Lazy people who become highly disciplined often practice these 9 simple habits

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Laziness is a surefire way to stay stuck in life – not making any progress in your goals, or even setting any to begin with.

Lazy people know this, but many of them also believe “that’s just the way I am – nothing to do about it.”

But that’s actually not true at all.

Lazy people can very well become highly disciplined people. I know because I’ve gone through this transformation myself. 

When you meet me today, you’d never think that I used to drag my feet and put things off endlessly.

What made the change? It all comes down to a set of simple habits. 

Let’s have a look at what they are.

1) The magic of small starts

Discipline doesn’t always come naturally, especially for those of us who lean towards laziness.

The secret weapon? Small starts.

In the journey from being lazy to disciplined, the first step is often the hardest.

And that’s where small starts come into play.

The idea behind small starts is breaking down a daunting task into the smallest possible parts.

It’s a simple technique but incredibly effective.

For example, several years back, I really wanted to get fit, but couldn’t bring myself to exercise regularly. My laziness always got the better of me.

When I heard this technique, I decided to try it – so instead of thinking to myself, “I’m going to go workout for an hour”, I thougth “I’m going to take my gym clothes out of the closet and put them in my gym bag.”

When you do this first, stupidly simple step, the next one becomes more natural – put the gym bag in the car. 

Once you’re by the car, you might as well get in it yourself – and well, why not take it for a drive… to the gym?

You get the picture. These baby steps add up to a huge distance – and before you know it, you won’t even need to use them anymore.

2) The power of routine

I used to be a night owl who loved late-night movies and midnight snacks.

Mornings for me were like battles that I was destined to lose.

But as I started my journey towards discipline, I realized the importance of establishing a routine, particularly a morning routine.

I started with setting an alarm for 7 AM instead of waking up whenever.

Initially, it felt like a herculean task – the struggle was real!

But then, something incredible happened.

After a couple of weeks, my body started adjusting to the new schedule.

Slowly but surely, waking up early became less of a battle and more of a habit.

Before long, I started feeling more productive and alert throughout the day.

My morning routine now includes a healthy breakfast, some light exercise, and planning for the day.

And that’s all it takes – you don’t need to have a big, long, 20-step routine.

You just need a consistent one that sets the tone for your day.

And trust me – once you get into the rhythm of it, there’s no looking back!

3) Embrace the discomfort

The road to discipline often passes through the land of discomfort.

It’s a place where laziness tends to avoid, but discipline requires us to tread.

It might surprise you, but it’s scientifically proven that stepping out of your comfort zone boosts brain health.

When we take on new challenges, our brain forms new connections and becomes more adaptable.

This may not be the easiest of habits to cultivate, but it’s essential.

I really “got” this concept when I saw one particular meme on the internet – the gist of it was, “Going to the gym is hard. Being lazy and out of shape is also hard. Choose your hard.”

Basically, no matter what you do there will always be some discomfort in your life.

So why not choose the type of discomfort that will at least get you to where you want to be?

Maybe for you it’s trying a more challenging workout, learning a new skill, or even striking up a conversation with a stranger. 

Whatever it is, remember that growth and comfort rarely coexist.

So learn to embrace the discomfort, because that’s where the magic happens.

4) Prioritize and plan

When it comes to turning laziness into discipline, planning is your best friend.

Having a clear plan for your day, week, or even month can drastically reduce the time you spend procrastinating.

When you know what needs to be done and when, it’s much easier to get started.

But here’s the thing – it’s not just about planning. It’s also about prioritizing.

Identify the tasks that are most important and tackle them first.

This way, even if you get sidetracked or run out of time later in the day, you’ll have completed the tasks that matter most.

So, make a to-do list, use a planner, or set reminders on your phone.

Find a method that works best for you and stick to it.

I used to really resist this because I saw it as restricting freedom – and I can tell you, that mindset just keeps you chaotic and disorganized.

So learn to look at this the way I do now – as creating a structure for productivity and efficiency. That’s what discipline is all about!

5) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness might sound like just a trendy buzzword, but it’s a powerful tool when it comes to cultivating discipline.

Being mindful means being present and aware of your actions, thoughts, and feelings.

It’s about paying attention to the here and now, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Practicing mindfulness can help you understand your habits better.

It allows you to recognize when you’re slipping into laziness and gives you a chance to course-correct before you go off track.

