How to Break the Cycle of Laziness and Achieve Your Goals

Henry Clay

The time will come when winter will ask you what you were doing all summer.


Is Laziness Sabotaging Your Dreams?

Do you ever get the feeling that your laziness is slowly draining your life away? Kind of like a bloodsucking leech that covertly and subtly feeds on your leg. Life seems okay. Everything seems normal until you realize that you have this parasite feeding off your blood supply.

For some people, that realization doesn’t change a thing. They shrug their shoulders and allow the parasite to continue feeding off their life, goals, and dreams. They think that there’s plenty of time and that they have a lot of blood to spare, but every moment that goes by is an opportunity lost. An opportunity to remove the blood sucking parasite to themselves a second chance — an opportunity for redemption.

Every time you choose laziness over proactive action, you are choosing the easy path — the path of least resistance. Yes, it’s a path that will bring you incredible pleasure. However, that pleasure is futile and short-lived. In the long-run, that pleasure will turn into horrible pain when you come to the realization that you’ve wasted your life away.

The short-term pleasures that feel “oh so good” at the moment turn into long-term regrets when you realize that you no longer have the time or desire to accomplish your most cherished goals. And just like that, what was once a promising bright future, turns into a life of regrets and long-term pain.


What is laziness, really?

Laziness is a habit conditioned over time where we persistently and consistently resist effort in preference of a strong desire to be idle.

It’s a passive habit and state-of-mind where mentally and physically we just don’t seem to care. Yes, there are all these things we could do, but we just don’t have the energy or motivation to focus on getting these things done.

We, therefore, take no proactive action in the direction of our goals and instead choose the path of least resistance, where the pleasures of the moment outweigh any future rewards we may want to experience.


The Difference Between Laziness and Procrastination

Given what we now know, laziness typically comes across as very passive behavior, where we have a strong desire to resist effort. Procrastination, on the other hand, is a little different.

Procrastination isn’t passive. It’s rather hesitant. Procrastination is reluctant behavior that we use to avoid doing something. It’s a defensive mechanism against obstacles, difficulties, potential failure, criticism, and setbacks.

When we procrastinate, we are naturally riddled with guilt. We desperately want to do something, but hold ourselves back, and that subsequently makes us feel miserable.

Laziness, on the other hand, doesn’t come attached with guilt. It’s a very carefree behavior where we find comfort in being idle. We just couldn’t be bothered doing something strenuous or difficult, or can’t bear the thought of exhausting our mental energies on a particular task. We simply couldn’t care less about what needs to get done. We rather indulge in the pleasure of the moment than to suffer through the pain of putting effort into something meaningful.

Feeling Lazy


The Real Reasons Why You Succumb to Laziness

We all, of course, succumb to laziness from time-to-time. However, for some people, laziness isn’t a “once in a while” kind of thing. It’s actually a regular thing. Kind of like a nasty habit that lulls us into a false sense of comfort. It sure feels good to be lazy, but it’s so not good for us in the long-run when we consider the long-term opportunity cost.

But why? Why do we succumb to laziness?

We succumb to laziness for numerous reasons. Possibly we are feeling tired and we, therefore, use laziness as an escape mechanism that helps us recharge our batteries. That’s all well and good, of course. We all need rest. However, rest isn’t the same as laziness.

Resting is all about recuperation after putting in work and effort into a task. Laziness is simply not caring about the task and subsequently using laziness as a path to ignorance.

If, however, you’re not tired, then possibly you’re feeling kind of uninspired or bored. Perhaps you need a little more mental stimulation to get yourself focused and motivated. Possibly you need to challenge yourself in a new way. Or, just maybe you need a little creative inspiration to get yourself going.

Laziness can also take hold of us when we’re feeling somewhat overwhelmed. In such instances, laziness is used as a defensive mechanism similar to procrastination. However, the difference is that here in this scenario you just don’t give a damn. You’ve reached a point where you just don’t care about the outcome, and laziness just seems like the better option.

