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Last Updated on February 16, 2021

Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated

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Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated

Most of us are lazy, at least some of the time. It’s only natural.

Being lazy just means you want to expend as little effort as possible—and who in their right mind would want to spend extra time or energy where it’s not warranted?

Of course, being lazy is also problematic. If you’re feeling lazy and unmotivated, you won’t take proactive action on achieving your goals, and you may struggle in both your personal and professional life.

Fortunately, several strategies can help you defeat this darker side of your mind.

If you want to stop being lazy, it’s going to take a concentrated effort on your part. But don’t worry—once a few of these tactics kick in, you’ll find it much easier to sustain your momentum.

1. Learn to Accept Your Own Laziness

For the most part, this article is designed to help you fight back against laziness as if it’s a dastardly villain intentionally trying to sabotage your success. However, this can be counterproductive. If you hate the idea of being lazy, chances are you’ll end up resenting yourself.

This leads to a cycle of negative self-talk, which is scientifically demonstrated to have a negative effect on mood, increasing stress.[1] Low mood and high stress lead to even lower productivity, which leads to low self-esteem, and the cycle continues.

The way to break out of this is to learn to accept your own laziness. It’s okay to feel lazy. It’s natural to feel lazy. You can work to address your laziness without feeling bad or guilty about it.

2. Understand Your Source of Laziness or Lack of Motivation

Next, take the time to understand the roots of your laziness and/or lack of motivation. This is one of the most challenging steps to take but also one of the most important.

To find out the source of your lack of motivation, you have to understand your own motivation style first. To do that, take the free assessment What’s Your Motivation Style? so you know what you can do to maximize the strengths of your motivation style. Take the assessment now!

If you can figure out what’s making you feel lazy and unmotivated, you can find a way to prevent or mitigate the effect.

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For example, do you always feel unmotivated at a certain time of day? Do feelings of laziness creep in when you don’t have work that challenges you?

Stress is a common source of a lack of motivation. Fifty-seven percent of high-stress employees feel unproductive, compared to 10 percent of low-stress employees.[2]

Pay attention to your environment, the time of day, the people around you, and the type of work you’re doing. Chances are, there’s a pattern.

3. Break Your Personal Cycles

In many cases, laziness is a byproduct of habit, either directly or indirectly—and this is especially true if you find yourself feeling lazy around the same time of day or in the same circumstances.

Accordingly, you can reduce your feelings of laziness by simply breaking your habits and cycles. This is especially important if you work from home or if you’re stuck in the same office every day.

Consider working in a new environment, giving yourself different working hours, or even dressing differently. Any major change can have a positive effect on you.

4. Set More Reasonable Goals

Sometimes, people are lazy because the goals they’ve set for themselves are too intimidating.

For example, let’s say it’s a hot day and you’ve set a goal to run outside for 10 miles. That’s a tall order even for an accomplished runner. So naturally, you’ll procrastinate and dread beginning the exercise.

But what if you reduced your goal to a 2-mile run? It would be much easier to summon the motivation to go, and 2 miles is certainly better than 0 miles.

Use SMART goal criteria to set appropriate goals for yourself, and don’t be afraid to lower the intensity of your goals if you’re feeling unmotivated.

5. Accomplish Something Small

Feeling accomplished is a tremendous motivator. If you can accomplish something and feel good about it, that positive energy will continue onto your next endeavor—even if it’s something you dread doing.

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You can optimize your workload or even your day for this. Choose a small, easily accomplishable task at the beginning of your day to begin your momentum. One of my favorite productivity tips is if something takes less than 2 minutes, do it right now.

The 5-second rule is similar.[3] If you have an impulse to do something productive, you have 5 seconds to act on that impulse. Take advantage of those fleeting feelings of productivity and don’t hesitate to act on them!

If you find yourself stuck in the middle of the day, find something to do that will make you feel good—even if it means deviating from your usual plan.

6. Use the Pomodoro Technique to Quarantine Your Laziness

The Pomodoro Technique is a well-known time management strategy meant to help people remain productive. The main idea is to break your work down into focused work and small breaks; the original idea was to work for 25 minutes, then break for 3 to 5 minutes, and take a longer break after 4 cycles.

However, you can use whichever timing methods work best for you. Use this method to effectively “quarantine” your laziness. Allow yourself to be perfectly lazy during the short breaks, then be ready to resume focus when the timer ends.

7. Recognize and Shut Down Your Escape Routes

Most forms of laziness are contingent upon an “escape route.” It’s easy to be lazy if you’re tempted by the endless scrolling content of your favorite social media platform or if you only have one more episode in a season of your favorite TV show.

Learn to recognize these escape routes, and do what you can to shut them down. For example, can you turn off notifications on your mobile device? Can you work in a different room than the TV? Can you temporarily disable internet access?

Need more tips? Join the free Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination. You will learn a practical method to stop procrastinating and start getting things done. Join this 30-minute free session now!

8. Make the Most of Your Laziness

It’s perfectly fine, and even good, to be lazy sometimes. When you decide to be lazy and decompress from work, make the most of it.

