Call it laziness, sloth, ineptitude, idleness, or whatever you like but the idea of doing nothing when things need to be done is often considered to be a sign of weakness or shirking. Sometimes laziness happens when you don't want to face something, like a boring chore or a difficult confrontation with someone. Other times, it might be because you feel overwhelmed and think the task needs a whole team rather than just you. And then there are those times where you really just can't be bothered. In any case, it's simply not a desirable trait.
Setting Your Mind Straight
Figure out the real issue. Every time you start being lazy, stand back and do a little assessment of what's been really happening. Laziness is generally a symptom and not the problem itself. What's the cause of your lack of motivation? Are you tired, overwhelmed, afraid, hurting, or just plain uninspired and stuck? Most likely, the sticking issue is smaller than you think, and you can get past it more easily than you realize.
Whatever it is that is holding you back, do your best to unearth it. In most cases, it'll be one single specific problem or detail. Finding the cause is the only way you can actually address it. Address it like you want it to happen. Once you address it, you can deal with it effectively.
Focus on the actual problem. Now that you're thinking about the cause of your laziness, start focusing on it. It may not be the quick fix you were looking for, but it'll be permanent. Consider the following:
If you're tired, start devoting some time to relaxing. Everyone needs down time. If your schedule doesn't allow for it, you may have to make some sacrifices. But your output will be all the better for it.
If you're overwhelmed, take a step back. How can you simplify what's on your plate? Can you parse it into sections and make it smaller? Can you make a list of priorities and tackle them one at a time?
If you're afraid, what are you afraid of? Obviously this is something you wish you were doing. Are you afraid of reaching your potential? Of finally hitting your goals and being unhappy? How can you see that your fear is irrational?
If you're hurting, maybe the only answer is time. Grief, sadness, all those negative emotions won't go away at will. Our wounds need time to heal. Putting less pressure on yourself to stop hurting may be the catalyst for change you seek.
If you're uninspired, what can you change about your routine? Can you put yourself in a different environment or is a mental demon you have to conquer? How can you vamp up everyday life? Think in terms of your senses. Music, food, sights, sounds, etc.
Get organized. Having clutter around us -- even when it's just visual -- can be a huge downer to our motivational skills. Whatever it is that could do for some organization, organize it. Whether it's your desk, your car, your whole house, or your routine, clean 'er up.
There's a lot that's going on in our subconscious that we don't account for. Whether it's an unpleasant color palette or an inadequate amount of light or a lack of balance in some way, shape, or form, somewhere we know about it. Get rid of that tiny-but-powerful deterrent by getting organized.
Monitor that self-talk. Sometimes behaviors cause thoughts and sometimes thoughts cause behavior. Cover your bases and get rid of the negative inner dialogue. Thinking, "God, I'm so lazy. Ugh. Worthless," isn't going to get you anywhere. So stop it. Only you have control of that ticker tape going on behind your eyes.
Every time you find yourself not performing up to par, twist it around to the positive. "It was a slow morning, but now it's time to fuel up. Now that it's afternoon, I'm buckling down!" You'll be surprised that the surge in mental positivity could actually change your outlook.
Practice mindfulness. So many of us don't take time to stop and smell the roses. We scarf down a great meal just to get to dessert, just to get to the wine, just to get to bed with an overly full stomach. We're always thinking about the next great thing instead of living in this wonderful moment that is right now. When we start living in the moment, we want to take advantage of it.
Next time you find yourself thinking about the past or the future, draw yourself back into the present. Whether it's the scene around you, the food on your fork, or the music in your ears, let it show you how cool it is to be walking Earth and living. Sometimes stopping and slowing down can give us the energy to take advantage of what we have at our disposal.
Think of the benefits. Alright, so we got you focused on the present. Now let's focus on a better present. What would happen if you took advantage of right now? What would happen if instead of wasting away the morning in bed you got up and did yoga, finished your work, or cooked a great breakfast? What would happen if you did that practically every day for the next six months?
It'd be wonderful, that's what. Let these positive ideas take over your train of thought. And be sure to realize that once you get going and develop the habit, everything will come that much easier.