Laziness can also be triggered when we’re feeling hurt or are afraid to face something. But as above, we reach a point where we just don’t care. And, therefore, laziness is something we choose to indulge in without guilt or shame.

Laziness is something that just makes sense in the moment. It results from taking a short-term view of our life where we simply preference short-term pleasure over long-term rewards.


Success Requires Resisting Your Urge to be Lazy

When laziness takes hold of our lives, we reach a point where we just don’t care. We just don’t care enough about our goals or life objectives. We just don’t care about the future. We rather just enjoy the fleeting pleasures of the moment.

However, we all have goals and dreams — even if we don’t verbalize them. There are things we all want to accomplish. However, these things take work, effort and time.

Achieving success in any field of endeavor requires discomfort, self-discipline, and effort. It requires doing unpleasant tasks while resisting the urge to succumb to laziness.

At one time or another, we all reach a point where we feel like things are no longer worth the effort. We lose motivation and become passive. We don’t care as much anymore, and as a result, fall into the trap of just being lazy. However, every passing minute that goes by where you give-in to your laziness is an opportunity you will never get back. It’s an opportunity that has passed you by that could have been used more proactively and more effectively.

Nobody said that achieving your goals was going to be easy. It’s most likely going to be a tough and rough road ahead. However, the pleasure you will eventually experience when you achieve your goals will far outweigh the futile pleasures of those lazy moments.

But how? How do we overcome our lazy ways? Well, there is a 4-step process you can use as a guide to work through the habit of laziness.


Overcoming Laziness 4-Step Process

Okay, so I figure that you’re the kind of person who is probably feeling a little fed up right now. You’re fed up with indulging in this lazy habit of yours. There’s just so much that you’re missing out on — so much that you could do and accomplish if only you gave up this habit for good.

If this sounds like you, then let’s go through a 4-step process that you can immediately apply to help you escape the laziness trap. Working through this 4-step process, of course, won’t be easy. It will take some work and effort on your part to break away from old patterns of behavior. However, if you discipline yourself to persist and persevere, I promise you it will be worth it. 🙂

Step 1: Identify Your Reasons for Feeling Lazy

Your first objective is to determine why exactly you’re feeling lazy. Consider for a moment all the reasons why you fall into the laziness trap, and ask yourself:

Why exactly do I tend to indulge in laziness?

Am I simply bored, possibly fatigued, a little uninspired, or just overwhelmed?

Am I afraid to do something, and I use laziness as an avoidance mechanism?

What specifically am I afraid of or trying to avoid?

Understanding the reasons behind your lazy ways will help you build a plan of action for overcoming laziness. For instance, if you’re bored, read this. If you’re feeling fatigued, read this. If you’re feeling uninspired, read this. If you’re overwhelmed, read this. And if you’re afraid, then you need to better understand your fears.

When you have identified the reasons behind your laziness, then it’s time to explore the long-term consequences of your lazy habits.

Step 2: Explore the Long-term Consequences

We’ve already discussed how laziness draws us in with the promise of short and fleeting moments of pleasure. This is all well and good. We all enjoy a little rest and recuperation from time-to-time. However, in the long-run, that pleasure can quickly turn into significant pain when the regrets of missed opportunities come back to haunt us.

We indulge in laziness because there just isn’t enough urgency or perceivable pain to convince us otherwise. We take a short-term view of life and make decisions based on what feels good right now. And in such scenarios, laziness just makes perfect sense. It gives us fleeting moments of pleasure without guilt or pain.

To overcome laziness we, therefore, need to refocus ourselves. We need to shift where we put our focus and attention. In other words, instead of focusing on the fleeting pleasure that laziness brings to the moment, we must focus on the long-term consequences that may result if we continue to indulge in laziness over the long-run.

The next time you are tempted to indulge in laziness, ask yourself:

How is my laziness hurting me and ruining my life?

