This article was last updated on December 30, 2015
It’s common to look at unproductive people and just call them lazy. After all, we all know what laziness “looks” like – we have been lazy ourselves, but it has been a temporary, short-lived condition and we move on to pursue our goals and dreams with plenty of determination and action. But what happens when we lose that determination, and why do we lose it? Have we become one of the “lazy” people we have been so quick to condemn in the past?
Or has fear taken over and stopped us “dead in our tracks?” Fear and laziness are actually often related – one is an emotion and one is a behavior, and our emotions do control our behaviors. These are the kinds of reflections and questions, among others, that must be analyzed and answered. So here are 12 things you can do right now that may just pick you up and get you going again!
12 Ways To Overcome Fear And Laziness
One truth that will never change is this: We will always find time to do the things we really want to do. If you are not finding the time to do the things that will achieve the goals and dreams you have set, here are some things that will help you.
Get down on paper how you are spending your time. Obviously, if you work, that is a big chunk of at least 5 days of your week. But what are you doing with all of your non-work time? If you can’t get it down on paper now, then monitor yourself for a week, and figure out where those chunks of time are going. Are you watching TV during a lot of that time? Are you on Facebook a large amount of time? If you dream is to be an author, how much of that down time you spend on other things could be converted to writing?
List the steps that will lead to your dream. You may have never done this or you may have not done it in a long time. Goals and dreams are reached progressively, not all at once. Set benchmarks and a timeline for reaching them. If you have to eliminate some other activities to do this, it will be worth it in the long-term. Sometimes laziness is conquered by just having a plan.
Do a Goal Check. This may be a bit scary, mostly because you have probably had your goal/dream for a while. You have expressed it to others; it has become a part of you. But if that dream is falling apart because you are not moving toward it, it may be because it is no longer meaningful to you. Here is the real test: If actions toward that goal are seen as drudgery or boring, or if you are deliberately procrastinating, then you have the wrong goal. Maybe you have outgrown it; maybe your priorities have changed; but you are not lazy. It’s time for some real reflection on where you want to be 5 years from now. It’s time to change course with no guilt or shame. People change course all the time – that’s the wonderful thing about freedom of choice!
Fear paralyzes us, even when we do not recognize it as such. We often mistake it for laziness or procrastination, behaviors that do result from fear. So, what common fears might be related to your dreams and how can you conquer them?
Overcome fear of failure with small risks: Somehow in this society, we have developed the notion that failure is a reflection of a person’s lack of ability, talent, or motivation. And because of this rather pervasive notion, the fear of failure keeps us from moving in the direction of our dreams. What will other people think if you sink all of your savings into an enterprise that goes bust? How embarrassing will it be to admit that you failed at something? Perhaps you would want to ask Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson that question. They all failed at one time or another. Your dream is not an overnight thing. It is achieved in sequential steps. So take a risk with just step one. Instead of quitting your job and sinking all of your savings into that dream venture, start freelancing on the side. Small successes will dissolve those fears over time.
Overcoming fear of criticism with silence: This fear usually is the result of lack of self-confidence and the notion that our self-worth is from people outside of ourselves. Certainly we want to make our parents proud of us, but if that means that we fail to pursue a dream for fear of their criticism of it, then we are way too dependent on others for our validation. Here is how you eliminate this fear. You stop talking about your dream to people who are critical of it. Pursue that dream and only speak of it to people who encourage you.
Overcome fear of success with small successes: Yes, there are people who fear success, and you may be one of them. The problem here is this: Once you reach your dream, what next? Many people subconsciously do not reach their goals because they fear the need to set new ones to keep moving forward. This is a certain amount of security in continuing to talk about your goal and in showing people that you are steadily working toward it. They’ll admire your persistence even if it is never achieved. But if you achieve a goal, then you must set a new one, and what if you don’t achieve that one? So fear of success turns into fear of failure again! And the solution is the same. Take small risks, meet with success, and move forward one step at a time. If one goal is reached, set that new one, rinse and repeat.
Overcoming Being Stuck
Getting “stuck” can come from either laziness or fear. Here are some practical tips for getting unstuck and moving yourself into positive action again.
Divide up that goal: If you feel overwhelmed by your goal or dream, break it down into small chunks (also known as “Swiss cheesing” it). Bite and chew at one little piece at a time. Take just step 1 today.
Hang out with the right people: Surround yourself with busy active achievers instead of those without much direction or who discourage you.
Visualize yourself with your goal met. What will your life look like? Where will you be? What will you be doing?
Make a separate “to-do” list for your dream – separate from the lists you make for personal and work tasks. List each step in the appropriate sequence. Put it in a visible place, so that you see it every day. If you want your own business, step 1 will be to get your vision down on paper. Step 2 will be to develop your business plan. Step 3 may be to get a great name and register it in your state (that’s always a good feeling). Step 4 may be to find the startup money. And so on.
Stop using distractions as an excuse. “My present job keeps me too busy,” “I don’t have any support,” “It’s just too hard.” Remember we always find the time and the wherewithal to do what we want to do. If you are not finding the time, then go back and do a “goal check.”
Identify those fears and walk right over them. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” Will you be dead? No. Will your life be in ruins with nowhere to turn? No. If your parents or other family members disapprove, will they still love you? Yes.
Get the right dreams, lose your fear, and write our own story!
Featured photo credit: Tammy Lo