How to Stop Being Lazy: 15 Proven Tips For Motivation
Have you ever said something like:
“I need to stop being lazy,” or “I want to do XYZ, but I am lazy and have no motivation,”?
Well, you’re about to read something that can change your life:
You’re not lazy. Laziness doesn’t exist. There’s something different from “laziness” holding you back.
And by the way, be mindful of your language. The way you talk to and about yourself determines your success in life.
Your brain is so impressive that if you keep telling yourself you’re lazy and unmotivated, it’s going to make you do everything it takes so you know you’re right.
In this post, you’ll find insights to help you define exactly why you’re not taking action and understand what’s happening beyond the surface, plus actionable advice to help you get rid of that laziness and finally start doing the things you want to do.
Failing to identify what’s preventing you from taking action makes you:
- and define yourself as a lazy and unmotivated person, which
- destroys your confidence, paralyzes you, and sends you back to the beginning of that cycle.
If you want to feel better about yourself, if you want to stop feeling lost and stuck, you need to take action.
Because even though luck can play a role (being born in a free country is a strike of luck, for example), it’s not all; you also have to take calculated action day after day.
No career is interesting 100% of the time: You need to do mundane things that are boring from time to time in order to get to do those exciting and fun things you dream of doing.
But what happens when you just don’t feel like doing it? What happens if you’re “lazy”?
Beware: This post includes an astonishing amount of quotes.
What Is Laziness Anyway?
According to Jon Michael Jachimowicz, “what we call laziness is actually a blanket term for a wide range of behaviors that have different roots and origins.”
When you feel “lazy and unmotivated,” deep down, you might be:
- and/or, most of the time afraid.
In reality, laziness is the “easy” term we use to describe one of these emotions or a combination of them.
If you can’t get yourself to do anything and you describe yourself as lazy, maybe you haven’t realized you’re just scared of something related to the task.
You’re scared to start because you don’t feel capable of doing it, you don’t see yourself doing it, or you think you’re not smart, talented, or disciplined enough.
Maybe you’re scared because someone once told you you could never do XYZ and you believed them.
Or maybe you’re scared because you’ve left so many things half-done in the past. You’re scared it’ll happen again and you’ll end up disappointed. Again.
What you call “laziness” is probably just fear of:
- being ridiculed,
You could also be suffering from analysis paralysis, that annoying situation in which we overthink so much we’re unable to move.
Analysis paralysis “describes an individual or group process when overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become ‘paralyzed’, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon.”
The first thing you have to do before overcoming “laziness” is understanding the root of it.
Before jumping into judgments, explore your behaviour with curiosity.
According to Devon Price, “it’s really helpful to respond to a person’s ineffective behavior with curiosity rather than judgment.“
Ask yourself if any of these reasons listed above resonate with you and your current situation.
Laziness doesn’t exist. Procrastination does. Fear does.
Only if you understand the real reason why you’re not getting things done, you can fight it and take action.
It’s not going to be easy at all, but yes, you can do it.
Want to stop being lazy? Keep reading.
15 Tips to Stop Being Lazy And Motivate Yourself
A.K.A.: How To Stop Being Scared And Start Taking Action
There are no one-fits-all solutions, but I’m sure you’ll find here something that resonates with you!
1. Stop defining yourself as a lazy person
Monitor your self-talk and get to the root of what’s really happening.
Every time you’re about to say or write something like “I’m lazy” or “I don’t feel like doing anything”, think again. Don’t say it.
This won’t be easy at first, but you’ll get better at it with time.
And if someone else tells you you’re lazy, you now know laziness doesn’t exist, so don’t listen to them.
Instead of defining yourself as a lazy person, try to get to the root of what’s really preventing you from taking action.
Something that can help you know and understand yourself better is self-discovery journaling.
Which means using prompts that spark thoughts and write them down to get to the bottom of the issue.
2. Focus on the real problem
Once you’ve gotten to the root of it, focus on solving the real problem instead of jumping to do the thing you want to do.
If you’re feeling:
- scared, pinpoint the exact reason why you’re scared, write it down, find the reason why you want to overcome that fear and come back to it constantly;
- depressed, seek professional help and talk it out;
- overwhelmed, simplify your tasks, break your big goals into small steps, ask for help if you need to. You can also check this helpful guide on how to beat overwhelm;
- tired, rest for a day or two because everybody needs some downtime every once in a while;
- confused, it’s maybe because you don’t know how or where to start. Write down your goal and brainstorm all the possible steps you’ll need to take to get there. Then, select the easiest ones and start there;
- uninspired, watch a motivational TED Talk, read about how people you admire got to be where they are now, play music that helps you concentrate, write down your goal and place it somewhere you can see it, or create a vision board if that’s your thing!
3. Remember that everybody starts somewhere
Sometimes we feel lazy and unmotivated because the task at hand seems so huge it’s overwhelming.
To get past this, set achievable goals and break them down into bite-size steps.
Star slow and build momentum.
Take it one step at a time and never forget that absolutely everybody starts somewhere seemingly small that, over time, becomes something to feel proud of.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ―Dale Carnegie
4. Whatever your goal is, remind yourself why it matters to you
Sometimes we don’t do things because we don’t see the point in doing them.
