When I was born there were some complications at childbirth. When it was all over my parents were told not to expect too much out of me. Since my parents were young they were not too sure what to do with that. No one wants to hear such news. While they tried to figure it all out I was growing up and really not doing too much. The day came when I was going to be required to go to school. My mom and dad thought that they should share the expectation level with the teacher so that she would not be too disappointed when she failed to teach me. The teacher was Sister Mary Gabriel. Patiently she listened to the story and then looked over to me. She said, “He looks fine, he’s just lazy, we can fix that.” My parents looked a little frightened and if I knew what was in store for me I would have been frightened too. This was an old school nun that seemed to float across the room. On the first day of class I was acting up a bit and she had me paddled. Every day she kept raising the expectations and soon I was doing well. Her task was complete; I was no longer a lazy guy. Here are some things that can help you do the same.
How to fight laziness and get more things done
Find someone to push you: Not simply an accountability partner
Sister Mary Gabriel was not someone to mess with; you complied or you paid a price. My initial infraction was crying for my mom when I did not get my way. Quickly, she made me an example. While others from that class do not remember the event today, I am confident that it motivated them as well. Back in those days the teacher could paddle whoever they wanted for the smallest of infractions. We need someone that can inflict pain on us if we are not doing as we ought to. That is being pushed beyond our normal boundaries. While I like the idea of an accountability partner I most often need more. I need someone who will make me go beyond what I think that I can do. I need someone who will dare me, challenge me and make me do more. When I was in college I had a friend named Leon. During my sophomore year Leon had done a fund raiser where he had taken pledges and ran thirty miles. I thought he was crazy. The next year he said he wanted to do fifty and asked me to join him. I did and that push made a ultra runner out of me. He pushed me. Of course the next year we set our sights on a one hundred mile run. Being pushed made all of the difference in the training. Now if Leon had been an accountability partner he would have asked me if I ran my little five mile run and I would have done so for the rest of my life. He pushed me. We need someone like that.
Have a plan for your day, week, month and life
Create a success plan and write it down. What does success today look like? Define it. Do not rest until you complete that task. Push yourself out of laziness by having a list of what you must do.
Our diet impacts our energy level. Find foods that are fresh and full of life to excite you. Save treats for rewards and only in small amounts. Grabbing that candy bar for its quick sugar rush may get you through the moment but the crash will cause you to be unbelievably lazy.
Do what makes your heart come alive
The night before a vacation the kids (and adults) are so excited that they can hardly sleep. It might be a family drive across the country or a trip to Disneyland but regardless they are excited and it is easy to do all of the preparations to make it all happen. I met a truck driver and he reported that his everyday life was much like that vacation. He saw sunrises in the east and sunsets in the west and loved every minute of it. John Eldredge wrote this, “Ask not what the world needs. Instead ask what makes your heart come alive and go do that thing. What the world needs is men who are fully alive.” How true!
It maybe that failure would let someone down. I remember being a young man and embarrassing the family because I drank too much at a wedding reception. I was waiting for the boom to fall on me when I got home. All that my dad said to me was, “I am very disappointed.” Wow I wish he would have hit me or done anything else. But that motivated me to rethink many of my future choices. I never wanted to disappoint him again.
Limit TV and movies
Movies and television can take you one of two ways pretty quickly. They can inspire you to action and motivate you to get moving. I feel that way when I watch a movie with a great training sequence or one where men and women are overcoming incredible odds to succeed. But too much of that and you will actually get the emotional rush without the work. Back when the “Biggest Loser” was first getting going I would watch them work and sweat and diet while I ate a large bowl of ice cream. Somehow I believed that their exercise would positively impact me. Don’t be fooled.
Back before we could watch movies on demand we had to wait for movies to come on television. I remember waiting and then watching the first Rocky movie. His training music really got me going and the next morning I was out on a run. Apparently I was not alone in being impacted by the movie since there were many others out that morning. But it was more than the movie. The music became inspirational and we were motivated to push hard. Find the soundtrack of the life that you want and live it daily.
Tell the world your dreams
When I was writing my book the work went along slowly for a long season. A page written here or there was fine. But once I told people and had a publisher interested I had to work overtime. Most of the book was written in two weeks. The difference was the public humiliation of not getting it done or failing. The more people that I told the more that I had to push; laziness was not an option.
Create reward and consequence system
I once read of a website where you could set goals for yourself. On that site you could then set up an automatic donation. If you succeeded at your goal it would send that donation to something that you are passionate for and if you failed it would go to an adversarial organization. For example you love PETA. You would set up the reward to be a donation to PETA. Your consequence side might be a donation to the Cattle Rancher society. If you succeed PETA gets your donation, if you fail the Cattle Ranchers do. Let your other passions motivate you to succeed.
Nothing keeps you from being lazy like fun. Play games with your friends, go out of your way to participate in your favorite hobby and you will experience motivation.
Take some time to apply any and all of these techniques to your dreams and watch what happens. Maybe you can overcome health issues or maybe overcome other things that may be slowing you down. Laziness is a choice that you can overcome.