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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.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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