How to Stop Being Lazy & Get Motivated

06 May, 2019
Q As-Salamu Alaykum.

I have been suffering from laziness and have been unmotivated for some time. This has taken a serious toll on my academic studies and my journey to become a hafiz. There are times when I make du'aa' to Allah (azzawajal) and truly try to change myself, and for a week or two (or at times for a couple of days), I become motivated. However, this is usually temporary.

I feel I am also a victim of Satan's whispering as I am unable to focus on something for a long period of time. Can you give me some advice or du'aa' of the Prophet (PBUH) on changing my lazy habits and living a productive life? Jazakallahkahir.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• When you feel like you are not making any progress, it is time to stop, rest, and reset.

• You will need to determine if you are feeling ambivalence, confused about your life goals, or simply burned out.

• Start this with developing your Personal Mission Statement. Ask yourself what you want to be written about you in your obituary when you die. What are you here on this Earth for? What are you here to give the world and humanity?

• Write out your 20-year goals.

• Breaking things down like this makes it all seem “doable”, and you can integrate time spent with family and friends so that you have a more balanced life.

• Pray to Allah (swt) for guidance and to show you where you are going.


Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salam,

Laziness is not a natural state. When people tell me that they have become lazy, it is usually a situation where they feel ambivalence about what they are doing and, therefore, their original passion and inspiration around life seem to have gone. You are also a very young man; therefore, you may be undecided about your life goals and where you feel you are being led.  Sometimes, such ambivalence can leave a person vulnerable to distractions that will end up shifting one’s focus away from one’s work.

How to Stop Being Lazy & Get Motivated - About Islam

When you feel like you are not making any progress, it is time to stop, rest, and reset. Instead of becoming distracted by friends, or games on the computer, or other activities that do not serve to help you move forward, take a mini vacation and the time out to really look at where you are in your life and where you want to be in ten years from now.

Start this with developing your Personal Mission Statement. Ask yourself what you want to be written about you in your obituary when you die. What are you here on this Earth for? What are you here to give the world and humanity? Pray to Allah (swt) for guidance and to show you where you are going. Then, map out your path to achieve these goals; keep them in mind when you begin questioning why you are doing this instead of that.

With that said, balance is of equal importance, and sometimes people just get very tired after working very hard, and they really do need some time to regenerate. So, you will need to determine if you are feeling ambivalence, confused about your life goals, or simply burned out.

We have many demands placed on us in our modern “quantum” age. Perhaps, you can read and listen to the Qur’an, chapter by chapter, for an hour per day with the goal of having it memorized in 3 to 5 years (or even 10 years if work and academics cause you to spread yourself to thin).


In this counseling video:


Only you know your circumstances. Often times, if we have many responsibilities in addition to academics and spiritual growth goals and we put it all on ourselves at once, we really can become overwhelmed. Then you just feel too tired to do any of it.

So, write out your 20-year goal: what do you want to be doing when you are 40 years old? Consider also what your 10-year goal would be in order to support your life goal at age 40. Then, with the 10-year goal, plan out the steps you need to take and the pace you need to keep for memorizing the Qur’an.

Now, you will know what is realistic for you to achieve in 5 years. Perhaps, graduating from college in 5 years is a goal for you. If you are going on to higher education, then you will plan to have your academics competed in 10. Perhaps, memorizing the Qur’an will take the same amount of time, and you can consider this memorization as one of your steps.

Breaking things down like this makes it all seem “doable”, and you can integrate time spent with family and friends so that you have a more balanced life. This will more than likely help you with the condition that you are calling “laziness”. It might restore your original inspiration and passion.

Remember, nafs (soul) and ego can play with us when we decide to dedicate ourselves to a noble path, to submit to the will of Allah, and to serve humanity. It all sounds so grand, so pious, and so special. But, in reality, we’re just very much desired to revert to that pure state that we were created in, like everyone else.

We are not the star of any show; we are not individual heroes or heroines. We have simply created beings, feeling a pull toward the source of being; the light that is contained within our vessels is on this earth for a short while. Yet, the work that we came here to do is important, and you are important.

So, your focus is important. Yes, we all want to make a difference, yet the difference that we are destined to make will manifest only when we surrender to that destiny. Destiny means nothing more than the fulfillment of the will of Allah (swt) just like a fruit tree which fulfills its destiny when it produces fruit. One fruit tree is not greater or more worthy of Allah’s (swt) sunshine and water than any other fruit tree. But we definitely need both the fruit tree and its fruit. Thus, there is much importance and meaning in fulfilling your life mission.

So, often times, people who are on the correct path become ambivalent about their path and question themselves as to why they’re doing this at all. This is normal. When the conclusion is because one can’t really go in another direction, and that one simply must continue the current path, then one has arrived and will be activated. But traveling through this stage of ambivalence is necessary and common. It should not be interpreted as laziness.

By asking yourself some questions, such as why you have chosen the path you are on and exploring your life purpose and mission, you can resolve the ambivalence. Once that ambivalence is resolved, if you still feel guided to stay on the path of hafiz and academics toward a profession, you will no doubt find the motivation to tend to your daily routine tasks that are part of the process with a bigger vision and firmly planted in your heart and mind.

Let me know if this is helpful, and please write in if you feel there is more to cover.

Salaam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Motivation in the Life of a Muslim

Lazy Brothers: What Can We Do?

Tips from the Prophet’s Life to Overcome Laziness

About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.