How To Not Be Lazy Anymore

Dayana Sabatin

I’ve always had a lazy streak in me. We all do — we’re human.

I used to think I was simply born lazy. There were so many times that I was unmotivated to fight for a better life, or I felt unfit to succeed in anything I wanted to accomplish. If it’s meant to be, it wouldn’t be this difficult. I used to think to myself.

However, despite what anybody says — or what you might think, laziness isn’t something you’re born with, nor is it a personality trait. According to Forbes, lazy thinking and lazy behavior, like any other habits, can be broken.

Psychology Today says,

A person is lazy if he can carry out some activity that he ought to carry out but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the activity perfunctorily, or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity, or remains idle. In short, he is lazy if his motivation to spare himself effort trumps his motivation to do the right or expected thing.

In essence, if you’re lazy, it’s because you’re too comfortable. You fill your day with cheap pleasures like Netflix and Instagram instead of doing things that genuinely improve you as an individual.

To fix this, you need to start gradually replacing these dopamine dispensing habits that you’ve established with productive and healthy activities.

After realizing this, I decided to start challenging myself. I dove into self-improvement like no other. I started focusing more on my career and the things that I could do rather than couldn’t. I became more self-driven, I had a fire within me to succeed no matter what. Slowly but surely, every day felt less and less unaccomplished and more productive.

Here’s how I started.

Implement “hard” Things into Your Day

Start getting used to doing “hard” things first thing in the morning, such as avoiding your phone, not checking your emails, going for a run, etc.

Implementing things that often feel challenging will initially feel uncomfortable, and it’ll make you think you’re doing the wrong thing, but that’s exactly how you stop being lazy — by embracing discomfort.

At the start of 2021, I decided I was going to slowly decrease the amount of time I was spending on social media. Instead of cutting myself off completely, I took one day off per week. Every Monday, I avoided Instagram at all costs.

It was brutal. I don’t like to admit it, but I became essentially addicted to using the platform, and I would get on it every morning. I’m not going to say it got easier within the first few weeks, but I’ve been consistent for the last few months, and I’ve noticed my dependency on the app has decreased significantly.

Start small. If you’re too lazy to work out, try to go for a short walk or light jog in the morning. If you’re someone who struggles to eat healthily, incorporate 1–2 healthy meals per day and decrease the junk food. Anything that’s worth it will always be challenging at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Remove Your “escape” Routes

Ask yourself, what do you typically do that enables your laziness?

For me, it’s my phone or TV. I’ll start mindlessly scrolling through social media sites; maybe I’ll shop online, I’ll get a snack and turn the TV on “just for a few minutes,” which inevitably turns into a few hours. My motivation to do anything productive goes out the door.

I’ve used TV as a distraction for myself for years; although I am a huge movie and TV show fanatic, there have been times where I would turn to TV for reasons other than pure entertainment. I turned to it for escapism.

If I felt like I was struggling in an area of my life, I would turn on a favorite TV show of mine for comfort. If I felt like I didn’t want to do what I was supposed to, I’d turn on a movie and pretend I’d get around to it later. You deserve to relax, I’d tell myself.

Once I realized this, I turned my phone on silent and left it in the other room during my work hours. I also put the TV remote away so I wouldn’t be tempted to turn anything on. By setting up these small obstacles, I find myself turning towards my escape routes less frequently, and the less I turn to them, the less desire I even have for them in the first place.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good movie or TV show, but ask yourself. Are you watching it for pure entertainment, or are you trying to escape reality and your responsibilities?

Declutter Your Environment

I often find myself the laziest when my apartment isn’t clean and organized.

When you’re surrounded by piles of clothing and endless clutter, you often feel overwhelmed. It almost feels like you’re being weighed down by something, and you can’t move forward.

According to Psychology Today, clutter causes stress in part because of its excessive visual stimuli. It also signals to our brains that our work is never done and creates guilt, anxiety, and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Based on research from Princeton University, visual clutter competes with your brain’s ability to pay attention and tires out your cognitive functions. Psychology professor, Sabine Kastner, explained this in the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

“The more objects in the visual field, the harder the brain has to work to filter them out, causing it to tire over time and reducing its ability to function. Translation: Stacks of disorganized papers or an array of half-consumed coffee cups spewed across your desk make you feel both mentally and physically exhausted.”

A few days ago, I was filming a YouTube video. I discussed how I often feel unmotivated at the start of the week, but as the end of it nears, I can almost feel the energy reentering my body. I tried to identify the reason behind this, and after doing some thorough investigating, I came to the conclusion that it was because my cleaning day is in the middle of the week.

I prefer to clean mid-week because I like to relax on weekends, and once I got used to this routine, I simply stuck to it. Wednesday morning, I wake up and start deep cleaning the house. I feel free and rejuvenated almost immediately.

Now, I try to do some light cleaning every morning. For me, it’s therapeutic and makes me feel productive instantly. I’m not saying you need to get your Swiffer out the second you wake up, but ensuring that your environment is uncluttered and organized can make the biggest difference.

Visualize Your End Goals Frequently

Jack Canfield, American author, motivational speaker, corporate trainer, entrepreneur, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, says the daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals, and ambitions.

“Elite athletes use it. The super-rich uses it. And peak performers in all fields now use it. That power is called visualization.”

Visualization has four major benefits:

  • Activates your creative subconscious, which can help you start generating more creative ideas to achieve your goals.
  • Programs your brain to recognize the resources you’ll need to achieve your dreams.
  • Activates the law of attraction, which will thereby attract into your life the necessary people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals.
  • Builds your internal motivation to take the necessary action steps to actually achieve your dreams.

I started utilizing the power of visualization during my morning meditation. I felt that it increased my drive to accomplish more every morning, and it made me feel empowered.

However, a few weeks ago, I hit a major rut. I felt incredibly frustrated with my work, it seemed like everything I was doing wasn’t enough, and it almost felt like all the willpower I had inside of me had vanished. I wanted to do nothing; I wanted to return to my escape routes, watch my favorite comfort shows, eat my favorite comfort foods and forget all about the career I was trying to build.

That’s when visualization came back into my life. I started picturing it again, everything I wanted for myself — everything I wanted for my family. I imagined what my future New York City apartment would look like; I imagined how I would feel once my first book was published. The fire I knew I still had within me slowly started to rekindle.

Now, every time I feel myself slipping, or anytime I feel too lazy to work towards my goals, I visualize. It’s made the biggest difference.

It might feel a little uncomfortable, but try to visualize both the positive and negative consequences as vividly as you can in your mind to jumpstart your motivation.

I’ve learned that living a life that’s always “go-go-go” can lead to burnout quickly. However, I’ve also learned that if you’re someone who wants to accomplish big things in life, you’re going to have to learn how to be disciplined enough to push through the midday slumps and the lazy days.

At times when I feel too tired to work, I ask myself whether or not I actually need a day off, or if it’s my mind playing games with me. Usually, it’s the latter, and so I lean on the habits I mentioned above to push through it.

Remember, you’re not a lazy person. You just need a boost of encouragement, and a series of positive habits to lean on.

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