If you are struggling with a lack of motivation and constantly putting off tasks, you are not alone. Many people pass through periods of low motivation and laziness, which isn’t something surprising in today’s world full of distractions and overstimulation. While it does take some effort, the natural tendency to slack off can be overcome. So how do you stop being lazy and start achieving your goals?
What stops you from doing what you want to do?
First, you must understand what prevents you from being productive. Some of the possible reasons include the following:
- fear of failure
- fear of success
- low self-esteem
- lack of interest in the task
- feeling overwhelmed
- being distracted
- believing that you lack sufficient skills for the job
- believing that you have to work every waking hour without breaks or with very few breaks
- all-or-nothing thinking
Try to reflect on your thoughts and behaviors and ask yourself the following questions:
Do I need to believe I will be 100% successful before I even begin?
Am I concerned about the implications of success, such as having more responsibility, not fitting with my current social circle anymore, having to choose between success and my personal life, or having to compete with other people?
Do I secretly believe I don’t have what it takes to reach my goals?
Could depression be affecting my motivation levels?
Does my anxiety inhibit my ability to focus on work or studies?
Do I get unpleasant physical symptoms just thinking about work?
Do I feel wiped out and need a break?
Am I genuinely interested in the task at hand?
Do I feel overwhelmed by the task?
Am I easily distracted by other things, such as social media or entertainment?
Do I possess the necessary skills for the task?
Do I have an all-or-nothing mindset, making it difficult to take action?
Does my perfectionism cause me to procrastinate and avoid tasks until I can do them perfectly?
Do I have any health issues or nutritional deficiencies that may cause me to feel tired and lazy?
It could be one or a combination of several issues above. Knowing precisely what stops you allows you to address the cause behind your procrastination and laziness.
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Now that you identified the core problem, you can come up with a solution. For example,
If you need to be certain about your success before you even begin, you must realize that setbacks and failures are a natural part of your journey to success. Sometimes there can be no success without failing first. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from pursuing your goals!
If, on the other hand, you fear success and its implications, such as having more responsibilities and expectations, consider the potential upside of success and focus on that.
If you don’t believe you have what it takes to do the job, work on your self-esteem and build confidence. Learn to challenge your negative self-talk, focus on your achievements, and practice self-care.
Depression and anxiety issues need to be discussed with a mental health professional. In addition to professional advice from your doctor, you can practice stress-reducing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing and physical exercise, to help manage your symptoms and improve focus.
The same goes for any physical health issues and nutritional deficiencies – they must be discussed with your doctor. A common problem, such as iron deficiency, can make you feel wiped out. Do not take any supplements without talking to your doctor first.
If you are suffering from job burnout, consider taking a break. When you allow yourself to rest properly, you become more productive and might accomplish more, not less.
If you aren’t interested in the task, try to find ways to make it more interesting, or if it’s about your career, ask yourself if you want to continue working in this field. Perhaps, a career change is a right answer for you.
When a task seems too overwhelming, breaking it down into manageable steps can be very helpful. Break it into small steps and focus on one step at a time.
When it comes to distractions, turning off your phone and setting aside specific times for social media and entertainment can work. It does take some willpower, though.
If you think you lack the necessary skills for the job, assess your skills and identify what exactly is missing. Read, take classes, and do what you need to do to close the gap. Other people learned these things before you, and you can do it too.
If perfectionism or all-or-nothing thinking prevents you from getting busy, realize that you will achieve more if you take small steps and allow yourself to make small mistakes and learn from them. Practice being more flexible and focus on progress rather than perfection.
Setting yourself up for success
Now that you have found the cause of your “laziness” and addressed it, it’s time to start building your motivation and taking action toward your goals.
Set up realistic goals
While it’s completely normal to have high hopes and expectations, if you are unrealistic about your goals, you may be setting yourself up for frustration instead of success. The best way to go about it is to make your goals specific, measurable, and achievable in not too distant future. You can always set more targets later, but for now, focus on what you definitely can achieve within a short time frame.
Establish a routine that supports your goals
This is similar to having a schedule, yet a little different. A routine is what you do habitually, every day. Your best bet is to establish a routine that supports your goals, so you can follow your daily schedule without even having to think about it.
For example, if your goal is to become more flexible, establish a routine where you do stretches and flexibility exercises daily at the same time. If you want to learn to program, you could establish a routine where you dedicate 30 minutes or an hour of your time to programming right after your first cup of coffee in the morning.
Following a routine helps you stay on track and build momentum. Even if you dedicate very little time to your goals, working on them daily will eventually bring great results.
Break down tasks into smaller steps
Work can become overwhelming very quickly, which can be demotivating for some people. However, if you break down your large tasks into smaller, manageable steps and incorporate them into your routine, you are more likely to achieve your goals without feeling overwhelmed or burned out.
Hold yourself accountable
Most people perform well at work because their bosses and supervisors hold them accountable, but things are different when it comes to our personal goals or building our own businesses. If possible, find someone to hold you accountable for your progress. It could be a family member or a friend, or you could consider hiring a coach.
A lot of times, what we experience is burnout, not laziness. It is important to take one step at a time, taking the time to rest, recharge, and take care of your physical and mental health. This will help you stay on course without losing your motivation.
Implementing the above strategies can help you stop being lazy and develop motivation to achieve your goals. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your small victories along the way!