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Last Updated on February 16, 2021

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

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.

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

Why Am I Lazy? 15 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated How to Be Committed to Your Goals Even During Hard Times 13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals How to Stay on Task And Be Laser Focused How to Use Time Blocking for Productivity (A Complete Guide)

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Last Updated on April 9, 2021

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is learning how to stay motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task at hand serves a greater goal.

It’s impossible to expect your motivation levels to remain at 100% all the time, but there are things you can do to maximize your stores of motivation and push forward. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips for staying motivated.

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first, but if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it, it’s time to find your good reasons.

For each goal you set, there needs to be a reason behind it. If you don’t nail down your “why” when you begin, your motivation will soon falter, leaving you miles from achieving your goal. This isn’t the way to learn how to become motivated.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

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  • Rewards: This may come in the form of money (a salary or a raise, for example) or some kind of award.
  • Personal Gain: You will learn something new or improve yourself in a certain way.
  • Accomplishment: Achieving a feeling of accomplishment and recognition for achieving a goal can be a huge motivating factor.
  • A Step Closer to Bigger Goals: Even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to increasing motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, and others will love it[1].

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and enjoyable when we begin to lose motivation.

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some, yet others love being in that environment. For those that hate going to the gym, finding a team sport in their community may serve them best.

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and others?
  • How can I make this task the best part of my day?

Expecting a task to be enjoyable is one way to learn how to stay motivated. Most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, so looking for ways to have fun while working is a great habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach and Don’t Give up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach if you want to learn how to get motivation.

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You may be doing everything correctly and efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach that will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common—if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one that will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

If you can’t find the right approach, you may need to go back to motivation basics to find your motivation style. Check out Lifehack’s Free Assessment: What’s Your Motivation Style?

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most big or long-term goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities, but to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it. Tracking is merely taking note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at the bigger picture and realize where exactly you are and how much more you have left to do.

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For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until everything is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive progress made. This is how to keep yourself motivated in the long-term.

5. Reward Yourself

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on a particular task? Hate the whole idea of working?

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables that will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way. This creates external motivators to help you feel motivated in the long run.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to dessert.

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For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to see a movie, taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

The more you reward yourself for making progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques, and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right away. Mix different approaches, and match them to your task for the best results.

Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel better, and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Learning how to stay motivated is as simple as finding what works for you. If you need a reward, schedule one. If you just need to find your “why”, take time for introspection. Do what you need to do and start tackling those goals.

More on How to Become Motivated

Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Positivity Blog: How to Get the Boring Tasks Done

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