How to stop being lazy and unmotivated

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When you’re an adult, no one can force you to do anything or stop being lazy. Not your mother, father, or any other adult. You’ve got to do things on your own. Get yourself up out of bed, force yourself to go to work, advance your career, and seek out new possibilities to live a better life.

But when you can’t make yourself do those things and have trouble being productive, you wonder, “Why am I being lazy and unmotivated?”. I can assure you that you’re not alone. Everybody has asked themselves this question before. But if this becomes more frequent, you need to do something about it.

First, you need to understand what’s making you feel lazy and unmotivated. There could be many reasons or none at all. However, constant sleepiness, tiredness, and exhaustion might be your body’s way of telling you to take a closer look.

In the first section of this article, we’re going to talk about the reasons that could be causing laziness, and later on, we will define ways to defeat it.

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What are the causes of laziness and lack of motivation?

Laziness is a result of another problem that’s within you. We can’t fight laziness itself; we need to identify the reasons behind laziness in order to know how to address the problem and start getting more productive.


Fatigue-cause of laziness and lack of motivation

The tiredness that’s making you feel lazy could be caused by a medical condition like anemia, diabetes, chronic fatigue, etc. So, if you suspect any medical cause, you need to see a doctor in order to get the proper treatment.

This fatigue can also be caused by a lack of sleep or low quality of sleep. Importantly, it should be interrupted in order for your brain to go through all five stages of sleep cycles, and also, you have to maintain a regular sleep routine.

Also, an unhealthy diet or poor nutrition could cause fatigue. Inactivity is another source of your low energy.

In short, you can only take action once you have identified the fundamental cause of the problem.


When you’re a perfectionist who strives for perfection in everything you do, you can’t stand making mistakes. You beat yourself up over trivial, insignificant things. As a result, the desire to act fades away, and you find yourself unmotivated to accomplish anything.

Of course, here, when I say self-flagellation, I’m not referring to physical harm that someone could inflict on themselves. I’m talking about the shame that accompanies a person who feels guilty even if they do the smallest thing wrong. As a result, they stop doing everything that could lift them up as a form of self-punishment. They’re kind of self-sabotaging in a way, and they could appear to be lazy.

Fixed mindset

According to Dr. Carol Dweck in her bestseller book “Mindset“, how we think of our potential can significantly influence how successful we are in life.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can always improve their abilities. People with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, believe that there’s nothing they can do to develop themselves since everything is already predefined.

So, those with a fixed mindset are afraid of trying new things because they wish to appear intelligent and clever despite their lack of expertise, so they don’t.


When an opportunity passes you by, you feel regret. But what’s problematic is when you believe that you can’t overcome the failure that you’re currently experiencing and tell yourself that it’s too late to even try.

The feeling of regret can cripple anyone’s ability to be productive.

Social fear

Social  fear-cause of being lazy

Social fear can manifest as a preoccupation with what other people might think. What would their reaction be if you messed up? How are you going to look in front of your peers? Are they going to start treating you differently? Are they going to make fun of you?

These questions might tap into the spirit of someone who’s very self-conscious. They think a lot about things that could ruin their image, so they hold themselves back for fear of looking ridiculous.

When the fear of the reaction of the people around you is more important than anything else, you could end up easily paralyzed, feeling lazy and unmotivated.


When you’re about to start something new in your life, anxiety can easily creep in. Actually, a certain amount of anxiety is totally normal when we’re facing a new situation.

But when anxiety makes us flee every new challenge that gets presented to us and decide to not do anything at all because of our fear of trying something new, that’s a problem right there!


Laziness and lack of motivation can also be fueled by uncertainty and indecisiveness in the face of multiple choices.

When someone is forced to pick something up and they don’t have enough data or they overthink their decision, they may eventually give up and take no action at all.


Apathy is characterized by a lack of drive and motivation, as well as aimlessness and disinterest.

Someone who is apathetic simply does not care anymore and can’t seem to find the purpose of things. They don’t have specific goals to pursue, which is why they may seem lazy.