What are the long-term consequences of continuing to indulge in my lazy habits?

What are the opportunity costs? What could I potentially miss out on as a result?

Laziness is something that slowly eats away at us day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Indulging in your laziness habit might not seem significant today, but that’s only an illusion that gives you a false sense of security.

Every time you choose to indulge in laziness, it strengthens your laziness muscle. Moreover, it leads to unforeseen consequences of missed opportunities. And over time, a snowball of consequences starts to build. And before you know it you’re stuck deep in the snow and must live with the realization that you’ve wasted your life away.

Given this, it’s important to take the time to answer these questions and identify the consequences that may come about if you continue to indulge in your lazy ways. An awareness of these consequences will shift your focus from a short to a long-term view of your life. As a result, you will begin to see things differently, and this will subsequently influence the choices and decisions you make moving forward.

Step 3: Set Achievable and Challenging Goals

Your next objective is to set achievable and challenging goals.

If your goals are far beyond your ability, then you are likely to experience overwhelm and will subsequently use laziness as an escape mechanism. Your goals must, therefore, be achievable. However, they must not be too easy. They must rather be challenging enough to keep you stimulated and interested. Pursuing easy goals can lead to boredom, which, as you know is one of the key triggers of laziness.

People who are habitually lazy typically don’t have clear goals. And for those that do, their goals are simply not inspiring enough to get them out of bed in the morning with zest, passion, and energy.

Given this, the key to overcoming laziness is to get very clear about what it is you want to achieve. Ask yourself:

What do I want to achieve?

What goals would stimulate and inspire me each day?

What goals could become a passion project?

What goals would be challenging yet achievable?

Why do I want to achieve these goals?

Why is achieving these goals important?

These questions are a great start. They will help you gain some clarity. However, setting goals isn’t enough. Many people set goals and never take any action toward achieving them. To avoid this trap, you must specify what needs to happen to achieve your goals. Ask yourself:

What specifically is involved in achieving these goals?

What habits will I need to develop and routines might I need to set in stone to achieve these goals?

What key tasks will I need to accomplish to achieve these goals?

Understanding what it takes to achieve your goals is, of course, wonderful. However, there is still one missing element. That element comes in the form of the daily tasks and activities you set for yourself. If these tasks are boring and mundane, then don’t be surprised if you fall back to your lazy ways.

The solution is to create stimulating tasks that challenge and excite you. Yes, of course, set priorities and stipulate deadlines for your tasks. This will at the very least encourage you to work with more urgency. However, priorities and deadlines will often not be enough when you are trying to break away from the laziness trap. What you need to do is make your tasks engaging, enjoyable and fun.

Whenever you come across a task that is a little repetitive and boring, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I doing things the right way?

Is there another better way to go about this?

What’s a more engaging way to undertake this task?

What often works is to turn your tasks into a game. Turn them into a competition of sorts. Alternatively, use your imagination and pretend as though you’re an investigator working on a case, a scientist conducting an experiment, or a secret agent trying to unlock a hidden code that will save the world.

Yes, a very childish modification. But don’t let that fool you. It makes all the difference in the world because it keeps you engaged, stimulated and interested. And when you’re feeling this way, laziness will be the last thing on your mind. 🙂

Step 4: Immediately Take Action in Small Ways

One of the major traps to avoid when trying to escape the habit of laziness is doing too much too quickly, which, of course, often results in major overwhelm.

Yes, once you set your goals and outline the tasks you will be focusing on, it will be important to take immediate action without resistance. However, be sure that you take this action using small steps. Focus on one thing at a time in short bursts. That way you won’t feel as much pressure to perform and can take things at a comfortable pace. Ask yourself:

What one small thing could I do right now that will draw me closer to my goal?

What could I just focus on for the next 10 to 15 minutes?

Now, while you’re working on the task, tell yourself…

Slow motion is better than no motion at all.

I’ll embrace the pain now to experience the pleasure later.

