to overcome harder goals. Use happiness as your advantage for winning in life.
By rewarding good behaviors with praise and positive self-talk, you are able to overcome a lazy start and begin taking action towards a happier life.
4. Find an accountability partner
A best practice in personal development is having an accountability partner. Sometimes it's impossible to overcome your own laziness yourself. It's also difficult to keep motivating yourself through the day.
The best accountability partners are people with the same goals as you. For example, if you are working on weight loss, the best accountability partner is either someone else trying to lose weight or a life coach who knows how to help you lose weight.
You need someone to call you out on bad habits and help you move forward when you feel lazy. A good accountability partner will help give you a good kick in the butt to stop being so lazy.
5. Create habit streaks
Ever notice that a lot app has a "streak" system built-in now? It's because it's proven to be really effective for building habits.
When you commit to doing something over extended periods of time, it creates a habit. We are all creatures of habit, so building even simple habits is an effective way to overcome laziness.
When you work on performing achievable habits over a long period of time, you'll notice some big changes. NBA stars make a bunch of shots in practice so they don't have to even think twice about it during the game. They simply know how to make their shots.
How to overcome laziness through healthy habits
6. Exercise (start slow)
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to overcome laziness. From starting with a 15-minute walk outdoors or a light weight lifting session, you can see increased energy levels, improved mood, and reduced anxiety.
Don't over-exert yourself when you are starting out with exercise. Do what you know you are able to do and stretch about 1-4% beyond that. You will thank yourself for it.
7. Avoid sugary and unhealthy foods and drinks
People often feel lazy because of what they eat. Your nutrition and your energy level are intricately connected.
Things that will cause your blood sugar to spike and drop are:
foods and drinks with a high sugar content
most fast foods
If you avoid these foods, you'll have better and more sustained energy levels throughout the day. This will help prevent periods of slowness and drag in your day.
8. Sleep well
You might be feeling lazy because you haven't gotten good sleep in quite a well. Lack of sleep has been connected to increased risk of stroke, elevated risk of seizures, and elevated blood pressure/heart disease.
Try and use these tips to get better sleep. Avoid getting into sleep debt to stay in tip-top performance shape.
9. Drink water regularly
Drinking water is connected with many benefits. Drinking water and staying hydrated helps elevate your brain functions.
Being dehydrated causes you to feel light-headed which will make you feel lazier.
Sometimes, we are lazy because we are paralyzed by anxiety and fear. We don't take action because we are stuck in our heads.
Meditation helps you clear your mind, which reduces anxiety, reduces depression and increases focus. It comes with many benefits which are life-changing as long as you dedicate to making it a part of your daily life.
Here is a list of the best apps to get started with guided mindful meditation today. Building a habit of inner peace is invaluable to your success.
How to differentiate between laziness and mental health disorders
Sometimes our lazy habits may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you've lost interest in things and don't have the focus to get things done, you might want to consult a healthcare professional to help.
Some mental health conditions may be:
generalized anxiety disorder
seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Being lazy isn't always a bad thing. Our bodies and minds need time to rest so we can be ready for our next challenge. The problem lies in an extended period of laziness and the inability to break out of it. Start by reminding yourself that you are capable and break out from a defeated identity. Focus on winning small battles that lead to winning big wars. Create a long-term plan on how you can move forward, and short-term goals that help you meet your long-term goals. Find people who are willing to hold you accountable, and create a culture of good habits and massive action. This will help you overcome laziness and win in the long-run.
If reading this article helped you overcome laziness today, share it with your friends who might be struggling. Help them break the cycle of laziness today.