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The Lazy Human’s Guide to Reaching for the Stars


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by Nicola Rankin in habits

Just for the record, I doubt you are truly lazy. You wouldn’t be wanting to reach for the stars if you were!

But sometimes we think we’re lazy. We think we’re lazy because our self discipline has failed us, our motivation has hit an all time low and then we start to think:

“I must just not want this enough”

“I just don’t have enough self-discipline”

“It’s just too hard”

or the worst…..

“I guess I’m just lazy”

Bollocks. Seriously. NONE of that is true. Motivation and self discipline are not constantly at peak – even for olympic athletes for goodness sake, give yourself a break!

So how do top achievers reach for the stars despite being human and therefore not continually at optimum motivational warp speed?

Well, here’s The (not-so-lazy-after-all) Human’s Guide to Reaching for the Stars:

Don’t Do Everything

Goals will usually involve a to-do list. There will most likely be a zillion things you could do to help achieve your goal, but if you try to do them all you set yourself up for failure. Instead, do the most important things.

“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”- Tim Ferriss

A great technique to figure out what you should (and even more importantly, what you shouldn’t) do is the Urgent-Important Matrix (aka the “Eisenhower Matrix”). There’s loads on the internet about this, but here’s a great 3 minute video that explains what it is and how to use it:

Use Motivation and Self-Discipline at their Natural Peak

Notice the times of day, week or month that you feel the MOST motivated and/or have the MOST self-discipline. Schedule your most important tasks, the things you would normally procrastinate over or struggle with, for this high productivity time period.

Plan for when Motivation and Self-Discipline WILL Fail you

Create habits that support your dream. Habits are behaviours that happen after a trigger, almost automatically. So, do your dream-supporting-behaviour after the same thing everyday and soon you’ll have a habit – an automatic behaviour that you’ll do even when motivation and self-discipline fail you.

Because a habit is automatic, no decision making is required. I reckon decision fatigue is one of the greatest sources of ‘laziness’ around. When decision fatigue hits, we make the easiest possible decision, which is usually to do nothing or to do the same thing we have always done (which isn’t helpful if we’re trying to make a change!). So take the decision out of the equation and create an automatic behaviour, a habit, that supports your goal.

Celebrate Small Successes Like You’ve Won Gold

Just to clarify, I’m not recommending that you celebrate by doing anything that could be counter productive to your goals…so maybe not exactly like you’ve won gold, more like you’ve won gold and still have to get up the next morning and win gold again 😉

Celebrations can be just simple things like playing your favourite song and dancing around for a couple of minutes, or calling someone who’s totally in your corner and sharing the excitement of being on track for success.

Why is celebrating success important? Because when you feel good, when you feel pumped, you will continue to rock your goals.

As Mia Hamm (two time olympic gold medalist, amongst other achievements) once said:

“success breeds success”

Tip: Ensure you have successes to celebrate – break your goal down into weekly goals and make them easy to achieve. Even better if you can relate your small weekly goals to doing your new habit each day!

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