If you’re reading this, I’m guessing it’s because you struggle with laziness and procrastination. If so, you’re not alone!
In a recent poll of my subscribers, 35% of respondents said that their biggest struggle in creating a happy life was that they were lazy and couldn’t make themselves do what needed to be done.
Laziness is one of the most frustrating problems that you can encounter when trying to improve your life and become happier and more fulfilled.
In other situations, like dealing with your boss or a romantic relationship, you have something external to yourself that you can deal with to try to resolve the problem, but with laziness and procrastination, there is no external problem. It’s all you! There’s no one else to blame, no one else to help you solve the problem, and there’s nothing external for you to change or do to try to overcome the issue.
I get it! This is super frustrating.
But what if I told you that the reason you’re struggling so much with laziness and procrastination is that laziness isn’t your real problem? In fact, it’s only because you think that you struggle with laziness that you can’t find a solution.
You’ve been thinking about your struggle with laziness all wrong and today I’m going to show you the real problem and exactly how you can fix it.
The Laziness Secret
I’m going to let you in on a huge secret. Laziness isn’t real.
Now, don’t back out of this email just yet. I know you came here for solutions to your laziness and you’re thinking I’m going to tell you that you’re totally fine and nothing needs to change. Well, I’m not. It’s just that your concept of laziness is a massive distraction that prevents you from being able to find real solutions! You have to stop thinking about your life in terms of laziness and unproductivity if you ever want to get your life moving again.
It’s the idea of laziness itself that is blinding you to the very solutions that you’re looking for!
Let’s back up for a second. What do I mean when I say that laziness isn’t real? When we talk about laziness, what we mean is a personality or a pattern of habits that makes a person not care about doing anything to improve their life or move towards their goals.
Essentially, laziness implies a kind of apathy toward life.
When you call someone lazy, you’re not just talking about what they’re doing. You’re talking about their character, who they are. And if you’re calling yourself lazy, you have developed one hell of a limiting belief around your desire to interact with life.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re not actually apathetic toward living a life that feels good! You’re here, after all, trying to find solutions. You obviously care.
If you do actually care despite being unable to act on your desires and goals, then you can’t call yourself lazy, can you? After all, laziness is a form of total apathy with life. Laziness is essentially being totally fine with where you are and not wanting anything more.
Even people who, from the outside, look like they’re truly lazy and apathetic towards life, generally have a deep, buried longing for more. It’s a biological imperative! If you have a pulse, you want more. We are hard-wired to always be seeking more fulfillment, more connection, more status, and more security. So even if you feel totally apathetic towards life, it’s probably not real apathy, but rather a sense of futility. And being caught in a sense of futility is not the same as laziness.
So if laziness is fake, then what’s really happening when we are “being lazy” or procrastinating?
The truth is that if you struggle with laziness, there is some problem preventing you from acting and moving forward in life. This problem might be a lack of resources, a lack of knowledge, limiting beliefs, a lack of support, not having your basic needs met, not having the physical capacity to perform the task or any of dozens of other reasons why you might subconsciously feel as though you cannot perform the tasks that you need to perform.
The real problem is that instead of being able to objectively look at the obstacles that are preventing you from acting, you’ve been telling yourself the story that you’re lazy, which is an intangible, unworkable character trait that you can do nothing to change.
By labeling the problem “laziness” you essentially trap yourself in an unsolvable problem.
Stop Bulldozing Yourself
Alright, we’re ready to let go of the idea that laziness is at the root of all of our problems. But what the heck do we do to get some momentum going again? “Stop calling yourself lazy” isn’t a solution.
The very first step in overcoming your so-called laziness is to stop bulldozing yourself.
Bulldozing is what we do when our mind, our emotions, or our body tells us “hey I have a problem!” and we just ignore it and keep pushing and trying to “play through the pain”.
You have got to stop ignoring these warning signals.
Those are where the actual solutions are! If all you’re ever doing is trying to push through your resistance and force yourself to be disciplined and to do the thing even when every part of your being is screaming for you to stop, of course you’re going to fail!
And not only are you going to fail, but you’re going to begin backsliding into a negative reinforcement spiral.
A negative reinforcement spiral is what happens when you try to do something and you fail – so you learn to think of yourself as someone who fails. Then the next time you try to do that thing you’re more likely to fail (because now you have doubt in yourself) so you do fail and you build more certainty around your inabilities and failures – and this just keep going on and on spiraling down into hell where you become completely convinced that you will never accomplish anything because you’re worthless and undisciplined and broken.
We do not want you getting stuck in these negative thought spirals!
And if you found yourself caught in one already, it’s time to dig yourself out.
When you need to do a task but you don’t want to or it feels impossible to get yourself to start, stop trying to force yourself through it. Stop just automatically giving up. You need to get curious. When you can pause and generate some curiosity about why you’re struggling with this thing, finding a solution becomes possible.
How To Overcome “Laziness”
So, let’s take a look at the exact steps that you need to take to overcome your “laziness” and tendency toward procrastination.
Remember that this is a fixable problem.
