Why you shouldn't scold yourself for laziness and procrastination
Why you shouldn't scold yourself for laziness and procrastination

You promise yourself that you won't wait until the last minute to pay your taxes or finish your coursework. You put off changing the oil in your car. You tell your doctor that you are taking medication, but in fact you have not done so for a long time. You want the best, but your intentions don't align with your actions. Think you are too lazy? This is not the case, and here's why.

Why you shouldn't scold yourself for laziness and procrastination
Why you shouldn't scold yourself for laziness and procrastination

Good Behavior You Don't Know

People are lazy creatures. At least that's how it seems when you see how many tips and methods have already been invented to combat procrastination and laziness. But here's the interesting thing: there are many activities that we are not too lazy to do.

Few people go hungry because they are lazy to eat, or suffer from kidney problems because they are too lazy to go to the toilet. Few people are too lazy to have sex.

“It doesn’t count,” you say, and you’ll be right. In a sense. But if procrastination is the exception rather than the rule, why do we feel like it's the other way around?

It's all about memory, not behavior. For example, you remember a family trip in early childhood because your parents accidentally left your little brother at the gas station. Why do you remember this? Because this is a remarkable event, and something remarkable is easier to remember.

Every day we do a lot of things that are simply not remembered, because they are so familiar that they have become a part of our life. We just do what is right today and what we think will be right in the long run. There is nothing remarkable about this.

We notice the rest of the activities and associate them with procrastination.

Why do we postpone some things and do not postpone others

Imagine that you are nature and you need the human race to flourish. Some human behavior leads to good consequences, others - to bad. You naturally want the person to behave well, and there are two ways.

On the one hand, you can equip the human brain with a kind of computer that will make predictions based on behavior. So a person will be able to choose which behavior will benefit him most.

On the other hand, you can simply hack into existing brain patterns and make good behaviors enjoyable and bad ones not.

Most often, nature chooses the second path. The limbic system, one of the oldest parts of the human brain (and of many other species), was created to guide the body towards food and guard against dangers. Soon, nature understood how to use this system to force a person to take actions that will give a positive result in the future. You just need to make the right actions pleasant here and now, while the wrong ones should bring discomfort.

Procrastination and evolution
Procrastination and evolution

Fatty and sugary foods are so delicious because in a world where the main thing is to find food and survive, a person who consumes more high-calorie foods has a better chance of living and reproducing. Our ancestors became our ancestors because their natural inclinations and emotions generally served them well, improving their chances of having offspring.

How to be even less lazy

But why do we still have problems with paying taxes on time, exercising regularly and taking the right drugs? Why are we not doing these beneficial actions?

Because the environment has changed faster than our brains. Pension funds, sedentary lifestyles, medications - all of this has appeared relatively recently. From the point of view of evolution - literally a moment ago.

Too little time has passed for, as a result of natural selection, a group of people stood out, easily doing what is needed to survive in our world. These features did not have time to gain a foothold in the genome and be passed on to offspring.

But until nature has caught up with technical progress, we need to somehow exist with what we have. So if you want to be less lazy, you need to make the task more attractive to you here and now.

This means minimizing any unpleasant moments associated with good behavior and building a bunch of barriers to distractions.

If you're too lazy to go to the gym regularly, try to make your workouts more engaging. For example, do a sport you enjoy, go to the gym with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while exercising.

By introducing elements of pleasure into unattractive activities, you increase the likelihood that you will complete the task. Moreover, naturally, without exerting willpower and additional motivation.