Sloths Anonymous: A Lazy Guide to Overcoming Laziness

Ladies and gentleman, we currently exist inside the most beautiful blink of our vast history.

We are surrounded by technology, information, and availability. Within the confines of the free world, we’ve built a universe that is only weighed down by the limits of imagination. New experiments, lifestyles, and businesses popping up everyday prove this to be true over and over again. So how is it that a black plague adjective like “impossible” still finds a way to poison a space so infinite? I’m sorry, but it has to be laziness.

If, in your heart, you know that you work your tail off all the time, then this article doesn’t apply to you. Keep going. I’m rooting for you. You’re either gonna get where you want to go or get close enough to die without regret.

If you’re lazy and you have everything you want, then this doesn’t apply to you. You’ll never really know what value is, and you probably don’t care. Who am I to place blame or burden on your royal flush existence?

If, on the other hand, you’re desperate to overcome the allure of the couch, then read on my friends. Let us break free of this siren song together! Everyone knows the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting to the world that you have one. I’ll start. Hi, I’m Chris, and I absolutely adore doing absolutely nothing.

Man that felt good!

So now what do we do? Well, luckily there’s a couple of things we can at least look at.

Make the Little Things Matter a Little More

In our world of modernized stress reduction, mantras like “don’t sweat the small stuff” reign supreme. I understand the philosophy, but every phrase has its time and place. What if we shifted our perspective a little? Mundane tasks may seem like little monsters, but conquering them often leaves us with a driving force of motivation 10 times their weight. For example, making your bed every morning may not seem like much, but if you start your day with it, you’d be amazed at the productivity boost that follows in its wake. Start the day making the bed, and you might just end the day making a dream come true.

Get an Accountabilabuddy

A lot of entrepreneurs these days fall in love with the mystique of independent success; some crazy lone-ranger rap sheet of accomplishments. They love to lean on phrases like “no one is going to do this for you,” or “I did it myself.” Kudos to those of you who have unending willpower, but sloths like me need a push. If you’re in the couch potato club, I strongly recommend finding someone who is not, if only to kick you in gear. Let’s be real, sloths need a drill sergeant. Say, for example, you want to write a book, but putting words on a page feels a lot like slowly bleeding to death. Well then, find someone who will poke you every week. Have them give you assignments — let’s say a certain number of pages completed every few days. If you don’t complete it, this person is essentially allowed to call you out. That’s right, you give them permission to give you crap, should you fail to complete your task.

I don’t know about you, but I hate letting people down. Make sure the person you’re accountable to actually follows through, and make sure you’re both honest and up front about the arrangement. If they are afraid to speak their mind, or they go too easy on you, that just won’t cut the mustard. I know this from experience. One last tip — don’t make your partner in love your partner in accountability. It puts strain on the relationship and creates boundaries instead of support. It’s essential that you find your drill sergeant among friends. Speaking of which….

Make Friends with Non-Sloths

The thing about Sloths is they tend to encourage… sloth-like behavior. We’re soft, we’re cuddly, and we really like holding onto trees. However, we are a TERRIBLE influence on one another. To some degree, we are all a product and/or manifestation of our environment. It’s always easier to follow the crowd, especially when you’re a sloth. If you don’t have the willpower to change yourself, than try changing the crowd. I, for example, was never big into indoor rock climbing. I found a couple friends who do it all the time, and now, if I don’t go, I don’t feel like myself. In a sense, indoor rock climbing has become part of who I am. Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing for sloths like us. Besides, if you’re stuck in love with one tree, then you’ll miss the full blown romance of the forest.

Play the (Daily) Chain Game

Finding an an accountability partner may help you with weekly check-ins, but what about a daily one. You’ve probably heard about this before, but reading it one more time won’t hurt. Regardless of your passion, whether it’s writing blogs, drawing pictures, or whittling gnomes out hardened sticks of butter, visual progress is mad-powerful stuff. Go buy a calendar that doesn’t live inside a flat screen. You know, an ACTUAL calendar. Do you remember those? They’re big paper booklets that go through the months of the year on a daily basis. When the month changes, you actually have to get up and turn the page. I recommend you pick up one of these bad boys and hang somewhere that you absolutely have to see everyday. Each day you work on your project, mark it with an X using the brightest, most visible, most irritatingly obvious color you can. Before you know it, the chain you make (xxxxx) will become a habit that you can’t stand to break (or a game you can’t stand to lose). It’s a reminder of where you are, so you don’t go back to where you’ve been. In our tech driven universe, it’s amazing what a paper timeline can help you accomplish these days.

Reward Yourself

All work and no play makes sloth a dull… ummmm… sloth. Study after study shows that positive reinforcement is far more effective than its negative counterpart (duh). As a recovering sloth myself, I treat me, myself, and I to a movie every time we reach a milestone. It’s an escape from the grind, it’s relatively inexpensive, and the best part is I feel like I’m doing nothing and something at the same time. That’s perfect for a sloth like me. Whatever the reward, plan it in advance. If you have something to look forward to, than your goal will feel less like a burden and more like a goal. If you’ve read the article up to this point, I’d love to hear about your own milestone rewards. What’s the best way to celebrate victory in Sloths Anonymous? I want to give it a try.

Putting it All Together

Overall, the more we can turn work into a game, the more likely we are to win. In the same arena, joy will always overcome fear. We can’t make fear disappear, but we can do little things to make our monsters a little smaller, bring our friends a little closer, and make our dreams a little bigger. Slowly but surely, we’ll slide across the finish line together, and finally see beyond the trees.

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