5 Things Your Laziness Is Trying to Tell You

5 Things Your Laziness Is Trying to Tell You

Newsflash: Just because you’re lazy doesn’t mean you’re worthless.

The motivational YouTubers get in your head and tell you that you’re just lazy. You just need to power through it. David Goggins can do it, so why can’t you?

If you tie your self-worth to how much work you’re able to output, you’re going to have a toxic relationship with taking action. You’ll never feel like you’re good enough.

Humans are optimization machines. We’re efficient.

Laziness is our default nature. Thousands of years ago, we needed to conserve energy so we could fight a cougar or forage for berries. Our biology hasn’t changed. We crave calorie-dense food to store enough energy. Now, in the age of remote work and food delivery, it’s never been easier to indulge without expending unnecessary energy.

Your laziness is trying to tell you something.

In the self-development community, we often run into the trap of “there’s something wrong with me, I must fix it.”

What if it was easier?

What if we listened to our problems instead of trying to fix them? What if we found the root cause of our procrastination instead of watching “how to stop procrastinating” videos on YouTube? It’s easy to search for a solution, but it’s difficult to understand the problem.

The same goes for laziness. We attribute our lack of motivation and energy to strive for a goal as laziness. Instead, what if we listened to that laziness. What is it trying to tell you?

1. Your baseline is off

First, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your body, and that you’re in a good environment for yourself. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Incorporating movement in your day?

When it comes to environment, there are sometimes things that are out of control. Take, for instance, a global pandemic. It’s okay if you are grieving the loss of someone or an entire year. As much as we don’t want to fall victim to things outside of our locus of control, it happens. You need to make sure that you’re safe, and you may need time to process your emotions.

2. You don’t have a strong enough “why”

As much as we want to set high goals to motivate us to take action, we need to make sure that they’re the right kind of goal. Money, for instance, is only as good of a motivator as how desperately it’s needed. If you’re in a comfortable financial position, chances are that money isn’t going to be a big enough motivator. Instead, we need to find our Ikigai, focus on our Dharma, or develop our life’s purpose. What can we do with our strengths to help other people?

If that’s too grand for you right now, you could pare it down to figuring out what you enjoy doing. What’s genuinely fun for you? What do you do naturally that others say they would never have the patience for?

3. You might not be doing the right thing

Sometimes, the process isn’t worth the goal. You need to re-evaluate if what you’re working on is actually what you enjoy.

We can get clouded by other’s expectations of us, or society’s push towards “careers that make money” and what’s socially acceptable. Understand who you are and what you love, and unapologetically pursue it.

Be careful of the sunk cost fallacy here. Just because you start something, doesn’t mean you have to finish it. Weigh the importance of finishing what you’re working on with your current emotions. If it’s not the right thing for you to work on, don’t force it. Allow it to be effortless.

4. You aren’t clear on your next action

Sometimes, laziness can be as simple as not knowing what to do next. A lack of clarity can easily lead to procrastination. When you have a problem to tackle that is open-ended and you don’t know how to tackle it, then it’s time to chunk it up.

Follow me for an analogy for a second. If you see a whole watermelon and you think “I want to eat that,” you don’t just eat it. First, you need to find a knife and cutting board, and cut it into pieces you can fit your mouth around. The same goes with all of our projects and goals. Brainstorm the next couple of actions and understand how they’re going to move you closer to your end result.

5. You just need a break

If you’re tired, don’t call yourself lazy. You need rest.

Hustle culture tells us that the grind never stops. Between the lines, the “hustlers” and “alphas” have built their sense of identity around the raw amount of work that they do. The effectiveness or impact of that work doesn’t matter — they just brute force their way into achieving traditional definitions of success and tell others that they just need to “work harder.” It’s an incredibly toxic mindset to have, and I can only imagine what they feel when the camera turns off.

Give yourself some space. Allow yourself to take a break. It’s okay to feel tired, and it’s okay to give yourself rest. In fact, creativity blooms when we aren’t running ourselves dry or constantly being bombarded by others’ thoughts on social media.

Judging vs Coaching

There’s a difference between judging yourself and coaching yourself.

Simply judging yourself isn’t going to help. When you say “I’m just lazy,” you make the verdict that it’s your identity, giving yourself a scapegoat. You won’t make progress on the things that matter to you if you take on that on. You wish you could do better, but sentence yourself to a life of failures.

Instead, coach yourself. Accept where you are and understand exactly what your obstacles are. Know their names, their patterns, and what their go-to order from Starbucks is. Then, you can guide yourself through making improvements and overcoming those obstacles. Your coach might tell you to do something you don’t love, like running laps, but they’re there to get you to your goals. It’s a delicate balance between acceptance and discipline.

How to make use of it all

Reflect on these 5 possibilities, and be sure to give yourself some space. Spend some time, even if it’s just a half hour, with yourself — no social media or distractions. Sit down with some pen and paper and talk with yourself.

Which of the above obstacles are you facing right now?

Accept where you are, and figure out what small steps you can take to get on the right path. Work on balancing self-acceptance with self-development. Ease back into taking action with the smallest action you can fathom, and start moving the flywheel.

You’ve got this.