How can I be motivated? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I’ve gradually realised that I’m really rather lazy. Like I definitely prefer to loaf around, rather than getting things done.

I’m forever telling myself I should be more proactive, but it never ever works.  Can you suggest how I can become more motivated?


 Hi Lazybones!

You’re right that laziness is a lack of motivation. But what is motivation anyway? It’s basically wanting to do something, either just because you enjoy it, like reading a book, playing a sport or solving a puzzle. Or because you get a reward, like working for your salary.


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So laziness is avoiding a task, even if it’s potentially rewarding. Perhaps triggered by a fear of failure, for example, or of the unknown. But if that becomes a habit, it can seriously limit your prospects in life. Alongside laziness is idleness: preferring to do nothing at all. Human beings seem to have an instinct for idleness, a bit like cats, perhaps because our ancestors needed to conserve energy whenever they could.

So we end up wasting time unless there’s an important enough task to do. So while laziness is not wanting to do something worthwhile, idleness is having nothing to do that feels worthwhile. Idleness and laziness are best defeated by improving your self control.

And the way to do that is by learning good habits. Habits are automatic behaviours that are triggered by a prompt, like how leaving work makes you fancy a drink. They develop any time you start doing something regularly. So if you start running every evening, after a tough month or so it’ll become part of your life.

Once you’ve created one good habit, it’s easier to develop another. And it’s worth getting started, because good self-control is what makes people successful. Whether you want to become fitter, improve your relationships, get ahead at work, or just keep your house tidy! Self control is also key to becoming a great leader, and so if you improve your self control you’re on the way towards becoming an inspiring boss, or a leader of your community.

All the best,