For example, you can take a few vacation days if you find yourself completely unmotivated to work, and during those days, you can absolve yourself of all responsibilities. Breaks and vacations are shown to have a net positive effect on productivity and wellbeing.

For example, frequent travelers tend to have a 68.4 score on the Gallup-Heathway Well-Being Index, a measure of health and wellness, while infrequent travelers only score a 51.4.[4]

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9. Minimize Your Sense of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is an enemy of productivity, and it has the power to make you feel less motivated and lazier. More than that, scientific studies have shown that perfectionism is bad for your health. People with high perfectionism scores have a 51 percent increased risk of death.[5]

Fight back by reducing your compulsion toward perfectionism. Understand and accept that all work is flawed and so are you, and that’s completely okay.

10. Set a Reward for Yourself

Most of us find ourselves much more motivated when there’s a reward at the end of a daunting journey. The next time you find yourself feeling lazy or unmotivated in the face of a tough task, plan to give yourself a reward.

For example, you can treat yourself to a snack, splurge on a new product, or just take an extended break.

11. Get a Partner

It’s way easier to be motivated when you have someone by your side. Not only will they help you tackle the project directly, but they’ll also be a source of positive energy—and possibly, some inspirational words.

Depending on what you’re trying to do, finding a partner may be difficult. If you can’t find someone to help you do the work directly, consider calling a friend or family member to talk through your issue and provide support.

Sometimes, the kind words of someone you care about are enough to motivate you to take action.

12. Surround Yourself With Motivated People

Attitudes and energy tend to be contagious. If you’re surrounded by lazy people who frequently complain and generally have a pessimistic outlook, it’s going to be impossible not to share the same negative feelings.

Conversely, if you’re surrounded by peppy, optimistic, highly motivated people, you’ll feel more motivated yourself. Seek these people out however you can by selectively hiring them, engaging with them in a group, or even passively consuming the content they create.

13. Set Awareness Alarms

If you’re like most people, you at least occasionally find yourself in a lazy rut, not because of a conscious decision but because of an unconscious default.

For example, you might check Twitter impulsively, scrolling past 100 tweets before even realizing the phone is in your hand, or you might simply stare off into space.

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You can combat this by setting “awareness alarms.” These alarms go off at periodic intervals, at times of your choosing, but preferably erratic. When they go off, take a moment to think about what you’re doing.

Is this productive? What should you be doing instead?

14. Gamify Your Most Tedious Tasks

More than 50 percent of organizations managing innovation processes are gamifying at least some of their work.[6] With some caveats, gamification is shown to make people more motivated and engaged.

Generally, people like games, so turning your most tedious tasks into a game can make you feel much more motivated to accomplish them.

For example, doing the dishes isn’t fun, but what if you create a scoring system that rewards you for cleaning them as quickly as possible? What if you invent unique challenges for yourself while tackling a tedious assignment?

15. Channel Your Laziness Into Something Productive

Believe it or not, being lazy can actually help you be more productive.

How? By encouraging you to find low-effort solutions that still solve your problems.

Remember, productivity isn’t about how much effort you expend, but about how much you can get done. Laziness could encourage you to develop an algorithm or buy an app that automates a task that takes too much of your time. Ultimately, this allows you to achieve more in less time while demanding less effort.

The same is true for hiring additional staff or delegating tasks to people who can handle them more efficiently.

Conclusion

“I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because he will find an easy way to do it.” — Bill Gates

It’s completely reasonable to feel lazy some or even most of the time. And even the most productive among us are challenged by our inner laziness.

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However, your laziness and lack of motivation do not have to hold you back from getting the results or achieving the goals you want. Find a strategy or combination of strategies that work for you, and stick to them.

More Tips to Overcome Laziness

Featured photo credit: Katie Barrett via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jayson DeMers

Entrepreneur and Productivity Expert

How to Use Time Blocking for Productivity: 19 Practical Ways 13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated How to Be Committed to Your Goals Even During Hard Times How to Become Smarter: 21 Things You Can Do Daily

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Last Updated on January 19, 2022

What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Fear-Based Motivation And Does It Work?

If you’ve ever thought or said something like this, then you are using fear-based motivation:

  • “If I don’t get that promotion, I’m going to be seen as a failure so I better stay up all night to work on this proposal.”
  • “If I speak up for school reform, the internet trolls are going to get me, so I better be quiet even though I care a lot about this issue.”
  • “If I don’t exercise enough, I’m going to look like crap, so I better go to the gym six days a week, even if my body is killing me.”

Fear-based motivation is exactly what it sounds like—getting yourself and others to do things out of fear of what will happen if you don’t do it and do it well.

What you might not know is that while fear-based motivation might work in the short term, it can have long-term detrimental effects on your performance, relationships, and well-being.

Is Fear-Based Motivation Helpful?

If using fear as motivation comes naturally for you, you aren’t alone. Our brains use fear to keep us out of trouble. Normally, you want to move away from what feels harmful towards what feels safe.

This brain function is important when there is a genuine threat to your well-being, like if there is a rattlesnake on the hiking trail. Your brain will use fear to motivate you to move away from the snake as quickly as possible. But when you use fear-based motivation to accomplish your life and career goals, the constant state of fear puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body and can end up working against you.