We are done with the mindset that this is an innate character trait and that you’re trapped, feeling like garbage for the rest of your life. No. You are someone with a hidden block or resistance that we can fix.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Figure out WHY you’re struggling to act
The first thing that we want to do is to figure out why it’s become so hard for you to do the things that you need to do.
“I’m just lazy” isn’t a real reason.
It’s something we use when we can’t explain to ourselves or other people why we are stuck. Anytime you hear yourself or anyone else applying the word lazy, that’s your cue to try to figure out what’s really stopping you.
In some instances, this might be as simple as pausing and thinking for two seconds. Sometimes the answer will just jump right out.
If it’s buried a bit deeper, that’s okay. You can sit down with a friend or a pen and some paper and start to question why this task feels so hard. Write down or talk out all the reasons why you don’t want to do that thing.
- Do you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing?
- Do you feel like there’s no benefit to doing it?
- Are you too tired?
- Is something missing?
- Is your environment working against you?
- Are the people in your life discouraging or putting up roadblocks?
Write down every reason you can think of as to why you don’t want to do the thing that you’re supposed to do. In all likelihood, one or two of these will jump out at you and present themselves as the deeper, core reason behind your struggles. Grab onto these threads and follow them!
If you feel like you don’t know how to do the thing you’re supposed to do, why don’t you know how to do it?
If you feel like you don’t think you’re going to get any real benefit from doing it, why do you feel like you won’t get any benefit from it?
Follow these reasons down to their natural conclusion and get a really solid understanding of the resistance that you’re holding.
There are now three separate categories of resistance. We are going to work with each of these three categories separately so now you want to classify your core resistance as either…
- a tangible, fixable problem
- a mental or emotional problem
- or a lack of desire
If you’re not sure right away which category your resistance falls into, that’s okay. We’ll talk more about what each of these categories entails so you can figure out which one to work with.
2. If it’s fixable, fix it!
Our first category of resistance is fixable problems. Now, it might not be immediately apparent that a problem is fixable, so bear with me.
A fixable problem is usually something to do with something physical or tangible, something to do with another person, or a knowledge problem.
A physical or tangible problem would be an issue like, “when I get home from work, I’m too exhausted and stressed out from my long work day to put the necessary work into my side hustle.“
A physical problem could be an issue with your environment, such as avoiding your work because your desk is an unholy mess and you feel terrible about yourself every time you sit down at it.
A physical problem might be not having the necessary tools or materials that you need to be able to perform the task.
If the problem is to do with another person, this will usually be pretty obvious. It’ll be an issue like “I don’t feel like I have enough direction from my boss“, or “My wife needs so much help with the kids when I get home that I feel overwhelmed and unable to accomplish my goals.“
These are issues where you need to adjust how you and another person act in relation to one another in order to remove the block. Now, this might be easier said than done, but if you can at least identify the problem, then you can begin working on it.
Finally, a knowledge problem has to do with simply not knowing what you don’t know.
This could look like not being properly trained for your job, needing more learning resources, or realizing that you’ve learned to do something incorrectly, so now you’re frozen and don’t know how to find the right way to do it.
A knowledge problem might also look like not knowing if the action that you’re taking is going to give you the results that you want.
Once you figured out what kind of fixable problem you have, fix it!
If you’re too tired after work to work on your side hustle, can you wake up a little earlier and work on it before you start your day? Or block out four hours on your weekend?
If your workspace is a giant mess and you feel bad about it every time you go to work, the solution is to clean up the workspace and stop making messiness about some character flaw.
If the problem is a relationship problem, have the necessary conversation. Explain to your boss or your girlfriend or whoever what you’re struggling with and ask what the two of you can do to create a solution to this problem. Don’t demand a change in behavior. That never works. Go to them with curiosity and openness, and see what kind of solutions you can create together.
Relationship issues are admittedly some of the harder problems to fix. They require the other person to be willing to work with you, which you cannot always guarantee, but this at least allows you to start opening a dialogue and working toward a solution.
If what you have is a knowledge problem, it’s time to fill that knowledge gap. Find a book, a course, or someone who can help you to figure out what information you’re missing and get down to learning it. Finding the correct learning materials might take you some time, and you might not know exactly what you need to learn right now, but identifying the problem as a knowledge problem allows you to start taking action and get things moving again.
You see, the minute you identify a problem as fixable, you stop being stuck on the original task that you felt you were being lazy about.
You may still not be making headway on that specific action, but now you are taking action toward fixing the resistance or the block so that you can take that action much more easily.
It puts you back into motion and gets you moving again. Even if the first steps you take or the first direction you pick isn’t the perfect direction, you at least have some momentum which is always better than being stuck.
3. If it’s mental or emotional, deal with the resistance
Our next type of resistance is mental or emotional resistance.
This is where we find our limiting beliefs.
It’s also where problems like big emotional breakups, grief, futility, and other emotional blocks are. We often think of these mental and emotional blocks as insubstantial and not that important, but the reality is that your brain is in control of your whole life.
