Feeling Lazy?

It’s hotter than Hades outside and perhaps you’re lolling as close to water, a fan or an air conditioner as possible. This time of year brings a strange combination of energy, anticipation and sluggishness. If inertia gets the upper hand it may be hard to pull yourself out of it, like you’ve wandered haplessly into a tar pit.

Here are six steps to get you moving:

Check Your Head
Are you having trouble doing even things you love? Or only things you have to do? Are you telling yourself that you have to study for the GRE, or take an acting class or write a novel?

If you’re having trouble doing anything, even things that please you, you may be depressed and should consider consulting a professional. However, if you’re able to enjoy yourself and only resisting things you have to do, is it possible this activity is of supreme importance to you, so important to who you are that you’re scared of it? That means it’s worth intelligently marshalling resources to go after it.

Or instead, perhaps going to graduate school is someone’s dream for you, not your dream. By being “lazy” you’re literally refusing to live someone’s unlived life for them. And that’s healthy. Now you just have to act on that knowledge and go after what you want, no matter what anyone else wants.

In any case, it’s vital to be honest about what’s really going on because initially to you — and to the observer — it all looks like laziness.

Got a Fuel Leak?
It’s summer, the days are long, parties are more frequent and it’s possible you’re simply fatigued from burning the candle at both ends. All the standard health advice applies: eat nutritious food, get eight hours of sleep at least five days a week, keep yourself hydrated, fit and mentally stimulated. If you’re taking care of yourself, some inertia will instantly disappear.

Break and Enter
Next, it’s time to get create a fail-safe plan for success. No matter what the task, no matter how complicated and intimidating, break it down into small pieces. The smaller the better, if you’re very resistant to doing it. The idea is to set yourself up so you can’t possibly fail and to build on small, consistent successes. For example, with a would-be novel writer who’s been blocked for years, choosing to spend 10 minutes a day (and only ten minutes a day) writing would create achievable momentum. Little, little, baby steps allow you to cautiously enter your dream.

Keep it Real
The difference between a dream and reality comes down to work and frequent adjustments. To realize a dream, allow yourself to be like a tacking sailboat, first starboard, then port; repeat, and over time you’ve progressed north. For example, if you want to be an actor, taking acting lessons and being an extra will further your career more quickly than holding out for the leading part. Prove your promise and potential through your work ethic and by doing related work and eventually you’ll get closer and closer to living your dream.

Meet with the Concrete
You’re far more likely to get and stay motivated if you’re very concrete about why you want to achieve your dream and what you’ll receive from the process. If you want to write a novel, maybe it’s because you want to share with thousands and thousands of people your unique point of view through your characters. And along with that maybe you want fame and fortune and a chance to sit down with Oprah — whatever it is, jot it down and refer to it. It’ll do wonders to keep you moving forward when your momentum flags.

Action Generates Motivation
The best way to get motivated is to sit down and start working. Motivation comes from action, and incidentally, so does inspiration. If you wait ’til you’re motivated or inspired to start work, you could be waiting for a long, long while, maybe even years. Get busy now, this moment is the only moment you can be sure of having.

One secret to happiness is a life focused on rewarding work and fulfilling love. A life spent imagining success while working in hated jobs becomes painful and heavy. Change isn’t easy, but if you take it easy with baby steps, there’s no telling what you’ll achieve as you encounter your dreams.

Are you just too confused or overwhelmed to know where to begin, or even what your dreams are? You may need the help of a good psychic.

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