“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.
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?
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.
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?
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.