Small steps to over­come lazi­ness

The Washington Post Sunday - - DANCE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Amy’s col­umn ap­pears seven days a week at wash­ing­ton­post.com/ad­vice. Write to askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com or Amy Dick­in­son, Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, 16650 West­grove Dr., Suite 175, Ad­di­son, Tex. 75001. You can also fol­low her @ask­ingamy. ©2017 by

Dear Amy: How do you help a lazy per­son be­come more healthily ac­tive, when the lazy per­son is yourself ?

I’ve dealt with de­pres­sion all my life and think I’ve made a lot of head­way (with the help of ther­apy) over the years.

I’ve reached the point where there are things I can imag­ine do­ing and en­joy­ing that will re­quire some self-dis­ci­pline and en­ergy to achieve, such as sav­ing money or keep­ing my home cleaner and pret­tier.

But in­er­tia and day­dream­ing take over, and an­other day goes by, and an­other and an­other.

At work, by the way, I’m a great em­ployee. I’m dili­gent and hard­work­ing; I en­joy mak­ing my bosses happy with my ef­forts. I sus­pect that part of my prob­lem is that I still lack mo­ti­va­tion to make my­self happy.

Maybe my sit­u­a­tion is a bit ex­treme, but I’m sure many of your read­ers strug­gle with find­ing the en­ergy or the mo­ti­va­tion to over­come one’s own lazi­ness. I’d ap­pre­ci­ate any sug­ges­tions you have!

Try­ing to Be My Own Magic Wand Try­ing to Be My Own Magic Wand: I give you ma­jor props for fig­ur­ing out and de­scrib­ing your chal­lenge, and for un­der­stand­ing that you hold the key to pos­i­tive change.

I’ve dealt with de­pres­sion and in­er­tia, too. In my new book, I de­scribe my own ef­forts to re­cover and change.

Here are some ideas for small things you can de­ter­mine to do, which will lead you in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion:

Break down your de­sired ef­forts into very small and achiev­able com­po­nents, such as “open and cat­e­go­rize to­day’s mail,” “clean the in­side of the car” or (on a week­end) “pack up one box for do­na­tion.” Make a list and check off each item af­ter com­ple­tion.

Fly­lady.net is a fa­vorite start­ing point for many peo­ple seek­ing trans­for­ma­tion through baby steps. Fly­lady says to start by clean­ing and shin­ing your kitchen sink.

Make your bed. Even if your bed­room is a mess, and even if you don’t achieve much else, your bed will be a pris­tine and clean space each day.

You are very good at work­ing hard to please oth­ers. So plan to have com­pany over for cof­fee or a meal. Know­ing that some­one will be in your home will in­spire (force) you to tidy and pre­pare.

Join a group. For me, singing with a lo­cal choir once a week helped to shake loose the in­er­tia in the rest of my life.

Use a “buddy” to in­spire and hold you ac­count­able. Walk­ing with a friend right af­ter work a few times a week will give you more en­ergy to face the chal­lenge at home.

There’s an app for that: A fit­ness wrist­band and/or fit­ness app will help you to see your progress in real terms. I’m sure read­ers will want to help.

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