The Darkside of Fear-Based Motivation

Take, for example, when your trainer at your gym motivates you during your workout by yelling things like, “Bikini season is coming! You don’t want your cellulite to be the star of the show!” or “Burn off that piece of birthday cake you ate last night!”

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Sure, you might be motivated to do ten more burpees, but what is going on in the back of your mind? You probably have an image of a group of people standing around you at the beach laughing at you in your bikini, or you feel guilty about eating that piece of cake and criticize yourself for not being able to control yourself.

Reliance on Negative Thinking

For most of us, this type of thinking causes stress and can bring down our energy levels and mood. The reliance on negative thinking is the problem with fear-based motivation. It forces us to put our attention on what is wrong or what could go wrong instead of anticipating and celebrating what is right. This, in turn, narrows our focus and prevents us from seeing the bigger picture.

When your brain senses a threat, whether it’s a rattlesnake hiding in the grass or the possibility of being laughed at in your bikini, your brain will move you into a protective stance. Your vision narrows and you prepare to fight, flee or freeze.

You can probably imagine what this looks like in the case of a rattlesnake, but how does this impact your bikini experience?

The High Cost of Fear-Based Motivation

Imagine that you plan a beach vacation with your friends three months from now. The first thing you picture is sitting on the beach with your tummy rolls and cellulite. You immediately sign up for three months of boot camp classes at the gym and banish all sugar and booze from your diet. You are determined not to make a fool of yourself on the beach!

Will the fear of not looking like a supermodel under the beach umbrella motivate you to get in shape and eat better? Possibly. But at what cost?

For three months, every time you picture yourself looking “less than perfect” in your bikini, you feel fear of being ashamed. Shame makes you want to hide, and that makes it harder to find the motivation to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch eating ice cream.

You become so focused on how you are going to look on the beach that you lose out on all the fun and joy of life. You pass up on going shopping with your friends for new outfits because you aren’t at your goal weight yet. You stop doing the things you love to do to spend more time at the gym. You avoid family gatherings where you will be confronted with tempting food. You over-train to the point of hurting yourself.

The Healthier Alternative to Fear-Based Motivation

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in your bikini! If that’s important to you, keep your goal in mind but change the way you motivate yourself. Instead of using the fear of feeling ashamed to motivate you, try using love-based motivation.

Love-based motivation uses love instead of fear to lead and inspire you. It comes from a different part of your brain than fear-based motivation. Love-based motivation comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for joy, creativity, and passion.

5 Questions of Love-Based Motivation

There are many ways to deploy love-based motivation. The trick is to use one or all of the following to motivate you towards your goal: empathy, curiosity, innovation, vision, and heart-centered action.

Here are five questions you can use to motivate yourself using love-based motivation.

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1. What Would You Say to a Friend?

Chances are that you talk to your friends in a much kinder way and with more empathy than you talk to yourself. You wouldn’t tell a friend, “you better starve yourself and hit the gym three times a day to look good in that bikini!” Instead, you would probably say something like, “I’m so excited to go on this vacation with you! I can’t wait to spend time catching up while sipping margaritas on the beach.”

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your friend.

2. What Are You Curious About Learning That Might Help You Get to Your Goal?

More often than not, achieving our goals is more about the journey it took us to get there than the goal itself. Curiosity makes journeys more fun. Perhaps you are curious about doing a triathlon but you don’t know how to run. If you spend three months learning to run, you would get into better shape and learn something new.

3. How Can You Get to Your Goal in a Way That Feels Good?

Using the “Yes, And” game is a great way to come up with innovative ideas for working towards your goals. If your first instinct is to go to the gym six days a week but you aren’t jazzed about it, find something that you like about that idea and make it better.

For example, if what you like about going to the gym is that you work up a sweat, what if instead of the gym, you join a dance class where you can learn some new moves to show off on your vacation?

4. What Is Important to You About Your Goal?

When you dig into your goal, chances are that you’ll find a deeper meaning. If your goal is to “look good in a bikini,” ask yourself why that’s important to you.

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For example, “I want to look good in my bikini because I want to have fun on vacation.” Then, ask yourself how much having fun on your vacation depends on how you look in your swimsuit.

5. What Heart-Centered Action Can You Take That Will Help You Reach Your Goal?

Whether your goal remains bikini-focused or changes to ways of having a good time on your vacation, choose an action that you can take that feels like it is coming from a place of love instead of fear.

For example, suggest to your friends that you take scuba diving classes as a group before vacation. It will get you moving and bring your friends together.

Long-Term Happiness and Satisfaction

Fear-based motivation may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but it won’t lead to long-term happiness and satisfaction. Fear isn’t designed to be used for long periods, and you will eventually tire of the fear and give up on your goals. Love, however, is designed for longevity.

Finding your motivation in a place of love will fuel you to reach your goals, whether your goals are about feeling good in a bikini, getting a promotion at work, or speaking up for what you believe in.

More Tips on Boosting Motivation

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Perkins via unsplash.com

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