How to Leverage Your Laziness
We are designed to take the path of least resistance. Historically, this helped us conserve energy, stay safe, and live another day to pass on our genes.
Today, we are no longer concerned about basic survival (let's take a moment to be grateful, as most readers of this are among the few), but biologically this behaviour still governs us.
This is often labeled as “laziness”, as we continue to gravitate towards the easy route.
It’s helpful to understand the language of lazy (as a biological preservation mechanism that we can't just overrule with our mind, but must find a way to work with). This means that in order to correct something, we must first understand what is happening. Understanding something is like drawing yourself a map.
With that, we can decide on where to intervene and how to change our route, so that we get to where we want - in the easiest way possible!
So how do you get on the same level and communicate with your laziness?
By making things so easy that any other options require more effort!
Making steps ridiculously simple is a fool-proof way to work with our inherent "laziness" and accomplish our goals.
One habit that I am super lazy about is flossing. I know it’s good for my dental hygiene, and I want my teeth look clean - who doesn’t like a bright, gunk-free smile?! But sometimes I just can’t bring myself to floss.
It always seems like so much work when all I really want to do is flop into bed.
Have you ever felt like this? Do you struggle with integrating a habit you know is good for you into your life?
The most common reason is that we take on too much and overwhelm ourselves. We make it hard for ourselves to even initiate!
We are good at integrating small incremental steps into our life. We don't do so well when our life routine changes drastically. It throws us off and even thinking about it seems hard, never mind doing it.
K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid). This is the secret to overcoming laziness.
My flossing example:
Week 1 - Floss just ONE tooth. Just one, then you’re done!
Week 2 - Floss TWO teeth or a couple more if you’re up feeling ambitious like that. Don’t get carried away though - MAX 5.
Week 3 - Floss the whole row (top or bottom whichever you started with)
Week 4 - Floss it all!
It’s important that you start off so slowly that it can almost be painful. It may seem silly to stop at just one or two, but that's the point!.
This is when debating between whether you should or should not takes more mental energy than just flossing that darn tooth.
Just one and done! It's not so bad.
Remember that you are coaching yourself - learning a new habit.
A new guitar player needs to learn how to strum. It's discouraging if he is trying to play an entire song. But if every day he just works on some strums, and gets that under his belt, then he can increase in intensity. He can go on to add more to it, and he wont have to think about the strumming anymore. Strumming is now a natural habit!
You need the habit to seem easy to engage so that you learn it, and it becomes second nature. Once you make a habit of it then you can increase the intensity slowly. Increased intensity won’t throw you off by then because you’ve got your habit. It will be natural and wont seem like a task in itself to do.
Each day you as conquer that small step, your mind starts feeling more confident. Keep your head down and focus on your simple mini goals. Allow yourself to work everyday towards your big goal without killing your momentum with overwhelm.
"Whoever said the small things don't matter has never seen a match start a wildfire."
After some time, you’ll look up and realize you’ve made it!
Breaking it down into foolproof simple steps allows you to accomplish anything. I have successfully done this with flossing and exercise (I started working out in the gym for 10 minutes. No more, and have grown from there).
You will get hooked - addicted even, to the positive reward feedback from your mini successes!
It’s a game changer.
We may naturally take the path of least resistance. We may require small, almost invisible behaviours to make a big change.
But you are NOT lazy.
Like a mighty river making its everlasting mark through mountains we too are full of power and purpose.
Like a river, we carve out our path with the slightest changes made every day.
Photocred: @Unsplash from Pixabay.com