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How to Overcome Laziness in 5 Simple Steps (With Examples!)


It’s natural to want to be lazy. As humans, we are drawn to the path with the least amount of resistance because it’s more comfortable and it doesn’t require growth. But in all reality, have you ever felt great after binge-watching endless amounts of Netflix for days on end or by avoiding all of life’s responsibilities?

While rest is an essential component of overall well-being, resting beyond what is necessary tends to lead to despair and doesn’t get us any closer to our goals. Mastering your actions and behavior in spite of a desire to be lazy is absolutely critical for helping you be the best version of yourself.

So if you’re ready to learn how to get back into the action-packed adventure of your life, then this is the article for you. Let’s dive in to learn how you can start overcoming your laziness with realistic and tangible steps.

Why are we lazy?

Maybe you have your own individual excuses for why you’re being lazy. I know I definitely have my usual excuses and they sound something like, “I had a hard day at work” or “I didn’t get enough sleep last night”.

Our excuses may be valid in some cases, but more often than not, we’re just taking the easy way out. And as it turns out, we are literally biologically hardwired to be this way to some extent.

A study in 2018 used EEG to look at our brain activity when it comes to choosing sedentary behavior over active behavior. What they discovered was that it takes substantially more energy for us to pick the active behavior over the sedentary behavior.

But just because it takes more energy to choose the “not lazy” option, that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome the activation energy it takes to choose the more productive option and find ways to make it take less energy.

What happens when you start being productive

For many years, psychologists have proposed that by being productive you can find self-fulfillment and happiness. If I’m being honest, I used to think this was total baloney.

When I was growing up, it was the “lazy days” that I looked forward to the most, so I didn’t understand how productivity was at the root of happiness. But what I realized since is that the reason I looked forward to the lazy days was because I was being productive, so the lazy days felt special.

When I have periods where I sit on the couch too much or just drift through life without striving to be better, that’s when discontent seems to kick in. It seems to me that the balance of rest and productivity is what really helps us find a sense of purpose and joy in life.

And research indicates that if we want to fight off depression and maintain mental well-being throughout our life span, it’s important to find ways to contribute to the world around you instead of giving in to the allure of laziness and inaction.

5 ways to overcome laziness

It’s time to turn off the television and stop the endless scrolling on your phone. Let’s get to work on what really matters with these 5 tips for overcoming your laziness.

1. Change your schedule

Sometimes your schedule is working against you when it comes to helping you be productive. This is where knowing thyself is pretty essential.

I personally know that I am a morning person. I feel like I can conquer the world between the hours of 5 am and 12 pm. Knowing this, I try to optimize my schedule and get the most important tasks done in my day first thing in the morning.

If you try to get me to do a big project or task in the evening, odds are I will find every excuse not to do it or be more inclined to turn on the second season of Bridgerton. I know this about myself, so I don’t pretend that I’m going to get things done in the evening when I know I just won’t.

Maybe you’re a night owl. Or maybe you’re the type of person who thrives mid-afternoon. Whatever the case may be, it’s to your benefit to make your schedule work in your favor in such a way that makes being productive that much easier for you.  

2. Pick a new goal

I have found throughout life that sometimes when I am being lazy in pursuit of a goal or desire, it’s actually because I don’t really care that much about that goal or challenge. The solution to this is easy. Pick a new goal.

I remember I had a goal to lift 225lbs on my back squat about 3 years ago. But I found that during all of my workouts I wasn’t prioritizing squats and found every excuse to not go heavy on my squats.

When I took a step back to analyze why I was being lazy in pursuit of this goal, I came to the realization that I picked that goal because all of my friends were focusing on improving their weight on the back squat. At the end of the day, I didn’t give two hoots about whether I could squat that heavy. As long as I can squat a reasonable amount to maintain functional strength, I’m happy.

So I ditched that goal and started to work towards improving my pull-ups, which I was motivated to do because of my love of rock climbing. Essentially, it wasn’t so much that I needed to overcome my laziness as it was that I needed to pick a goal that really got me jazzed.

3. Prioritize your health

Another barrier to overcoming laziness can be not prioritizing our health.

Do you remember the last time you slept like trash, forgot to eat, and didn’t drink any water that day? I can. And I can tell you on days like that I feel 0% motivated to do much of anything.

If you are not taking care of your overall physical well-being with the basic building blocks of health, then you physiologically do not feel like you have the energy to be productive or chase your goals.

I know that I tend to skimp on sleep when life gets overwhelming and this almost always gets the best of me because I’m a person who needs a lot of sleep. And by not prioritizing my sleep, I feel more overwhelmed, which then leads me to take less action and give in to laziness without batting an eye.

The simple things like making sure you are well-fed, well-rested, and well-hydrated can go such a long way when it comes to improving your motivation and helping you kick laziness to the curb.

4. Manage your stress levels

I bet you’ve never heard those two words before. In today’s society, I think it’s considered normal to operate with some baseline level of high stress. And maybe that’s half the problem.

But when you are super stressed, it gets easier to push things to the side and give in to anything you think may give you a dopamine hit. It’s a lot easier for me to want to skip a workout and go straight into couch potato mode after a hard day at work compared to a day where things went smoothly.

If you’re finding yourself unmotivated to work towards goals that are meaningful to you, then you may want to make sure that you’re not letting the stressors of your life take control of the steering wheel.

Once you get your stress levels in check, you are gifting yourself more energy and headspace to pursue your goals along with more willpower to fight off all those sloth-like temptations.

5. Understand your triggers

This one is a biggie. We all have triggers that tend to make us choose less than ideal behavior that can lead to laziness.

Seeing an open bag of potato chips, the remote openly laying out on the coffee table, or immediately scrolling Instagram in the morning are a few of my big triggers. I know when I see these things I am going to be inclined to be lazy and give in to the pleasure that these activities offer me.

I have come up with systems to essentially make it more difficult to get triggered by putting those things out of sight and out of mind. But it doesn’t always work. And that’s okay- I am human, too.

However, knowing these triggers makes it easier for me to set myself up for success when it comes to the laziness battle. When I come home from work, I make it a point to go straight to my room and put on workout clothes instead of stopping and sitting on the couch to talk to my husband about my day.

By going directly into my room, I am taking action to avoid triggers that could convince me that the lazy behavior is the way to go that evening.

It may sound simple, but the more you know your triggers, the easier it will be to ditch lazy behaviors.

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Wrapping up

The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars is great, but please don’t make it the theme song of your life. Making a genuine effort to overcome laziness by using the tips from this article is how you will find lasting happiness and achieve your personal aspirations. And by being productive, you just might find that you enjoy those rare sloth days that much more!

Are you struggling with feeling lazy all the time? Or do you have a specific tip that has helped you overcome laziness? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Ashley Kaiser

Writer

Physical therapist, writer, and outdoor enthusiast from Arizona. Self-proclaimed dark chocolate addict and full-time adrenaline junkie. Obsessed with my dog and depending on the day my husband, too.

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