I guess what brought you here is your curiosity to learn how to stop being lazy.
Good, that is the first indication that you are not that lazy. The second and more important one will be to read the whole article.
I promise it isn't very long and after reading this, you will be in a position not only to understand where this laziness comes from but also, you will be equipped with 5 ultra efficient and applicable tips to overcome it.
Why are we lazy?
Let's begin by explaining where laziness comes from. If you are a serious reader of this blog, you will know by now that all good and bad of mankind derive from our ancestors. Don't look any further that a hominid ancestor of yours, if you want to blame someone for you not leaving your couch and running on the prairies to stay fit or to hunt rabbits to eat.
Well, while this sounds a bit exaggerated, it still holds some truth in it. The main reason we have inherited this "laziness" power is mainly due to three reasons.
Laziness Factor #1: Energy preservation
That's right, your ancestor hominid's life was depending on this instinct some millennia before. Like with the modern wild animals, every movement of hunting or making an effort consumes energy and power. There was no free energy back then. If someone wanted something, they needed to look for it and probably kill it (or be killed by it).
They had to really pay close attention where to spend those calories. Nothing was done unless there was a good reason for it.
Today you only need to pick up the phone and order some energy (usually a bad quality one), for 5$. This energy preservation instinct was active for more than 3 million years. We only enjoy food abundance for the last 10000 years or so. Our primitive brains have not evolved enough to be able to tell that difference.
Laziness Factor #2: Your comfort zone makes it even worse
Remember about the comfort zone? That little devil will not only make us expend less energy, but it will also try to keep us safe at all times and at any cost. If something is uncharted territory for you (metaphorically or actually), R.A.S, won't let you do anything risky or dangerous.
That, unfortunately, has some downsides as well. This "risky" action won't take place even if eventually is a beneficial one for you. R.A.S cannot really know if you are going to swallow gas (a really dangerous action) or simply try to lift 50 kg on a gym exercise (a beneficial action). For R.A.S, both actions might mean, risk, danger or unnecessary energy consumption.
Laziness Factor #3: Society puts the tombstone
Like that was not enough (having to fight with our ancestral genes), today's society promotes a really lazy way of leaving, where everything needs to be fast and easy for you. Stepping on these exact instincts, all sales are based on making you consume more by trying less.All sales are based on making you consume more by trying less! Click To Tweet
And it happens for a reason. Because it works. Who wouldn't prefer having a pizza on his doorstep with a simple phone call, instead of going out to hunt a deer to eat?
The good news, in this case, is that there are many things we can do to change this situation to our advantage.
So, please read on...
5 Pro tips to stop being lazy
The following procedures will help anyone go from a rotting mode to a high alert mode. Even if you are the typical couch potato guy, (which I hope you are not), those tips will have a huge impact on your productivity if followed correctly.
Pro Tip #1: Have a clear and very important goal
Probably the most important factor for anyone to do something is his motive. Preferably an internal one.
Motivational forces can be separated into two broad categories. Internal motivation and external motivation. As the words imply, internal motivation is innate and constantly fed by your emotions, goals and ambitions. On the other hand, external motivation is the one injected by your social circle.
Both kinds are useful but not equally strong. Let's leave external motivation out for now because it will be discussed later on.
Internal motivation derives from within your "heart" and it is directly connected to your mammalian (limbic) or even reptilian brain. It is everything you want to do, from the most important to the most minor thing. Exactly because of that, this motivation is extremely powerful.
The more you want something, the more you will do in order to have it. Let's see an example. Taking our ancestors before, the most primitive instincts/needs of all, are survival and reproduction. Any man or woman would do anything in order to survive and replicate. Our internal motivation system for such needs is extremely powerful.
As we move on to higher level needs, this motivation power lessens. That doesn't mean though it is completely gone. Besides survival and reproduction, we still have many sub-needs that keep us motivated for good. Our need for comfort, emotional assurance, safety and wellbeing is also a very strong motivational force.