I’ll do what I have to do now, so that I can do what I want to do later.

Remember that slow and steady often wins the race. You don’t have to do everything right now. Just do something, and then consistently repeat that something each and every day. That’s how you’ll make progress. That’s how you’ll achieve your goals and win the race. And that’s how you will progressively overcome your lazy ways.

Process for Overcoming Laziness


Beating Laziness by Overcoming Inertia

Inertia is defined as a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Within the context of our discussion, it’s a state of laziness or disinterest where we just couldn’t be bothered to make an effort to move something forward.

Sometimes though, we just kind of feel lazy and disinterested. It’s natural, right? Yes, it might seem natural, but if you desire to be a high achiever, then it’s a trap you cannot afford to fall into.

When we’re caught up in inertia, we simply lack the energy, inspiration, and motivation that would otherwise push us forward.

Falling into this trap, of course, requires a particular state-of-mind. A state in which we have reached a point where momentary pleasure supplants any future rewards we are likely to gain.

Indulging in this mental state-of-mind for short periods is all well and good. We all spend some time there. It becomes problematic when we consistently go there. That is when seemingly insignificant actions build into solid habits that are difficult to break.

However, hope is not lost. There are certain things we can do that can help us to avoid falling into the inertia trap. These methods fall into two main categories. First, we have the short-term methods that will quickly snap you out of inertia. Then there are the long-term methods that progressively change how you view your life, goals, and responsibilities.

Short-term Methods for Overcoming Inertia

Short-term methods for overcoming inertia are designed to immediately energize and snap you out of periods of inertia. They are designed to give your body and brain a quick jolt. Kind of like pressing a reset button on your computer when it freezes. These methods reboot your body and brain, which helps you get back on track.

Here are some ways you can reboot your body and brain in the short-term:

  • Splash some cold water on your face.
  • Undertake deep breathing exercises.
  • Do some squats, push-ups or jumping jacks.
  • Force yourself to move vigorously.
  • Listen to upbeat music for a few minutes.
  • Read an inspirational quote or page from a book.

Each of these methods is designed to jolt your nervous system into action and therefore snap you out of inertia. You can, of course, use just one method, or combine a few of these suggestions to help you reboot your biological system.

Another short-term method that also works quite well is to give voice to your actions. In other words, as you begin working on a task, give voice to this action in the following way:

I can get this done…

I believe in myself to follow through with this…

I have ample energy to spare…

Taking action helps build momentum…

I will stick with this until it’s accomplished…

The longer I stick with this the easier things will become and the more I will enjoy the process…

I’ll just work on this for the next 15 minutes and give it my very best…

As you give voice to your actions in this way you will convince your body and brain that inertia isn’t an option at this time. As a result, you will be more likely to “stick with it” and continue working toward your goals and objectives.

Long-term Methods for Overcoming Inertia

Long-term methods for overcoming inertia aren’t designed as instant motivational tools. They are instead designed to progressively flip the switch and change your mindset over an extended period of time. However, the only caveat is that they only work if you consistently put them into action.

Here are several long-term methods for shifting your mindset:

  • Write down your goals on paper each day.
  • Create a vision board and add new pieces to it each week.
  • Each day spend time visualizing the kind of person you desire to be.
  • Read inspirational books and biographies about prolific people who have a go-getter mentality.

Writing down your goals each day works because it reminds you of what’s most important. It will help you to stay focused on the stuff that matters.

Creating a vision board will help to keep you motivated and inspired long-term. The vision board will be there as a reminder about what you’re working toward. Furthermore, updating this vision board each week will keep it fresh and alive.

Visualizing the kind of person you desire to be will progressively shift how you see yourself and what you believe is possible. However, just visualizing this person isn’t enough. You need to gradually begin introducing new habits and routines into your day. Moreover, you need to program a new set of beliefs and possibly re-prioritize your values. Only in this way will you re-program your mind and move away from inertia.

