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This Word Makes it Impossible to Stop Being Lazy

This Word Makes it Impossible to Stop Being Lazy

“My big problem is that I’m SO lazy.”

How many times have you heard someone say that? How many times have you said it? I know I’ve gone through phases of my life where I just couldn’t seem to get off my butt to get stuff done, and I’m definitely guilty of calling myself lazy.

But eventually, I stopped. Because labels like “I’m so lazy” are incredibly negative and become part of your identity. Worse, they hide the real problems preventing you from achieving what you really want. Changing the way you talk about yourself is an important self for both self-love and personal achievement.

When you use a label like “I’m so lazy,” you’re taking a specific thing that you’re struggling with—be it your work, a side project, getting fit, or just doing your laundry—and applying it to your entire identity as a person. It’s tempting to think of this as just a thing people say. It’s easy to write off our problems as a personality trait, and for some reason, that’s made calling ourselves lazy (or “a disaster” or “such a klutz”) socially acceptable.

But the words you use to describe yourself matter. They change the way you think about yourself and the things you do.

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3 Reasons to Stop Saying You’re Lazy

1) Labeling makes your problem part of who you are

Making “laziness” or any other negative trait a part of your identity means that you have to fight yourself anytime you want to do anything!

If you define yourself as lazy, you have to confront that fact every day, with every action. The label you’ve given yourself based on a small number of experiences becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s hard to stop being lazy.

2) You need to change your identity to change

If being lazy is part of your identity, you need to change who you are as a person in order to change anything.

That’s so intimidating! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to change who I am every time I set out to accomplish something new. It’s much harder to do that than it is to change the little actions that are causing my problems.

3) It’s wrong!

Ask yourself: are you really lazy?

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I told myself I was lazy when I was struggling to keep up with my writing. But at the same time, I was working out 4-6 times a week and cooking healthy meals every night.

The last person I heard call themselves lazy (because she put off doing chores around the house) was a solid 50 pages of script into writing her first solo screenplay. Does that sound lazy?

There are probably plenty of times where you’re a motivated, driven person! Figuring out what makes those times different can help you stop being “lazy.”

2 Steps to Stop Being Lazy

Defeating your laziness label and taking action isn’t always easy, but it can be done by interrogating the label and taking a small action.

Step 1: Interrogate the Label

First, attack the label itself. For laziness, find areas of your life where you aren’t lazy. If you’re “such a disaster,” when are you NOT a disaster? Your labels probably aren’t as universal as you thought.

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Then, look at the specific action you’re having trouble with and ask: “why?” What makes this different? Keep asking that question until you get to the real answer.

In my writing, for example, every time I procrastinated was really because I wasn’t sure what to say. If I didn’t have a good grasp on the subject or didn’t have a subject at all, the task of writing a whole article was incredibly daunting. My problem wasn’t laziness; it was uncertainty.

Have you ever put off going to the doctor or calling for test results? For me, I tend to delay because I’m worried about the results that will come back. I have stuff to do! I don’t want to be told that I need some expensive treatment or need to take time off the activities I enjoy. Again, the problem wasn’t laziness; it was fear.

Step 2: Take a Small, Immediate Action

Once you know the real problem, it’s so much easier to solve!

If your problem is uncertainty, how can you make your task less uncertain? If your problem is fear, how can you make the task less daunting? If your problem is self-confidence, what can you do to convince yourself that you’re capable of this task?

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In my writing example, I set a smaller goal than “write my article on this topic.” Instead, I focused on finding one good source on the subject. Once I did that and had a better understanding of the topic in general, I would make a detailed outline. Turns out, having an outline is enough to make me stop procrastinating and write.

When I was new to fitness, I was both scared and lacking self-confidence. So instead of saying “I’m going to get super fit and have abs,” which I didn’t believe I could do, I asked “what are the programs that people like me have success with?” By reading online success stories, I was able to convince myself that it actually is possible to get fit. That I wasn’t an exception to the rules of human biology. With that knowledge, I focused on starting smaller, being consistent while slowly scaling up, and staying motivated over the long haul (and finding ways to do that).

Instead of saying that your problem is a result of who you are, know that it’s a result of what you do. Suddenly it becomes much easier to change. Understand your labels and the problems almost solve themselves.

More by this author

4 Ways to Feel Stupidly Confident at the Gym Six Reasons you Don’t Work out (That Aren’t Your Fault) This Word Makes it Impossible to Stop Being Lazy 5 Surprising Ways to Stop Gasping for Fitness Motivation

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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