How to Combat Laziness So You Can Reach Your Goals
What to Do When Laziness Threatens To Unravel Recent Accomplishments
Laziness affects a lot of people. It certainly affects me and often gets in the way of things I’m trying to accomplish. I have a crippling laziness habit routed in the patterns of my brain, the neural pathways and what not. I am addicted to laziness. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is characterized by:
- Inability to consistently Abstain; (I want to be lazy every day)
- Impairment in Behavioral control; (I try not to be lazy but the urge takes over)
- Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences; (I put off doing things so I can lay on the couch and watch shows on Bravo)
- Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships; (There isn’t anything wrong with what I’m doing since I’m not hurting anybody, right?)
- A dysfunctional Emotional response. (I don’t want to think anymore! I just want everything to be easy!)
But it’s not just classic laziness. There’s also a healthy dose of procrastination, wishy-washiness and general apathy. I know how to work hard, but I just don’t want to. Take this blog. I’ve been doing pretty good on posting regularly and I am also doing my research on how to boost traffic and build followers. But for the past week, I’ve felt simply paralyzed to take the next step. I have three good posts in draft form that I can’t bring myself to finish. And I’m getting great feedback from everyone who checks out my blog. So how do I get out of my rut?
Step #1: Assessment
The first thing was realizing I have some weird bad habits.
Bad Habit #1: Balance the good with some bad, the smart with some stupid…
Somewhere in my subconscious, I have decided that things have to balance out, but this is not always positive, and I think it is standing in the way of me making substantial progress. Let me give you some examples:
- When I read a powerful, insightful book, I feel compelled to watch a few hours of reality TV to balance the weighty ideas that were in my mind.
- I’ve always been an athlete and love sports and working out. But just when I start getting into the zone, say, working out 4 days in a row, then I feel like I deserve a break and do nothing and eat greasy comfort foods fort the next 3 days.
- I got into debt because I was taking lots of vacations and spending lots of money I didn’t have. Since then, I’ve gone without a “real” vacation (anything longer than 3 days off) since January 2010 and I’m starting to get a little cabin fever. I don’t want to undo the hard work but I need to learn how to relax in my daily life so I don’t feel compelled to fly somewhere far just to relax and have a good time.
I’ve never admitted that the weird patterns I fall into are actually holding me back. I don’t have to watch reality TV to remind myself that there are people out there who are stupid, obnoxious and/or ridiculous. I don’t have to “reward” my productivity for finishing a blog post with 3 hours of Melrose Place episodes on Netflix. (Don’t ask me why I’m watching a nighttime soap from almost 20 years ago. Like I said, I can’t help myself. I have addictions.). Why does everything I talk about come back to TV?
Bad Habit #2: A body on the couch likes to stay on the couch…
My other bad habit is inertia. It means unless I have formally committed in my mind to doing something, then I am way too lazy to do it when the moment arrives and I haven’t pre-committed. If I am at work, I have to decide I am working out before leaving work or I won’t do it. I need to work up the energy to go grocery shopping at least 2 hours before I go. I can’t just decide I need food and go. Even waking up early requires a commitment. When I go to bed, I absolutely have to remind myself what time I am waking up the next morning, or I will sleep in to 9 or 10 and never even hear the alarm.
I’ve gotten better about the first habit and don’t feel the need to balance as much, but I am still working on getting away from the inertia, which is a new habit and that takes time to develop.
Step #2: Stop drinking the Haterade
Look, I’m a hater. It’s what I’ve done as long as I can remember. My best friend has described me as “anti-everything”. I can’t help it. It’s easier to hate or find fault than to create something yourself. But as I am growing older and slightly wiser, it is becoming obvious that being a critic is a waste of time. Why should I spend my energy analyzing something I don’t like and bringing more attention to things I don’t like? Unless it’s funny, of course. But I like Jean Sibelius’s quote: “Pay no attention to what critics say. No statue has ever been put up to a critic.” I want to spend less of my time and energy on finding fault and pointing out what is wrong with something/someone.
I’ve spent way too long being comfortable with doing nothing by effectively criticizing and finding fault with what others were doing, famous and non-famous alike. Who cares if I’m right? Unless someone starts paying me to professionally hate on others, I see that being a critic is just a crutch. (Note to readers: Please contact me if you are looking for someone to help you hate/trash the competition. I am efficient and effective!)
Step #3: Plans you can achieve, goals you can obtain
I know, that sounds so cheesy I’m going to have to warn Anthony Robbin’s people not to try to tweet that and pretend they made it up. I want to make it big, but I am starting at a smaller level that is much more achievable. Here are a few goals for this blog:
First milestones for the American Debt Project:
1) 100 page views per day
2) 1,000 Twitter followers ASAP
So my plan to get to those two goals are:
1) Blog 5 days a week, and take 2 days to rest and get inspired.
2) Stay active on Twitter, discover new people, follow interesting people who follow me who aren’t obviously spambots/automated.
3) Read one good article per day on building a blog, developing an online presence, etc. But don’t spend all day reading and do nothing. Here’s a great slideshow on building a blog.
4) Organize my blog better and make popular posts easy to find.
Step #4: A little bit of action every day
It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I want to do something positive everyday. Something that is moving me towards my goals of reducing my debt, finding a good investment, or developing my blog into a great resource on debt, trends in society, worthwhile movements, and more. When I get things done, I relax more. I am not trying to become one of those wonder woman types who are dying inside like Annette Bening in American Beauty or Daria’s mom in Daria. I just want to stop being so lazy and get the necessary things done so I can relax.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how to change lazy habits into good ones. I wanted to be realistic because even though this blog has been great, I am still feeling stuck when it comes to my debt (more on that in the August update coming next week). Here are a few more great reads on laziness and getting into action. The last link is a video that you don’t want to relate to:
More laziness articles:
What did I miss? Do you have some secrets about not being lazy that I need to know about?