Long story short, we need to train and convince our subconscious that the goal we are after (become a millionaire, travel in 30 countries, sleep with 100 women etc) is of paramount importance. There are many ways to achieve that, most commonly:
- Write down that desire/goal somewhere you will read it every day. Be specific. I have put a huge board on my wall, writing down all of my mid and long-term goals. Having something written, is way more powerful than just a weak thought inside your lazy brain.
- Visualize the end goal. Take a moment and visualize how it will be when you will achieve that goal. Imagine yourself swimming on a pool full of dollars, driving the Ferrari you always dreamed of, or travel in the most exotic places - Stop that, I said your dreams, not mine.
- Keep repeating inside you, what this is all about. Every time something goes wrong and you have a disappointment, think about the end result. Keep pushing, not because you have to, but because you set a goal, and you will do anything in your power to achieve that goal and enjoy the loots.
OK, let's go for the actionable part now. How I apply these tips to a classic laziness example. I am bored to hit the gym:
- Write down what you want to achieve, eg. I will go to the gym 3 times a week.
- I want to lose 15 pounds.
- I want to lose 2 inches from my waist.
- Every time you feel sleepy or bored think about the end result. You have visioned your self-being leaner. Use that mental image.
- Say it inside your head 5 times. I am bored, but I am more willing to go to the gym because I need to lose those pounds.
Pro Tip #2: Control your emotions (completely)
Another huge chapter my fellow readers. As you should already know, emotions control us almost 100%. Because they are our first motivational force, and most often than not we cannot operate 100% rationally, we need to be proactive and train our emotions to work for us, rather than against us.
Most of us are born, with a beta nature gene pack. That is unavoidable. On top of that we have a pretty bad social conditioning to complete the image of disaster. Unless we do something drastic, which will take months or even years of effort to reverse, we will be pray of our own emotions.
I don't know about your emotions, but mine will scream inside me every time I see a pizza before me. We all know what is the rational thing to do. Yet very few of us will have the willpower to say no to such a "costly" pleasure. I know what you are going to say. A little slice won't kill you. For fact. That doesn't mean though you should eat it. The same goes for smoking, staying idle on the couch, working less etc.
Unless you control your emotions and convince your R.A.S that this pizza is bad for you, you are going to struggle every time you have one in front of you.
How can you do that?
It's actually easier said than done. Try to put down every rational argument you can think about it. From our example before:
- It will be beneficial for your health
- It will keep you in good shape
- You will have more success with ladies
- You will live a longer life
- You will have a lot more energy
All these are perfectly fine rational reasons. There is nothing wrong about them. Just make yourself believe in those and never doubt them for a second. The more you believe in those reasons the easier it will be to stick to them.
Pro Tip #3: Have everyday rituals and routines
Now we get in the juicy part. Pure hard action ladies and gentlemen. Enough talking, time for doing.
I will repeat for a millionth time, every new process is very hard to overcome. Unless it is already your comfort zone, you will need to make a lot of "manual" conscious work before it goes on autopilot.
After you have tip 1 and tip 2 worked out, you will need to actually make the action. You will need to repeat that action a few times before your brain will accept it as a new safe zone. The easier way to do this is with the help of everyday rituals and routines. Those are routines you will repeat again and again in your everyday schedule.
Brushing your teeth in the morning, listen to a cheerful song before you go to work, read your email only for half an hour before you go to bed etc.
At first your R.A.S will say "NO", this is where you put the extra mental power and yell a very conscious "YES". Be my guest and try this out. This simple system has never failed me up to now. Not a single time. Let's go back to our example again:
- Start by setting a very easy target of going for 5 consecutive days to the gym.
- Set your alarm to fire 10 times if you have to but wake up, don't think about it not even for a moment and go to the gym.
- Repeat and repeat and repeat.
- Just do this very simple action. Wake up and go.
I promise you. After only a few times, your brain will begin to feel comfortable with this idea. After about 2 to 3 weeks, R.A.S will be your faithful companion on that. Going to the gym will become a habit for you. Welcome to your new comfort zone!