Finally, reading inspirational books and biographies will show you what it takes to succeed and achieve big goals. Use these real life stories of people as inspiration to help you work proactively toward your own personal goals and objectives.

Overcoming Inertia


Avoiding Sneaky Laziness Traps

As wonderful as all the methods discussed above are, there will be moments when you will likely be drawn into periods of inertia. Laziness will at times overwhelm you and you, will struggle to resist the temptation to return to your lazy ways. 🙁

As you go about your day pay particular attention to your energy levels. Reflect on when your energy levels tend to be high, and when you feel kind of fatigued and lethargic.

We all, of course, experience different energy cycles. However, often these cycles are a direct result of only a handful of things:

  • What you eat and when you eat.
  • How active you are during work hours.
  • Whether you nap and how long you tend to nap for.
  • When you take mental breaks and the length of these breaks.
  • You stress levels and whether or not you feel in control.

With these five indicators in mind, your energy levels will likely plummet after you eat lunch, and particularly after eating a heavy meal. They will plummet if you’re sitting down for extended periods of time. They will plummet if you take long naps of 45+ minutes. They will also plummet if you don’t take regular mental breaks throughout the day. And finally, they will plummet if you are unable to manage your stress levels.

It’s, of course, unavoidable that our energy levels will cycle up and down throughout the day. However, what is avoidable is falling into inertia when our energy levels dip.

To avoid falling into inertia during work hours, take into consideration the following suggestions:

  • Don’t eat heavy meals for lunch. Eat something light that will keep you energized.
  • Stay active on your feet at regular intervals throughout the day. Just stand up and stretch or walk around the office for a couple of minutes every half hour.
  • Avoid taking naps throughout the day. However, if you need to, then make sure that the naps are no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Take regular short mental breaks where you listen to some music, meditate, visualize, or read a book.
  • Work on improving your coping skills when under stress. Also, stay organized and prioritize effectively to help you stay on top of everything that needs to get done.
  • Finally, stay away from negative people who drain your energy like blood sucking vampires.

Every time your energy is low, it’s easy to get drawn into inertia. During these moments we naturally start to feel lazy and get a little disinterested. As a result, we distract ourselves with gossip, the internet, television, and games. Or, we make excuses about feeling tired or not knowing what to do. And as a result, these excuses present us with an opportunity to be lazy and “not give a damn” about our goals and objectives.

This is how we get caught up in laziness traps. However, this doesn’t have to be you. You can overcome these laziness traps by staying aware, organized and vigilant.

Laziness Traps


How to Overcome Laziness for Good

Now, that you are well aware of the various laziness traps to look out for, let’s discuss how to approach your day in more effective ways to avoid the pitfalls of inertia.

Take Control of Your Productivity

The key to overcoming laziness is to focus on staying productive. However, this, of course, ain’t easy. Boosting your levels of productivity requires a great deal of self-discipline and effort. Moreover, it requires consistent focus and concentration. However, finding this focus and concentration when we’re trying to break away from laziness can be rather challenging.

With this in mind, take some time to develop some daily productivity routines. Routines will help you to establish a consistent rhythm. And the longer you stick with these routines, the more comfortable you will feel and the less likely you are to fall into laziness traps.

Be very careful though, not to overwhelm yourself too quickly. In other words, don’t try and be a hero and attempt to do too much at the beginning. For instance, instead of trying to tackle several big tasks at once, divide these tasks into small chunks and focus on each chunk one at a time.

Furthermore, commit yourself to working in 15 to 30-minute time blocks. Give all you’ve got during these time blocks without distraction. Then take a laziness break. Allow yourself to be lazy for the next 5 minutes, then get straight back to work for another 15 to 30 minutes. If you continue this pattern over the course of an entire day, you will make considerable progress on your tasks and projects.

Enlist an Accountability Partner

It’s sometimes incredibly difficult to keep ourselves accountable and motivated throughout the day. However, this becomes a hell of a lot easier when we have an accountability partner supporting us along the way.

