How To Motivate a Lazy Person: 7 Tips to Inspire Positive Change

Once you get a handle on your own lazy tendencies by learning how to stop being lazy, the next hurdle you sometimes have to face is how to deal with a lazy person at home. Let’s talk about some 7 simple tips for how to motivate a lazy person.

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Living With a Lazy Person

So you’ve been working toward conquering laziness in your own life, and things are going pretty well. You’re getting more of your daily list finished, you’re exercising more often, and you’re feeling positive and motivated to continue improving yourself.

There’s just one problem… 

The culture of laziness has invaded your home so deeply that now you realize you aren’t the only one with a problem. So how do you motivate a lazy person who isn’t you? Hmmm… that’s tough… we don’t want any battles on our hands.

You remember how it was when everyone in the family used to be lazy… Nothing got done, and everyone wondered why someone else didn’t do it. Laundry, dinner, dishes, grocery shopping, etc… you know, everything… 

And now that you’re feeling more efficient and less lazy, you’ve probably started doing a few of those things because you know how important they are to your daily routine and happiness.

Yet… deep down, you’re feeling twinges of resentment. Why should everything fall on you? Why isn’t everyone in the house motivated to jump up and pitch in?

Well, the sad truth is that as long as ‘someone’ is doing those chores, nobody is going to rock the boat by actually talking about it. They’re going to sit back and gladly let someone else do the work — because laziness has been the norm, and there’s no reason to change.


How — and Why — To Help a Lazy Person

Motivating a lazy person may actually be more difficult than breaking your own lazy habits. Hey, life is great for them… why change? 

That’s why these tips are important. You will probably be the person who has to manage expectations for everyone involved while inspiring positive change at the same time. 

First, you need to know the answer to this question: What’s your goal in motivating your partner, child, etc.?

Some common reasons for wanting to discourage laziness in the people we live with are:

  • You want to stop feeling resentful or like a martyr
  • You want to help them fulfill their dreams
  • You know family life would improve if everyone could just get off the couch more often

None of those reasons are bad. However, if you’re doing this to relieve your own negative feelings… it probably won’t work as well as truly wanting to build up the other person or having the common goal of a better family life.

Keep that in mind as you read the following tips… 

How Do You Motivate a Lazy Person?

Here are 7 tips for how to motivate a lazy person without starting a world war every day.

1. Lead by example

Keep on doin’ what you’re doin’ by increasing your productivity and decreasing your laziness every day. 

One caveat… this tip is the least likely to be successful on its own. As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, simply watching you do stuff isn’t usually enough motivation to make someone else want to change. 

Eventually you’re going to have to open a dialogue.

man and woman sitting in front of dryers and folding laundry together

2. Talk about it

It’s time to get a feel for what’s running through your partner’s head. Maybe they wish they could stop being lazy, but they’re just as clueless and unmotivated as you used to be.

If that’s the case, fantastic! It means they have the inner desire to change, and you can help them by sharing what’s worked for you. 

The exact same things might not work for them, but some of them will! 

Recommended reading: Atomic Habits by James Clear

3. Work together

What is something that you’ve discussed as, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if…?’

But, that’s as far as the discussion went, because neither of you had enough motivation to make any real changes to make your common dream a reality. 

Well, now is the perfect time to start working toward that dream TOGETHER.

Start the conversation again, and this time come up with some tiny baby steps you can each do to make that dream happen. It doesn’t matter how big or small that dream is!

4. Change your language

Don’t be a nag. 

I actually hate that word and the way it’s usually applied to women, but it’s a common enough term to make my point. 

Setting expectations is one thing, but don’t turn into a mean and petty person just to get someone else to do what you think they should be doing. Have a discussion and come to an agreement.

Also, have patience because changing lazy habits is sooooo difficult. You probably know this if you’ve been through the process.

5. Put some skin in the game

Make a bet. 

It doesn’t have to be about money. But if your partner is the type who responds well and actionably to a challenge like, ‘I’ll bet you can’t run a 5K in two months’ or, ‘I’ll bet you can’t declutter that cabinet in the garage this weekend’ — then it’s worth a try. 

Just be prepared to have to meet the same goal yourself, or compete to see which of you can finish a challenge first — and then pay up. 😉 

6. Inflate their ego

This is kind of the flip side of making a bet or a challenge. 

There is no better way to convince someone to do something than to butter them up. Effective managers have used a praise strategy to build job satisfaction and employee performance for years… because it works!

I’m not saying your home should run like a corporation, but humans nearly always respond positively to sincere compliments.

Flatter them by listing all of the wonderful things about them. Tell them how much you love and care about them or specifically why you want them to be the ones to complete this task.

If your partner or family member is feeling confident and particularly good about themselves as a whole, they are much more likely to channel their inner productivity to keep up with this ego trip you’ve taken them on.

man and woman clearing out cluttered garage

7. Properly communicate about tasks

Clearly communicating why and how you need a task done is the key to actually getting others to complete it. 

Setting out clear expectations, instructions, and steps for the completion of a task makes it harder for a lazy person to avoid the work. Why? Because with clarity, it’s harder for them to convince themselves that they cannot do it.

For children, that may mean chore charts and visual or audible cues. For adults, it could be verbal agreements and written to-do lists… along with letting go of perfectionist tendencies on everyone’s part.

Communication around a task can also go deeper than instructions. 

Laziness can sometimes be a symptom of a deeper issue. Whether that is mental health related, confusion about the task, or struggles with another person in the home, opening the door for communication can allow you to possibly find the root of the perceived laziness.

What If Nothing I Do Motivates Them?

What if they don’t want to change? That’s tough, but you can still motivate them in a subtle way. Concentrate on leading by example, common goals, and positive phrasing such as, ‘Let’s’ and, ‘I thought maybe we could work on cleaning the basement today.’

If you have tried with all your might to motivate the lazy person in your life and they still won’t budge, it’s important to recognize when it may be time to speak to a professional about your next steps.

Boundaries are important, and inequality in a relationship creates discord everywhere. Staying in the mindset of ‘maybe it’s just easier to keep doing this on my own’ is a huge disservice to yourself and those around you. A professional can help you navigate choices and strategies at the deepest levels.

More Resources

Living An Intentional Life: 7 Powerful Steps to Make It Happen

8 Strategies To Use When Your Partner Refuses to Declutter

Tips for Setting Powerful Goals

Final Thoughts on How To Motivate Someone Who Is Lazy

I know reading a blog post is much easier than taking action, but you are already here! You decided to click on this blog post because you know you need to figure out how to motivate a lazy person. 

Now that you’ve read the post, you can begin to take action!

It’s not impossible, but it can be tricky — and please stay mindful of the fact that all of your energy should not go toward motivating someone else in your life.

Also, motivating a lazy person isn’t an overnight type of thing. 

You know how long it took and how many times you had to restart when you were making changes on yourself, right? Your partner is going to be working through some of the same feelings, and probably all of the same habits. 

There’s no instant success in this deal, but working together and motivating each other can make for a stronger relationship as you Build Your Best Life.

You’ve got this!


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