Pro Tip #4: Be accountable to someone
This is the part where you will engage others to make some lifting for you. As I said internal motivation is really powerful, but when we need to overcome such embedded programs in our brain, we need to mobilize every motivation soldier we have available.
Find a person that you trust and tell him about your goal. Let him know that you have written this down, and show him the contract with yourself. Make sure that you will report to him on periodic and pre-scheduled intervals about your progress. This person will need to have two very basic characteristics:
- A very strong and solid personality
- He/she will need to love you very much
We really need these two conditions to be true, otherwise we might fail this step. This accountability partner must have a strong personality otherwise he might be a burden instead of a pushing force. He will need to understand how important this is for you and care enough to "bust" your balls day and night until you accomplish your goal. Moreover, he will need to be resilient enough to withstand your peculiarities and bad tempers from time to time.
If you are not a quitter, so he must not be as well.
Back to our example once more:
- Start by calling a friend over (most probably your best and most resilient friend you have).
- Show him your written plan.
- Schedule daily calls with reports of your progress. For example, call him every day at a specified time letting him know, that today you went to the gym again.
- Make sure he is up to the task in case something goes wrong and you miss one training, call etc. He will have to be strict and fair.
In the beginning, these calls will need to be more frequent in order to get traction. After you reprogram your R.A.S, you will be able to relax a bit, although I would not recommend ditching him altogether. Just make these calls rarer but to the point.
Pro Tip #5: Live a healthy life
Last but not least, is you lifestyle. A healthy mental and physical status is for sure your most powerful ally during difficult situations. A healthy body will help you build a healthy mind faster and vice versa. Those two are 100% connected and failure of one means a degrade of the other.
You might have noticed that in the past, in periods you don't eat or don't sleep well. I sure do have noticed it. In case you have maintained an bad lifestyle up to know, you might not be able to notice. The truth is though, that if you try to change your health habits even for a short period of time you will feel an immediate difference.
It doesn't really make sense to believe, that you will be able to win any physical fight on a full (with a filthy burger) stomach right? How do you expect to win your mental fights then?
You will need to:
- Eat healthily. Prefer meals high in protein (chicken, eggs, beef, fish), good fats (nuts, avocado, olive and coconut oil) and green vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower)
- Avoid too many or too bad calories, like trans fat, sugar, anything that contains flour, and alcohol.
- Exercise regularly. 3 times per week is more than enough
- Sleep well. Don't stay up late. You will feel tired and sleepy the next morning. That will cost you extra willpower to overcome.
Magic-bullet tip: Include omega 3 in your diet.
It is scientifically proven that Omega-3 fatty acids have a very positive impact on your brain and body health. They will help you function a bit better in every way and have a positive impact on your physical and mental status.
I take such supplements for very prolonged periods of time since they are very beneficial and I have not found any evidence for side effects what so ever. A recommended daily dosage between 2gr to 3gr is more than enough to work wonders. Notice that we don't need any complex formulas like omega-6 or omega-9. A good quality product of pure fish oil, full of omega-3 fats will suffice. As a reference, here is the product I use.
I hope you are still with me by now. A long post to be honest, but I had to elaborate a bit on that. Overcoming laziness or any other bad condition, ain't for the heart fainted. Those programs are very deeply hard-wired inside our brains. The screwed belief systems, together with a mostly fucked-up society will complete the picture.
You don't have to only overcome 1 or 2 lousy factors. We talk about deep subconscious issues here. Most of them will need:
- continuous work
- very positive social conditioning
- constant conscious effort towards your goal
- strong and capable allies to fight on your side
Overcoming laziness might be one of the most difficult tasks you will ever have to overcome, but it will sure worth it. By being more active you will have more time for being productive, learning, creating value, self-development etc. Don't take it lightly, cause you are going to throw many useful years.
Time is the only resource we cannot create. Don't waste it by sitting on the couch watching some damn stupid television program.
Do you think laziness, affects your everyday life? If yes, in what ways? Leave a comment below with your ideas.