Skipping training out of laziness

Ivan

Black Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
665
Reaction score
386
Hello everyone. As you all know I consider myself very dedicated to my training. I take pride in being the guy who doesn’t take days off training, unless necessary, and this is part of my core identity. However, I have recently been getting a bit too complacent and lazy and have skipped over more sessions than I’d like to admit, purely out of laziness.

I was wondering whether you had any advice on how to return to my usual dedicated and disciplined self. How do you overcome laziness and how do you cope with the guilt of being lazy? Thanks.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,545
Reaction score
4,273
Location
Michigan
Hello everyone. As you all know I consider myself very dedicated to my training. I take pride in being the guy who doesn’t take days off training, unless necessary, and this is part of my core identity. However, I have recently been getting a bit too complacent and lazy and have skipped over more sessions than I’d like to admit, purely out of laziness.

I was wondering whether you had any advice on how to return to my usual dedicated and disciplined self. How do you overcome laziness and how do you cope with the guilt of being lazy? Thanks.
In my case, it's pretty easy because I am not just a student, I also volunteer my time teaching at the dojo. Because of this, I have a responsibility; I said I would be there, and if I'm not, there are fewer instructors to help teach. Even when I don't want to train for whatever reason, I make myself go because I believe in personal responsibility; I am a person whose word is their bond.

As to showing up in general, it's down to self-discipline and habit. I used to run daily when I was in the Marine Corps. I hated it for quite a while, but did it because I knew I needed to do it. It finally became habit, and I not only ran every day, but I looked forward to it and felt bad if I missed a day. However, eventually I broke that habit, and now as an old fat man I pay the price for that decision.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
1,523
Location
UK
Arnold recommends ‘not thinking’. You just get up, get your kit on and go out to train. Don’t pause, don’t delay for anything such as fluffing all the pillows in the house or grooming the dog as these things will allow you to think and talk yourself out of training. It really works, especially on frosty mornings.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
1,523
Location
UK
I once wrote an article about the science of habit formation for my old Iaido dojo’s webpage. It might be helpful.

Making Your Iaido-Training a Habit

‘Habits are actions that are triggered automatically in response to contextual cues that have been associated with their performance.’ Dr Philipa Lally, UCL.

For example, the cue may be getting into a car, the habit is reaching for the seatbelt. Or waking up in the morning, walking into the bathroom and getting in the shower.

What forges that habit is repetition. There are stages to forming a habit-

  1. The initiation phase is the toughest stage, where you are essentially working against the grain of your previous behaviour .
  2. The learning phase where one develops automaticity where the habit builds momentum.
  3. The stability phase is where you have a full blown habit. This is the point where it feels strange not to do something than to do it.
There is a myth that a habit takes 21 days to develop, however research shows that it takes on average 60 days (and even up to 254 days ) to develop. Missing the occasional day’s practise seems to not be a problem but missing consecutive days or even a week derails the whole process.

Situational contexts are stronger than timing contexts, thus walking into the bathroom and showering is stronger than showering at a certain time of day, but temporal and spatial contexts are synergistic.

See if you can use these findings to turn you Iaido training, even at home in this lockdown, into a real habit that will keep you hooked for ever!
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,801
Reaction score
5,692
Sounds like normal life to me. I guess I treat my laziness in more of a spiritual context. By this, I mean there is a reason why I feel "lazy" maybe I need the break. Maybe I need to be somewhere and I just don't know it yet. For me I've just learn to go with the flow. The only thing I truly watch out for is bring lazy for too long.

If I'm finding myself saying that I'll go tomorrow, but I never do then I get up to go. When things get to that point I begin to think something is trying to stop me from doing something that is good for me. For me this keeps laziness from taking me out of the game completely and the worst case scenario is that my body got some rest.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,801
Reaction score
5,692
I forgot to give a tip. Always have a recovery plan. If you are going to be lazy then have a plan to get out of laziness and back into training. You have to have some kind of "safety valve" that cuts the laziness off before it becomes a difficulty to get out of laziness.

It could be as easy as determining a limit for lazy days in one week. Or you can determine the minimum days a week that you will allow for training. Mine is 2 days. At minimum I should workout at least twice a week due to laziness.
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
7,542
Reaction score
7,554
Location
Lexington, KY
First, realize that it's okay to take days off sometimes. Sometimes your brain and body are telling you that you need to take a break for a reason.

