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The Lazy Person’s Guide to Gradual Self-Improvement

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Gradual Self-Improvement

Did you know laziness has roots in our survival instincts?

A long, long time ago, our ancestors didn’t have to think long term. They had to stay focused on the here and now, so they could react and survive in case they were attacked by enemies, animals and, well, nature.

Yet, in the modern age, when survival is not our top priority, this instinct prevents some of us to engage in projects that don’t offer immediate results.

The reason for a man being lazy, carved deep into the structures of our brain, is not the only one. Sometimes, people are lazy because they didn’t find their true path and they just don’t know what they would actually like to do.

In case you think of yourself as a lazy person, and you managed to go this far through the article, there might be good news for you. Let’s quickly go through some ideas for improvements that could help you stay consistent.

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Start Working Out

I know, you don’t have time, right? Well, let me tell you something. You do. You need 20 minutes, three times a week, to get some results. “But that’s not enough training time to reap the benefits”, you might think. Well, I don’t want to be rude, but how do you know? Did you try it?

As you can see, it is important to catch that little self-sabotaging part of your ego that says a big NO to any thought that considers taking action. Maybe you have your reasons why you don’t want to work out. Is it that you have to go all the way to the gym, workout, then come back home? Don’t worry, there are workouts you can do at home or outside, so you can get it over with quickly and get good results.

Why am I emphasizing workouts from the start? Because some psychologists say that the reason people are lazy is because there are no immediate results after taking action. Bear with me, it is a fact that exercise floods your blood with endorphins, hormones that create feelings of happiness and euphoria. You will have immediate results after your activity; you will be happy and high on endorphins. Go for it, you can do it!

Increase Confidence

Lack of confidence is often the underlying issue of laziness. Some people are simply born or nurtured to develop good confidence levels. Other have to put some effort into building their own.

It’s not complicated. Some of the handy things that are really helpful are already available, right this very moment. Think about all the things that you have accomplished so far. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small. They are still accomplishments.

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This can point out the fields you are good at. If you were trying to overpass your weaknesses, no wonder you had little success. Build on your strengths!

Sometimes it is best to make some goals that can be checked off a list, and boost your self-confidence that way. Start with something small, like go out with friends, read an article online or make cookies.

Stay Motivated and Focused

Don’t get fooled. Even people that are not lazy are having problems staying consistent for a long period of time.

The key lies in understanding passion and boredom. I’ve heard many times that people quit doing something or don’t even want to engage in something due to a lack of focus and motivation. They adopt the lazy mindset just because they think successful people with immaculate work ethics have incredible passion and willpower.

This might sound like news to you, but successful people sometimes feel boredom and a lack of motivation. Still, they somehow manage to go through it without going into lazy mode. What makes them different? They don’t let their emotions determine their actions and stray their course towards planned goals.

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You have to think. Gradually, you will become more introspective and you will be able to tell the exact moment when the emotional drop spills the cup, and all the focus and motivation fades to black. Use that moment to work on yourself. If you find it too difficult, you can always ask for professional help.

Spark your Creative Genius

Start by pronouncing yourself as someone creative. It might sound silly, but believing that you are a creative person will actually help you become one.

There are dozens of methods that can help you spark creativity without breaking a sweat. Write a list of “Must do things this week” or keep and Idea Book.

Becoming more creative is very important if you want to gradually self-improve. It provides a powerful incentive and the energy needed to follow up on your ideas.

Put on the wings of Social Butterfly

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If you start to mingle, you will meet new people with whom you will be able to share your thoughts, worries and ideas. Never underestimate the power of the feedback people give you. Keep your ears open and listen to every word.

Testing your plans and even asking others to help you with something that is bothering you is such a stress reliever. It is important to understand that you want to change your personality, and that takes time.

Hang out with motivated people in real life, let the enthusiasm, energy and motivation of others in. Everything you let into your mind will influence you. Try feeding your mind with positive and motivating things.

Look at all these ideas as a sort of “cheat sheet” on tricking yourself into achieving great things. The only obstacle that stands on your way is you.

This whole transformation is a process, and it is important to take small steps and take time to enjoy small victories. All the rewards that await you on this road will make sure that you get that great sense of achievement. In the end, Rome wasn’t built in a day – as long as you are consistent, even a bit of effort here and there can add up and help you make huge leaps within a few years.

More by this author

Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

1. Break Your Project Down

A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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2. Change Up Your Scenery

Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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3. Do an Unrelated Activity

When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

4. Be Physical

Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

5. Don’t Force It

It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

Reference

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