Lazy people who become highly disciplined often practice these 12 simple habits

As a former lazy girl, I can attest to the fact that bad habits are hard to break. 

I used to procrastinate, waste time daydreaming, and then panic, rushing through my work to have it submitted at the very last minute. 

It wasn’t just my career that was suffering – in my personal life, I left messages from friends on read for days. I’d put off doing much-needed DIY and maintenance around the house. 

Put simply, I had fallen into a rut of stagnation, the TV being my best friend. 

That all changed a couple of years ago when I realized that I was wasting my life away. Seeing friends of the same age advancing in their careers and personal lives spurred me to get off the couch and start taking the reins of my own life. 

And by adopting a few simple habits, I was able to change everything around. 

So, in this article, I’ll be sharing tips on how to go from lazy with a capital L to highly disciplined and productive. 

Let’s start with the first, and in my view, most important habit to adopt:

1) Setting clear goals

Fellow lazy people, you’ll understand when I say that it’s not that we don’t want to be productive, it’s just that we don’t often know where to start. 

I used to get bouts of energy and motivation, but they’d quickly fade away as I’d overwhelm myself with all the potential tasks I could be doing. 

But that all changed when I learned how to set clear goals, also known as SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The easiest way to do this is to think long term and then short term. Where do you want to find yourself in a year’s time? 

Then, on a day-to-day basis, what goals can you set that’ll help you reach your 1-year plan? 

Setting goals makes it much easier to tackle your tasks with clarity and direction – you know what you’re working towards and that makes it much easier to focus and stay on track!

2) Prioritizing tasks

After you’ve set your goals, you then need to put them in priority order. 

Get your most important tasks done first thing; your mind is fresh and you’ll find it easier to concentrate. 

Then you can focus on less important tasks in the afternoon, knowing that you’ve achieved your main goals for the day. 

3) Breaking tasks into smaller steps

If you’re wondering, “But my important tasks are a headache – why would I want to do them first thing in the morning?” I hear ya. 

But that’s where breaking tasks into smaller steps really helps. 

It becomes less overwhelming when you tackle them in small chunks. It might take a couple of minutes of planning beforehand, but in the long run, you’ll feel much more motivated to get the job done. 

4) Creating a routine

Another habit of lazy people who become highly disciplined is creating a routine and sticking to it. 

Now, I know this isn’t always easy. 

I used to struggle to get to sleep early and wake up early, but through sheer determination (like not snoozing my alarm anymore or looking at social media before bed), I’ve managed to improve my sleeping habits. 

That then had a positive knock-on effect on my energy levels throughout the day. 

So my advice would be to start from the basics; get your sleep and eating routine down, then work on the other routines you’d like to incorporate, like going to the gym or time for reading or meditation. 

5) Limiting distractions

Technically, reading this article is a distraction, but I’ll let you off since technically it falls under “learning”!

I’m not going to lecture you on this one – we all know our weak spots. So what worked for me? 

Out of sight, out of mind. 

When you need to be productive and overcome laziness, put your phone in another room. 

Shut the door to your office when you’re working so you aren’t tempted to talk to your colleagues. 

Use headphones to avoid getting dragged into other people’s conversations. 

It won’t be easy at the start, but eventually, you’ll get used to it (and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner). 

6) Practicing self-care

A few months ago, I started a skincare routine for the first time in my life (shocking, I know). 

What started as a desire to have clearer skin has now ended up being a motivational booster every morning. 

I essentially start the day by investing in my skin. 

That then encourages me to continue investing in myself by getting on with important tasks and not lazing around. 

So while it might seem insignificant, self-care is incredibly important in building discipline and valuing yourself

7) Learning to say no

phrases you can use to handle difficult people in a firm but tactful way Lazy people who become highly disciplined often practice these 12 simple habits

Here’s the scenario:

You’re about to get stuck into something you’ve been putting off for months when your phone rings and a friend invites you out for a drink. 

You want to say yes, of course. 

But this is where a disciplined person would say, “Sorry, I’ve got to finish this first. Maybe later?”

They’d use the promise of the drink to motivate themselves to get the job at hand done first. Keep that in mind and get comfortable with the word “no”. 

8) Reflecting on progress

So, earlier I mentioned goal setting, and while it’s important to look toward the future, it’s equally as important to reflect on the progress you’re making. 

Highly disciplined people do this because it motivates them to keep going. It’s a reminder that their hard work and patience are paying off, even if it doesn’t seem like it. 

Not to mention, it’s a confidence boost. 

When you look back on your day, week, or month and realize where you’ve made genuine progress, it’s a good feeling. 

It makes you want to accomplish even more. 

9) Seeking continuous learning

But reflecting isn’t just about recognizing all the good you’ve done. It’s also essential for spotting areas of improvement. 

And then following up by learning and doing better next time. 

Lazy people rarely feel motivated to learn, but what they tend to forget is that in the same way energy creates energy, learning boosts your motivation to learn more. 

It keeps the mind engaged and focused, and isn’t that what we all want? To make use of our minds and reach our full potential? 

10) Building accountability

Now, as you transition from lazy to disciplined, there will be slip-ups. Days where you lack productivity. Days where you return to the proverbial couch. 

It’s okay to mess up but make sure to hold yourself accountable when you do. 

Last week I had an incredibly lazy day, but rather than blame it on the weather or my neighbor’s dog keeping me up at night, I took responsibility and made sure to complete at least some important tasks in the evening before bed.

Disciplined people do this well. 

They don’t punish themselves, but they take their responsibilities seriously. 

11) Rewarding progress

Once you’re making progress and holding yourself accountable, it’s time for a bit of fun…


Don’t go overboard with this or it’ll lose its charm fairly quickly, but little treats, whenever you complete a tricky task or have a great work week, can be very motivating. 

I have got into the habit of saving my favorite series for the evening. If I finish all my work and get in some exercise and study time (currently learning Spanish), I’ll reward myself with a couple of episodes. 

Your rewards might be in the form of ice cream, a cold beer, or a trip to your favorite museum. 

That’s the beauty of it – you get to decide! 

12) Adopting a flexible mindset

And finally, lazy people who become disciplined tend to adopt a flexible mindset

They know that things won’t always go to plan and that’s why you’ve got to be adaptable. 

When we had building work going on, I’d write off work with the excuse that I couldn’t concentrate. But I later realized it was only me who was going to suffer as a result. 

So I found a cute cafe to take my laptop to. 

It’s all about being open-minded and working around potential roadblocks. 

You see, when you’re lazy, the easiest thing to do is give in. 

But if you want to be a highly disciplined person, you need to take control and make things happen, regardless of what’s going on around you. 

Picture of Kiran Athar

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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