That said, sometimes your slacker side is working to convince you to stay home and do nothing productive, when you would have been much happier if you had just made it in to the gym. Part of keeping yourself healthy and motivated long term is learning to tell the difference between genuinely needing recovery time vs self-sabotaging slackerhood. It's not always easy to do.

As Bill mentions, one thing that helps is having some sort of external commitment that requires you to make it in to the gym at least a couple of days per week. I've been teaching regularly for the last 15 years or so and it's been a big help. I have to show up at least a couple of days to teach and once I'm there it gets me motivated to keep up my own training. Obviously you're not yet at the level to start teaching, but perhaps you can find some other form of external commitment. Maybe one of your fellow students is interested in getting in some extra drilling after class and you can make a promise to show up and do that with them.

Psychological momentum is just as real as physical momentum. When you are showing up and training regularly, it's easier to keep on showing up and training regularly. If you take a whole week off, it's easier to take another week off ... and then another. So even if you are feeling burned out or exhausted and need a break, it can be helpful to just temporarily reduce your days per week rather than completely drop out for a longer period.

Another thing that can help is allowing yourself to just relax and have fun with class rather than treating it as a serious workout or an opportunity to competitively prove yourself. Sometimes we reach a certain level of proficiency and success in sparring and then it can become an obstacle because we expect it from ourselves every time. On certain days your body might be feeling a bit run down, your brain might be lacking focus, and you get the feeling that this is the day when the sparring partner you normally trounce without trying hard is going to kick your *** and you'll be gasping for air the whole time. It helps if you can let go of the ego and just say "hey, this is one of those days I'm probably going to get smashed. No big deal. I'm just going to keep it playful and see what sort of weird positions I might get into.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
1,523
Location
UK
I’d be cautious. The research shows that taking consecutive days or worse, a week off can derail your attempt at turning your training into a habit which is what long term martial arts training actually is.

Grit your teeth, get off your backside go to your class. Don’t think about it. Do it! Put down that cookie!
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,801
Reaction score
5,692
I’d be cautious. The research shows that taking consecutive days or worse, a week off can derail your attempt at turning your training into a habit which is what long term martial arts training actually is.

Grit your teeth, get off your backside go to your class. Don’t think about it. Do it! Put down that cookie!
What cookie? Num num..
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,950
Reaction score
4,445
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
How do you overcome laziness ...?
Laziness may happen if what you do is not fun enough. If you can design a training program that you enjoy of doing daily, you will miss your training even if you just miss 1 day. So how to design a fun training program is the issue.

MA training to me is like battery charging. I need to keep my battery fully charged so I can feel good. For example, if I don't stretch one day, I will feel tight next day. If I stretch every day, I feel I can fly like a bird. That's a good feeling to have.
 
Last edited:

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,285
Reaction score
7,991
I’d be cautious. The research shows that taking consecutive days or worse, a week off can derail your attempt at turning your training into a habit which is what long term martial arts training actually is.

Grit your teeth, get off your backside go to your class. Don’t think about it. Do it! Put down that cookie!
That is solid advice. Sometimes there is no trick.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
1,523
Location
UK
That is solid advice. Sometimes there is no trick.
Yeah, I hate being the person to say ‘get on with it’ as it’s often as helpful as suggesting an addict ‘just stops’, but in this case, as you say, there’s no trick.
 

bluepanther

Orange Belt
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
96
Reaction score
18
Burn out is real, especially after years of consistency. Maybe schedule a "de-load" week every 12 weeks or so to just vacation and get the desire back. Having scheduled time off may help push through knowing there is a relaxing light and the end of the tunnel.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
1,523
Location
UK
I have to admit, I’m taking 3-4 months off MA training because I’m wasn’t enjoying it, or rather training with my teacher at his dojo (for complex reasons and not laziness!). I think and read about my art continually but I’m not missing training which my teacher warned might be the case as it was for him, until I start training again.

There’s a young lady from my old dojo, up north who’s moved to near me down south (I’ve never met her) who wants me to teach her Iaido one-to-one and I was going to use this to get back in the dojo. But she seems to be busy with her studies to organise anything, so that looks like it‘s unlikely to happen.

In the meantime I’m weight training really hard and trying a few unusual classes such as ‘functional fitness’ to improve my balance, flexibility and stamina. I’m informally personally training a lovely woman from the functional fitness class in weight training which I enjoy very much. But swinging my sword….🤷🏾
 

HighKick

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2023
Messages
470
Reaction score
180
Hello everyone. As you all know I consider myself very dedicated to my training. I take pride in being the guy who doesn’t take days off training, unless necessary, and this is part of my core identity. However, I have recently been getting a bit too complacent and lazy and have skipped over more sessions than I’d like to admit, purely out of laziness.