Deep down, we think they’re a waste of time.
Something that’s changed my life in the last year is writing down my goals along with the reason why I want to achieve them.
Writing my goals alone is now a thing of the past because, believe it or not, we tend to forget why we want something.
Especially if getting there turns into an uphill battle.
Think of the benefits of achieving that goal as well.
If you want to declutter and organize your home, for example, you may feel lazy or unmotivated to do it.
But if you think of the benefits, like living in a clean house that keeps your mental health intact, you’ll feel ready to tackle it step by step.
Create a list of the desires, benefits, and motivations you want to move towards. And keep that list somewhere visible.
5. Take care of your space
Organizing your life can improve your levels of motivation.
Declutter and organize your desk, your room, and your office.
However, keep in mind that decluttering and cleaning are not excuses for procrastinating.
I know many people who just keep cleaning their house forever and never get down to work.
Don’t do that.
But if your space is cluttered, it won’t let you focus on your thing.
6. Design a plan and just do it
Don’t forget that undisciplined talent gets few people anywhere.
Break your biggest goals into small, actionable steps and then break those into bite-size actions.
If you want to write a book, use Mel Robbin’s 5-second rule and write a sentence.
No matter how ridiculous it sounds.
That doesn’t mean you’re working like that forever.
You’ll see that writing at least one sentence a day for a short period of time helps you build momentum. Sooner than later, you’ll find yourself writing a whole page in a day.
Also, no matter how distant your deadline is; don’t procrastinate. Break that goal into smaller steps and set early deadlines for those mini-goals.
“There are only two rules for being successful. One, figure out exactly what you want to do, and two, do it.” – Mario Cuomo
7. Get inspired
Read stories of people who never give up.
Make a list of people you admire and read their memoirs or watch a documentary about them.
Or make a playlist of motivational talks and speeches.
For some people, music works as well. Try with different genres and see what puts you in the right mood to focus.
8. Plan your days and weeks
If you want to get things done and to-do lists don’t do it for you, open Google Calendar or Notion and schedule the task.
Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, says: “Assigning work to times reduces the urge to procrastinate. You are no longer deciding whether or not to work during a given period; the decision is already made.“
Scheduling a task is like making a promise to your future self, and trust me; you don’t want to break that promise.
Breaking promises you’ve made to your future self on a regular basis destroys your self-confidence like nothing else on Earth.
Your life plan doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s not set in stone.
But in case you’re not able to do something you scheduled, make sure it’s not because you’re procrastinating on it.
9. Remember that done is better than perfect
Sometimes we avoid doing something because we know/feel we’re not capable of doing it like we want to.
Our standards regarding a task or a goal are too high if we consider our skills, knowledge, and abilities.
But guess what? If you never start, you’ll never practice.
Which means you’ll never have the knowledge and experience to produce amazing work.
Progress is much more important than perfection.
“Well done is better than well said.” ―Benjamin Franklin
10. Set fewer priorities
Do very few things, but do them well.
Instead of trying to bite more than you can chew, pick 1-3 priorities for each day and focus on those.
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall
11. Ask for help
Wanting to do something difficult ourselves is sometimes an act of bravery. Other times it’s not.
I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I’m still trying to work on it.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of tasks you need to take care of, think of people who can offer a helping hand.
They don’t have to do the work for you!
They can also lighten the burden by doing mundane tasks for you while you take care of the rest.
12. Make the activity more enjoyable for you
Whatever you’re doing, always try to make the experience more enjoyable.
I love to write, but you know what I love more than that? Writing while listening to a good Above & Beyond mix.
Writing isn’t easy.
Sometimes you feel like you have nothing to say. Other times you feel that what you’re writing sucks big time.
By coupling writing with something that puts me in the right mood, I manage to write whole posts like this one, even when I feel stuck or when I feel like I don’t want to do it 🙂
13. Dress the part
We all have bad days in which we don’t feel like doing anything.
It happens to the best of all.
One easy fix I’ve found for it when I know I’m not just tired or sad is to put on cute clothes and act as if I was going to an office.
And then sit at my kitchen table and get to work.
14. Compliment yourself every step of the way
Never forget how far you’ve come.
Whether it’s realizing what’s holding you back, defining your goal and writing it down, creating a plan or taking real action, you’ve made progress.
Take notes of it. You’ll soon start to know yourself better and build self-confidence.
And that’s how you stop being lazy.
15. Motivate yourself
Give yourself your own pep talks.
I do this all the time. And you should totally do it as well.
If there’s nobody around you to give you pep talks and tell you what you need to hear, do it yourself:
“Ok, I know you’re scared. I know it seems logical to feel scared right now. I know you want this to turn out perfect, but look, it’s better done than perfect. If you take this small step, you’ll feel so accomplished…”
Or something along those lines.
The Bottom Line
You’re not lazy.
As I’ve stated here, I believe laziness doesn’t exist.
You’re probably just scared to start or plain tired.
I’ve seen people who define themselves as lazy doing amazing things when it’s something they like or care about.
These tools and tips you read here may work differently for different kinds of people in different situations.
Try them all! Try each one of them separately or combine them until you find what works for you.
And keep in mind that:
“You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.” — Israelmore Ayivor