If you’re a human, chances are there has been a time when you’ve accused yourself of being lazy. If you’ve told me about it, chances are really good you’ve been scolded because I hate the word lazy.
Labels are bad
First of all, labels are just bad in general because the more we tell ourselves we are a certain way, the more we behave that way. So even if you are telling yourself that it is bad to be lazy, if you’re identifying yourself that way, you’re going to continue to do it. Rough, right? What we focus our attention on actually grows, so when we’re fixated on our worst qualities, guess what grows? #terrifying
Beating ourselves up feels bad, and despite our mental image of a mean drill sergeant being super motivating, mentally shit talking ourselves does nothing to motivate us to change or take action. That’s right – even though you’re tearing yourself down on the inside, you are literally still going to be sitting on the couch.
Your inner caveman
If you’re thinking “ok, labels are bad, but seriously.. why can’t I get motivated?!” you aren’t alone! The answer lies in ancient history & your brain. Humans are wired for survival – we’ve been really awesome at it for awhile now and have built up this incredible society full of amazing technology, art, and more – and our brains have not been able to keep up.
Early humans survived by avoiding pain, chasing pleasure, and using as little energy as possible to accomplish those goals. This was perfect for ancient times when injury or exhaustion meant death and experiencing pleasure meant you were well fed and creating the next generation of little cavepeople. Conserving energy was essential so you were prepared to fight an invader or run away from a lion.
Now, avoiding pain and getting pleasure are extremely easy and available to us all the time for cheap or free! To really accomplish something amazing in modern times, you’ve got to use energy, feel pain, and set pleasure aside for later. This goes against how we’re programmed, so no wonder it is hard!
Sometimes, knowing this basic concept can help you overcome your factory standard programming and accomplish your goals. You don’t have to wait for motivation to strike (spoiler: it rarely does) to take action. You may notice yourself on the couch, remind yourself you don’t have to follow the caveman rules of survival anymore, and hop off the couch to fold laundry or start a business (we all have a variety of different goals, ok?).
Other times, we have to get a little more serious, and this will depend on your personality. Do you feel moved by school supplies and organization? Maybe a calendar with gold stickers on the days you accomplish your goals will do the trick for you! Are you only motivated by other people? You need an accountability buddy or coach to check in on you periodically. Figure out what keeps you taking steps in the right direction and do it.