I started practicing the other habits on this list much earlier than I started practicing mindfulness – and of course, I did see results.

But these really skyrocketed when I decided to give this practice a shot. 

It’s very simple: you can practice focusing on your breath, paying attention to your meals, or even just noticing the sensations of your feet hitting the ground as you walk.

Basically, you’re training yourself to stay in the moment whatever you are doing.

This not only reinforces your focus and productivity, but it also helps you become aware of whether or not what you’re doing is actually meaningful. 

6) Celebrate small victories

When you’re on a journey from laziness to discipline, it’s easy to focus on the end goal and forget about the steps you’ve taken to get there.

I know I’ve gotten frustrated with myself and how slow I was making progress more times than I can count. 

But here’s the thing. Every step matters. Every small victory deserves celebration.

Did you make your bed this morning when you’d normally leave it in a mess? That’s a victory.

Did you choose a healthy snack over junk food? That’s another win.

Celebrating these small victories helps to reinforce the positive changes you’re making. It reminds you that you’re making progress, however small it may seem.

And guess what? These little celebrations fuel your motivation and keep you moving forward.

So don’t wait for a monumental success to pat yourself on the back.

Celebrate every step, every effort, every single change that brings you closer to becoming a disciplined individual.

Because in the end, it’s these small victories that add up to big transformations.

7) Master the art of self-forgiveness

I’ve been talking about my own story, and how I’ve achieved a great transformation from a lazy person to a highly disciplined one.

But it wasn’t a perfectly smooth road – there were more detours and bumps than I can count.

And I’m sad to admit, I used to really beat myself up over every slip-up.

A missed workout or a deadline would send me spiraling into guilt and self-criticism – which ironically, made it even harder to get back on track. It was a draining and unproductive cycle.

Eventually, one of my friends noticed I was struggling and suggested I should look into self-forgiveness. 

It was one of the most profound lessons I learned throughout this transformation.

Because mistakes and setbacks are inevitable. We’re human, after all.

But it’s how we respond to these setbacks that truly matters.

Self-forgiveness isn’t giving yourself a free pass to do whatever you want – it’s acknowledging your slip-ups, learning from them, and then letting them go.

It’s about being kind to yourself and understanding that progress is not always linear.

8) Value your time

Aside from forgiveness, here’s another key lesson I learned: time is a precious resource and valuing it is a key step towards discipline.

We often fall into the trap of thinking we have unlimited time, which leads to procrastination and inefficiency.

But when you start treating your time as valuable, your perspective changes.

Suddenly, wasting an hour on mindless scrolling seems less appealing.

You become more mindful of how you spend your time and more driven to utilize it effectively.

One way to do this is by setting deadlines for your tasks.

This not only helps with planning but also instills a sense of urgency, making you more likely to get things done.

If you want to make this even more effective, then make the deadline impossibly short.

There’s a saying that says “work expands to fill the time you give yourself to do it” – you may know this from your own experience.

If you have 6 months to do something, it takes 6 months.

But if you for some reason only had a week, you’d manage to get it done in that time. 

Use this principle to help yourself stay on track and become highly disciplined.

9) Stay committed to your why

At the heart of discipline lies a powerful ‘why’.

This is your purpose, your drive, your reason for wanting to be more disciplined.

What is it for you? Maybe it’s to be healthier, have better relationships, or simply feel more in control of your life.

Whatever your ‘why’ is, hold on to it. It’s your anchor when the seas get rough.

Staying committed to your ‘why’ gives meaning to your efforts and keeps you motivated.

It’s not just about what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it.

So make sure you take enough time to properly identify your ‘why’.

Write it down, keep it close, and remind yourself of it regularly.

The final thought: It’s all about choice

At the heart of discipline, beneath the layers of habits and strategies, lies a simple yet profound element – choice.

Every day, we are faced with countless choices. To snooze or not to snooze the alarm? To eat that doughnut or opt for a fruit? To binge-watch a series or read a book?

These choices might seem insignificant in isolation, but collectively, they shape our lives.

They determine whether we remain in the comfortable grip of laziness or step onto the challenging but very rewarding path of discipline.

American philosopher William James once said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

Similarly, the greatest weapon against laziness is our ability to choose one action over another.

To choose discipline over comfort. To choose growth over stagnation.

And with each choice that favors discipline, you’re not just moving away from laziness.

You’re moving towards a more productive, fulfilled, and empowered version of yourself. 

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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