If your brain is having a problem, YOU are having a problem.
If the problem you identify is a limiting belief such as “I’m not good enough”, “I always fail”, “I’m an imposter”, or “every time I try it just opens me up to more pain and failure so I’m better off not even bothering” then you need to work with your limiting beliefs.
I have an entire video outlining exactly how to work with your limiting beliefs called The Easiest Shadow Work which you can watch right here.
If the problem is an emotional one, such as grief, a breakup, a sense of futility, or depression, then it’s time to caretake that emotion specifically.
You cannot bulldoze these emotions.
They are a very real and important part of your mind and body and if they are all out of whack, you will not be able to perform and function in the way that you need.
Give these emotions the time, care, and attention that they need for you to find resolution.
4. Is it really in alignment with your needs and desires?
The final type of problem is a desire problem.
This happens when you don’t actually want the thing that you’re trying to accomplish, you don’t know why you should want the outcome of that task, or you are “shoulding” all over yourself.
When you’re constantly focused on things you “should” do, the things that other people have told you that you ought to do, or you’re not connected to the reasons behind why you’re doing what you’re doing, your motivation is bound to be rock-bottom.
You haven’t given yourself a compelling reason to actually act!
In order to overcome your laziness or lack of action, you have to know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and that reason needs to be truly compelling to you personally.
So take a look at what it is that you have been trying to accomplish, but you are too “lazy” to actually do.
Do you actually want to do that thing?
Do you know why you “should” do that thing?
Can you outline the real benefits that you would get from doing that?
If the answer is no, then you’ve got some work to do! You need to think deeply about whether this is the correct course of action for you. Why do you want to do it? Is it just because it seems like the thing to do?
If you don’t have a compelling reason to get up at 5 AM and go to the gym, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re never going to get up and go to the gym. It’s difficult, it doesn’t feel good, and if you’re not connected to the outcome and the benefit that it would give you, on a visceral feeling level, then your immediate desire for another hour of sleep is almost always going to win out.
This isn’t laziness, it’s simply that you haven’t given yourself any real reason to do the hard thing.
So let’s take this example a little deeper. Say you’ve decided that you want to get up at 5 AM and go to the gym every morning. It’s time to take a deep look at your desires and motivations.
- Do you want to go to the gym because of a reason that you are actually deeply connected to, or are you just doing it because you think you should?
- Is this what some productivity guru told you was the best way to do things, so you’re just doing it?
- Are you trying to accomplish some unrelated goal (like getting a girlfriend) by getting up and going to the gym?
If your goal isn’t actually to be fit and disciplined, you’re going to find ways to weasel out of getting up and going to the gym.
For example, if you think that to get into a relationship that feels wonderful and connected and intimate, you need to be fit and have the perfect body, that’s not going to translate into motivation.
What you want is not to be fit, what you want is a relationship.
Trying to get yourself to go to the gym in order to get into a relationship will never work. You don’t actually have a compelling reason that you can feel around being fit! You’d be better off going directly for the relationship.
Instead of getting up and going to the gym at 5 AM, you’d achieve your goals faster if you started going on speed dates or using those dating apps you downloaded months ago. Being fit is no guarantee of a relationship, and your subconscious mind knows that.
Your subconscious is not going to let you do the work if it thinks that you won’t get what you want out of it.
By contrast, if you want to get up at 5 AM and go to the gym because that’s the only time you have in the day to work out and you really, strongly want to experience a body that feels healthy, and like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, you will probably be the kind of person who gets up at 5 AM and goes the gym.
Having a fit, capable body is a compelling reason for you personally. You feel that shit!
But if your reason is something unrelated to the actual outcome that you’re trying to achieve, you’d be better off going directly for whatever it is that you want.
This requires that you be brutally honest with yourself at times.
You might have to admit to yourself that you don’t actually care about getting fit. There is nothing wrong with this.
Maybe it’s not a priority for you right now.
Maybe you just haven’t found the right reason.
Maybe you just haven’t found an activity you enjoy that would lead to physical fitness.
Until you find a compelling reason that makes you want whatever it is that you’re going for, you will not take the actions necessary to get there. So be honest with yourself. Do you want what you’re trying to accomplish? Or is this some arbitrary goal that won’t directly contribute to your happiness or that some external source told you that you “should” want?
What I hope you’ve taken away from this is that laziness truly does not exist.
Anytime you think you’re being lazy, there is something else going on and it’s up to you to figure out what that something is. Continually telling yourself the story “I’m just lazy” is a cop-out.
You will never accomplish your goals if you’re constantly giving yourself this easy out and maintaining this weak identity around your true capabilities. Yes, it is easier to simply call yourself lazy and absolve yourself of any real responsibility for the outcomes of your life, but that will never give you a life that is happy, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
You’re not lazy because it’s not possible to be lazy.
When you figure out the real reason why you are struggling to act, your life will begin to transform.
And this is the good news!
You have the capacity to change your life.
You can have whatever you want. All you have to do is get curious and start being honest with yourself about why you’re not taking the actions that will help you build your happiest life.