Recently, I got a reader email that went like this:
“Hey Alex, what I’m struggling with most is figuring out how to get myself to actually exercise. I know what to do, and I have the time to do it (I actually like it), but I just can’t get myself to stop being so damn lazy.”
We all feel lazy from time to time.
Workout after already working a ten hour day?
Cook meals for an hour when I can just get takeout quickly? I’ll pass.
But what happens when laziness gets to a point where we sabotage ourselves?
And what if we aren’t actually lazy at all, but something else is going on?
The Myth of Laziness
What To Do When You Don’t Do Anything Because You Feel Lazy
I’m not a big believer in laziness, and I think it’s heavily influenced by our mind and just how much we enjoy our life.
A few years back, a friend of mine in New York City invited me to work on a project with him.
I was lukewarm about doing it, but I wanted to help him a lot, so I agreed.
The problem was that I procrastinated every single damn day to get anything done, even though it wasn’t a lot of hard work. And easy work even became a challenge as I became progressively more lazy.
The verdict? I just didn’t care that much.
Here’s another thing: I hate getting up early.
I’m a morning person by nature, but I mean an 8 am morning person, not a 5 or 6 am morning person.
However, when I went to Costa Rica last year with my parents and family, the wildlife tours were at 5 or 6 am because those were peak wildlife hours, and I SPRUNG out of bed easily.
Isn’t it way easier to get up early for some kind of cool event, a jungle hike, a beach day trip, or something else?
What If Laziness Is Just a Story?
Sometimes, laziness is just a story.
It’s yet another narrative we buy into, and then reinforce over our entire lives. A teacher in 2nd grade says, “you’re so lazy” and then you really believe it because she’s an authority figure. And then you start telling yourself that your entire life – so things that take a lot of effort you just avoid doing.
I lived with a friend a few years back who is one of those self described lazy people. Where I lived, you had to go down to the electric company to make payments manually every single month. Due to his own laziness, he didn’t do it, and while we were sitting there chatting over some tea, the lights went out, the TV shut off, and the electric kettle stopped boiling water.
We started laughing, but he said, “man I gotta stop being so lazy.”
I wonder how many other things in his life were affected by this? Relationships? Work? Life opportunities?
Sometimes laziness is just a narrative, and that’s why it’s so dangerous – if you tell yourself it over and over, then it becomes true more and more. And we try to reinforce the narrative constantly to prove to ourselves that it’s real.
What if you treated laziness just as a story – a narrative – something that’s just made up?
Simple Habits To Get Over Laziness
What if you picked one health behavior you were really motivated to do, that was actually easy?
If I asked you right now to take a 5 minute walk outside – and that counted as your exercise for the day – would you really feel lazy still?
Or what about if you kept eating out, but just changed what you ate when you ate out?
What if you stopped eating Italian food loaded with pasta, and instead got Thai food with lots of spices and fresh vegetables?
What if you even still ate sweets, drank soda, and ate ice cream, but drank one less soda a day. Or what if you just had a smaller cup of ice cream?
Is it really that hard? Is it making you feel lazy and tired right now? Probably not.
Truly challenge the idea that you are lazy, and instead ask yourself if you’ve been focusing on the right stuff.
Don’t look at fitness models – of course it’s going to make you feel lazy. Maybe they’ve invested 5,000 hours into fitness, but you’re on hour #10.
The thing is this: our mind doesn’t realize that. The mind just says, “Ugh, why don’t I look like that. I want to look like that. I hate myself.” The mind is dumb and irrational.
Your Tiny Habit For Today
1. Challenge the idea that you’re actually lazy – is it maybe just a narrative? Is it a story we keep telling ourselves even though it’s not always true?
2. Are you working on stuff you like? Or are you trying to force yourself to do stuff you hate? Congratulations… I feel lazy too when I wake up at 5 am because I hate it.
3. Is the goal too big? If you just started exercising, unfollow all these idiots on Instagram and the fitness freaks. They won’t motivate you – they’ll demotivate you because you might have a long way to go.
Any of these things could manifest as laziness, and then lead you to believe you really are.
But is it true?
What activity typically makes you feel the laziest? Share below.