Let's face it... We're all prone to a bit of laziness from time to time...but how do you get out of that rut??
Read on for some tips that REALLY do work in getting your arse into gear!
Overcoming laziness is challenging.
There’s no getting around it.
I’m not here to give you a magical ‘quick fix’ (hint: it doesn’t exist).
However, I am going to offer you some battle-tested tips to making that journey a heck of a lot easier.
You see, we humans are all about momentum. If you can just get started, if you can just overcome inertia, the rest is completely manageable.
Throughout all of my years in corporate roles and now as a fitness trainer and life coach, I’ve become extremely in-tune with what we need to overcome laziness. Although we all come from different backgrounds and have various motivators and barriers, there are certain ‘laws’ that apply to every one of us.
To make this easy and digestible, I will cover the 3 main principles that will take you out of your rut and into a sustainable, healthy running habit.
How To Win Your Daily Battles
Before we dive in, please be aware that it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor or psychologist to find the right strategies for you.
As I mentioned above, we all have different stories. While these tips can contribute to turning a new corner, they may not be sufficient on their own.
I’m trusting that you will be the expert of your own journey, and seek additional guidance if need be.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right in....!
1) Your environment matters more than you think.
Setting up your environment is all about lowering the activation energy to begin tasks.
Just take a look inside the human body, at the marvel that is the enzyme. It’s a protein that speeds up chemical processes by lowering the amount of energy that is required to start a reaction.
In the same way that alpha-amylase catalyzes the breakdown of starch, your strategically placed workout clothes can kickstart your morning run.
To find success, you need to decrease the requirement to be motivated at every possible turn. Another good example of this would be to write out a grocery list before going to the supermarket. This goes back to creating effective systems that keep you accountable.
To find success, you need to decrease the requirement to be motivated at every possible turn.
There’s a syndrome we often carry called the fundamental attribution error.
This is our tendency to under-emphasize situational (environmental) explanations for an individual’s behavior while over-emphasizing personality-based explanations for the behavior.
You can be an elite runner, but if you’re not taking the steps to shape your environment, you won’t succeed to the level that you could.
Please take time to think about the who, what, and where of your habits.
Perhaps it’s time to re-think about joining a running group, or a gym or switching up your running route or training program to keep things interesting.
Never overlook how key these small decisions can be in your adherence to a long-term healthy habit!
2) Goals are ok, but systems are better.
Motivation won’t get you where you want to go.
It’s that simple.
It may get you up for your first few sessions, but it will surely shrivel when the going gets tough and you’re leaning on your emotions to pull you through. To overcome your future hurdles, you must build systems that are greater than one goal or habit. Systems that are bigger and easier to achieve than your excuses or reasons not to achieve them.
Motivation may get you going, but it is discipline that will keep you moving.
When failing a goal, participants can get so discouraged that they believe they’re incapable of maintaining good habits — like it’s a character problem. I see this ‘shame cycle’ all the time as a coach. It’s about time we challenge this psychology.
What if we peer deeper into the causation of the slip-up? What if we’re not setting ourselves up for success in the first place?
Trying to maintain a habit without a system is like building a house on sand. But implementing a strong ‘why’ to habits that are interconnected and infused with accountability? Now that’s sustainable.
Instead of focusing on the finish line, get intentional about the steps you need to take to keep showing up every day.
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear outlines why systems beat goals time after time.
1. Winners and losers have the same goals. (Do goals really set you apart?)
2. Goals are at odds with long-term progress. (You’ve achieved it, now what?)
3. Goals restrict your happiness. (Does happiness have to be conditional?)
Goals can certainly be useful, especially if they’re SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based). But constantly measuring progress against a seemingly impossible big end goal, can be overwhelming and demotivating in the long run.
So what people tend to overlook though, is the necessity of proper systems to achieve these goals and turn them into lasting habits. Breaking the bigger goal down into easily actionable steps and celebrating the small wins along the way will make the achievement of the greater goal even more rewarding.... plus, what you learn along the way will help towards then achieving more and more audacious goals in the future.
Simply wanting to get somewhere you’ve never been is not enough. It’s time to build your map!
3) Intrinsic motivation is your best friend.
Many of us overlook the value of intrinsic motivation, but I’m here to change that. If you want to maintain a healthy habit, make sure you’re being motivated by internal desires and not external results. This is just an easy step to skip, but your habit will be far less robust if you do!
As much as we’re motivated by aesthetic goals, these are typically not sustainable enough to keep us going in the long term. If you do want to make your goal around a physical change, ensure it’s more related to general health than justpure aesthetics - or at least determine what it is about aesthetics that makes them so important (e.g. self confidence, self image, etc.).
Here are a few examples of intrinsic motivators that can help people go the distance:
Increasing physical conditioning to improve activities of daily life.
Improving energy to perform better or be more productive at work.
Increasing your strength to be able to spend more quality time with your loved ones.
Improving your cardiovascular endurance to try a new sport.
Enhancing nutritional health to live longer and feel better in your body.
If you can lock in a ‘why’ that goes beyond just the physical appearance, or clarifies what makes your appearance so important, you’ll be able to stay on track when the going gets tough.
This is one of the best time investments you can make!
BONUS TIPS! (for those who feel less intrinsically motivated)
Find an accountability partner who will check up on you daily/weekly.
Give yourself rewards for hitting milestones (cheat day, clothes, etc…)
Invest in a smartwatch or related device that can keep you on track.
Overcoming laziness can be incredibly difficult, but it is possible. The biggest game-changer is realizing that it isn’t a character issue, but a constant battle against your brain and developing your willpower.
If you commit to these 3 tips as a start, you’ll find it much easier to overcome inertia.
Once you can establish the ‘getting off of your arse’ bit, you’ll be shocked at how seamlessly the rest begins falling into place. Then you can focus on the fun part of training and maturing into the best version of yourself.
Although your journey will never be perfect, it’s steps like these that separate the difference-makers from the posers.
Who do you want to be?