An accountability partner is a friend or colleague who basically keeps you accountable for your actions. You might, for instance, provide your accountability partner with your TO DO LIST at the start of the day. They will then follow up with you at the end of the day to see how much progress you have made.

Your accountability partner can also be there as a sounding board. For instance, let’s say that you get sidetracked throughout the day and start indulging in lazy habits. Use these moments to have a chat with your accountability partner. Possibly they will provide you with the insights needed to help you get things back on track.

In general, having an accountability partner will give you that extra bit of motivation you need to complete your tasks and projects. It will encourage you to keep the promises you make to yourself throughout the day.

Conduct End of Day Reviews

Progress is made through consistent action. However, the wrong actions can quickly waste your time and lead to time sucking mistakes. Mistakes, in most instances, are, of course, unavoidable. We are human. We make mistakes. However, as a human species, we have made progress over thousands of years because we took the time to learn from our mistakes.

With this in mind, take time at the end of each day to do a quick mental review. Reflect on how you spent your time, your level of focus, and even on times when you got distracted and caught up in laziness traps. Consider also whether your action were aligned with your goals, and if they moved you closer toward attaining them. Ask yourself:

What was my productivity like today?

Did I fall into any laziness traps?

Where, how, when, and why did I fall into these traps?

What can I learn from all this?

What adjustments could I make to avoid falling into these traps tomorrow?

The key to progress is to learn and adapt your approach moving forward. Therefore, if you failed to meet your standards and expectations for today, then learn from these experiences and make adjustments for tomorrow. Just keep adapting your approach until you finally figure out what works best for you.

Set a Timer for Being Lazy

At times the urge to be lazy may be almost impossible to resist. While working, you might start feeling somewhat uncomfortable. You start to fidget, and restlessness takes over your entire body. This is a clear indication that you need to step away from your work. It’s also a clear indication that you might have overstretched yourself. You either worked for too long at one time or tried to tackle too much too quickly.

When restlessness takes hold of you, take a quick 5-minute laziness break where you do absolutely nothing but practice being lazy. 😉 However, be sure to set a timer for these 5-minutes. Because when the timer sounds, you need to immediately get back to work.

I will be lazy for only 5-minutes right now…

After my 5-minutes are up, I will immediately return to work…

When it’s time to get back to work be sure to simplify your task and commit yourself to working in 15 to 30-minute intervals. The key is to work in focused short bursts. That’s when you’ll get the most from your time, and yet still have time left over for several laziness breaks throughout the day.

If, however, after your 5-minute laziness break you still don’t feel like getting back to work, then just start somewhere. Just do something — anything that moves you forward with the task you’re working on. Doing something is better than remaining idle.

Often what you will discover is that doing something will quickly lead to something else, and then something else after that. And that’s how you will build momentum to get things done.

Guidelines for Beating Laziness


Concluding Thoughts

Overcoming laziness ain’t easy. But it certainly can be done. Yes, it will take time and a great deal of effort. In fact, it will take consistent effort over weeks and months to break free from old patterns of behavior that you have built over a lifetime.

You will need to commit yourself to building new patterns, routines, and rituals that encourage you to take proactive action toward your goals and objectives. And, yes, you will at times succumb to laziness traps along the way. That’s a part of the process. However, don’t let that phase you. Learn from your mistakes, and get back on track.

Two steps forward, one step back… two steps forward, one step back… is how you will make progress. It’s how we all make progress in pursuit of our goals and objectives.


Time to Assimilate these Concepts

Overcoming Laziness

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Adam is a life coach, mind mapper, doodler and visual thinker. He founded IQ Matrix in 2009 and has created over 350 self-growth mind maps. He also has a Free 40 Day How to Doodle Course where he teaches how to doodle using simple daily lessons. Read more about Adam’s story, and how he created the concept for IQ Matrix. Feel free to also get in touch and send Adam a message here.