Apathy could also be a sign of depression. If this is the case, it must be treated with the help of a professional.

Going through depression

There is a direct link between depression and laziness because depression can impair a person’s capacity to move forward in life. It can drain a person’s passion, make them uninterested in life, and even cause them to become lazy.

Actually, being lazy is a classical symptom of depression. So, as I said before, the root problem is what needs to be treated, not laziness itself. In this case, what needs to be done is seek treatment from a specialist.


Self definition-cause of laziness

This one is a very important point, not just with laziness but with all the different aspects of our lives and how we define ourselves in each situation.

The way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on who we are as people. So if you call yourself lazy, that’s how you’re going to be.

You give yourself permission to be lazy because, well, you define yourself as a lazy person, and the lazier you are, the more certain you are about this definition that you gave yourself, and before you know it, you’re stuck there. You are who you say you are, lazy!

How to stop being lazy and unmotivated

After identifying the problem that’s making you feel lazy, unmotivated, and unproductive, here are some tips on how to get rid of laziness and start getting things done.

Define the benefit

To stop being lazy, the first thing that you need to do is focus on what’s in it for you; what’s the advantage that you’re going to get if you get moving? Why is the work worth doing?

You need to define the benefit and make the decision to move forward the first time. And then find that inner voice that will get you off the couch every day and just commit to that, as if you were on autopilot.

The greater the benefit, the more energy you’ll have to do the work that’s going to lead you there. So write it down and keep reminding yourself of it to boost that energy.

Earn your downtime

A fun way to stop being lazy, which I use myself, is to earn your downtime.

We certainly all have the right to a break or else we wouldn’t be able to function properly, so what you can do to make that lazy time fun, guilt-free, and well-earned is to work 3 to 4 times the period of rest.

For example, if you’re going to rest for one hour to watch an episode of your favorite show, you need to have worked at least three hours. And let me tell you, from experience, that it’s going to be the most amusing episode that you have ever seen.

Of course, your downtime can be broken into short periods during the day, for example, a 15-minute coffee break preceded by an hour of work. Let me also tell you that coffee is going to taste delicious.

Focus on the process

When you have a big goal to achieve that requires a long period of time, you could easily get discouraged when there’s a setback.

What you have to do instead is appreciate every milestone you reach. Don’t focus on the long way ahead of you that is still to come. Look back at what you have accomplished so far and try to enjoy the process.

And always remember, as long as you’re moving toward your objective, you’re on the right path.


Today, we are living in a world where we are pressured to be productive all the time, doing something every hour of the day in order to be successful. That’s why people become more stressed out by the idea of not doing anything. If we catch ourselves snoozing during the day, we’ll be self-flagellating the entire week, searching the internet for “How to Stop Being Lazy.”

Hence, you need to give yourself some slack. You’re only human, not a machine. You can allow yourself to do nothing, to have a lazy day from time to time. Because only if you rest your mind and body will you be able to come back stronger.

Forgive yourself if you stumble along the way, and never give up on your goals. Come back to them with the same decisiveness that you had the day you started.

Here’s a post on how to improve productivity with self-care.


In this article, we have talked about the reasons that could make you feel lazy like fatigue, self-flagellation, fixed mindset, regret, social fear, anxiety, uncertainty, apathy, depression, and self-definition. Because knowing the root of the problem is half of the solution.

And in the second part, I gave some tips on how to stop being lazy and unmotivated by defining the benefit, earning your downtime, focusing on the process, and finally being kind to yourself.

Check out this related post if you want to know how to get more things done and increase productivity.

I would love to know what you do to stop being lazy. Comment with your thoughts down below.

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Ghada, Founder of PsychEducated. Ph.D. in school psychology. Teacher of French and Spanish. Wife and mother of two little ones.
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  1. I got to learn that the cost of laziness is being broke, I’m doing my best to achieve that life I dream about. Thank you for this article, will put some pointers from here to action.

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