I was wondering whether you had any advice on how to return to my usual dedicated and disciplined self. How do you overcome laziness and how do you cope with the guilt of being lazy? Thanks.
For most people going through the usual phases of life, it is more often the external influences that cause the 'laziness'. A person can only have so much on their plate before things start falling off. Yes, some folks plate is bigger than others, but the premise still applies.
So, step back and assess everything that is taking up your time. What else in your day-to-day has changed? Or, has anything in your day-to-day made your routine more difficult? Has travel become a bigger issue for example?
Time slicing is a very real need for most people who live a hectic life. For you, it may mean you are not able to dedicate the same amount of time to training that you previously could, but that does Not mean you stop training!
If none of this applies, maybe you just need to schedule in some mental breaks. A day off here or there for recovery and reflection.
And there is the stark reality of getting to extensive experience or fitness level. It is easier for the 'hunger' to subside, and the drive and passion can wane, making it harder to keep training. This is when most people who continue martial arts training for a lifetime learn that there is more to it than just physical training. When taking a physical break, I am almost always reading or studying something martial arts related. It helps keep you focused on your craft, and you never know when you will find something new to work on.
Don't get discouraged or overly hard on yourself. Think of retooling your routine to find the spark again.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,865
Reaction score
10,410
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Hello everyone. As you all know I consider myself very dedicated to my training. I take pride in being the guy who doesn’t take days off training, unless necessary, and this is part of my core identity. However, I have recently been getting a bit too complacent and lazy and have skipped over more sessions than I’d like to admit, purely out of laziness.

I was wondering whether you had any advice on how to return to my usual dedicated and disciplined self. How do you overcome laziness and how do you cope with the guilt of being lazy? Thanks.
I haven't read other replies yet, so I'm probably repeating some things.

Firstly, I think you're being too derogatory about yourself. There's a very real chance this has nothing to do with laziness - it may be more about motivation and focus. If your training isn't interesting you, it may be for any number of reasons, including there being other things your brain needs to focus on. There were definitely times in my training when I had little motivation to train, because other things were a priority for me, leaving me without enough mental energy to really train well. And there were other times when I was at the dojo more than 20 hours a week.

So start by asking why you're not feeling the drive to get in. Have you burned yourself out (in which case, taking it easy for a bit may be good for your long-term development)? Is something else a necessary priority (in which case, you should do what you must there, and do what you can with your training)? Or is it just a lack of drive?

That last one is more difficult, IMO. Because it could be a short-term thing - could even be a bout of laziness (which isn't a problem unless it causes a problem). Or it could be that you're losing interest in what you're training. I've known people who changed arts because they lost interest in what they were doing. Some will see that as not being dedicated, but I don't. For some folks, it's not about a specific art, but about the learning, and when that learning doesn't appeal, why should they try to force it?

Examine why you're training. If it's really important, then make it hard to not go. One "easy" way to do that is to make a deal with another student that you'll see them 20 minutes before class each time to practice something together. That commitment to a specific person makes it really hard to back out on yourself. (You can do the same by arranging to carpool with another student, if that's a possibility.)

That said, if tricking yourself into going means you go and half-*** it, because you're not really into it, then look deeper.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,865
Reaction score
10,410
Location
Hendersonville, NC
I’d be cautious. The research shows that taking consecutive days or worse, a week off can derail your attempt at turning your training into a habit which is what long term martial arts training actually is.

Grit your teeth, get off your backside go to your class. Don’t think about it. Do it! Put down that cookie!
Anyone who has taught, or even been around a dojo/gym a long time, knows that if someone has an interruption for a week, there's a very real chance they never make it back. The less habitual their attendance, the bigger that chance gets.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,801
Reaction score
5,692
Anyone who has taught, or even been around a dojo/gym a long time, knows that if someone has an interruption for a week, there's a very real chance they never make it back. The less habitual their attendance, the bigger that chance gets.
I don't worry until 2 weeks go by. I try to build bonds with people so that they have other reasons to show up for martial arts. The company that we keep plays a deep role as to who comes back after a long time.

If those relationships aren't there then it's easier to walk away. When I go missing people ask about me. When they go missing and come back always tell them it's good to see them again.

poetically speaking, warriors on the same path is a good feeling to be around.
 
Top