Is Lethargy Stopping You from Reaching Your Goals?

Lethargy is determined by periods of tiredness where you can hardly engage in constructive activities. During these periods, it is hard to focus on life objectives and engagements. It is also associated with abnormal drowsiness or a state of sluggishness. Lethargy often occurs without any pathological cause. When you have been physically engaged for some time, you may tend to experience lethargy before going on to do the next task. Lethargy is caused by mental and physical exhaustion. Consider the activities of a student towards the end of a semester. This is a time when the student has to hand in all the assignments given in the course of the semester and at the same time prepare for end of semester examinations. When the semester comes to an end, the student is totally exhausted both physically and mentally. Lethargy is caused by overworking the brain and the body. During such a time, individuals experience increased fatigue and tiredness with no energy to engage in other activities. Therefore, if a student had planned to work on a project immediately after completing end of semester examinations, it may turn out to be impossible if the student gets lethargic.

Lethargy is associated with procrastination which further jeopardizes individual attempt to realize personal and team goals. In the state of extended exhaustion, it is often hard to make good plans. If there are prior plans which had been made in line with a specific engagement, it gets hard to push and ensure that the set goals and objectives are realised. Procrastination makes a person to fail on pre-committed tasks and engagements. This can be caused by lethargy when one feels there is no energy left to commit to more tasks. Lethargy can be a perceived state at times. Just before engaging in a major activity, the mind may be sluggish trying to plan on how to deliberate upon it and realise the best results. Without realising, a considerable amount of precious time is lost as one oscillates between different approaches to use to realise the desired results. Lethargy reduces productivity.
When the brain is tired, it is hard to make proper decisions. Today’s workplace environments are defined by the need to be highly creative and innovative to match the competitiveness of the different industries. Lethargic individuals cannot meet the demands of a creative and innovative workplace. In that state, it is less likely that they will respond to emerging issues promptly and offer immediate solutions. Employers will easily identify individuals suffering from lethargy and most likely dismiss them. In mechanical engagements, lethargy can even cause major accidents. Take an example of a person who is manning a major segment of a production unit. In such a position, it is important to remain responsive and ensure that the activities in that section are accomplished as required. If one is suffering lethargy, drowsiness and lack of energy, it is hardly possible to monitor the activities. This will either lead to compromised quality of materials produced by the company or an accident due to negligence. Remedies should therefore be sought immediately to ensure that there is optimal production in any unit of production.

What You Can Do to Curb Lethargy?

There are ten practical ways to fight fatigue and realize your dreams.

1. Get Enough Sleep
Fatigue can highly reduce our productivity and realisation of set goals and objectives. Mental and physical fatigue can be addressed by; having enough sleep. When working under intense pressure, it is common to receive inadequate sleep before waking up and continuing with daily activities. This causes fatigue and reduction in productivity. Decent night sleep allows your mind to settle and also helps in muscle recovery. Thus, you’ll have new energy to take on a new day and realise the day’s dreams.

2. Seek Medical Advice

Lethargy could be part of symptoms of an underlying illness. If you are is still fatigued after having decent sleep, it could mean there is an underlying medical condition that needs to be looked into. It is advisable to visit a doctor and get diagnosed.

3. Exercise

Exercise beats fatigue. It is advisable to set some time for exercise every day. Exercise grants you a good time to focus and engage the mind and the body. It is also easier to sleep after engaging in vigorous exercise during the day. Physical fitness plays an important role in realising mental fitness and managing fatigue.

4. Change Your Work Environment

It is important to change the environment one spends much time. For instance, in this era where some individuals spend much of the time indoors working on freelance and virtual projects, it is important to have a walk and have a different experience. A monotonous routine yields fatigue and lethargy. Productivity goes down making it hard to realise set goals and dreams.

5. Take the Right Diet  

Eating the right food can go a long way to manage fatigue and symptoms coming with it. Food taken should have enough energy to take you throughout the day. Eating a lot of fatty foods can play a major role in bringing about bloating and an uncomfortable state. The food taken should address individual energy needs.
6. Set Achievable Micro and Macro Goals

Setting micro and macro goals reduce fatigue and disorientation. After long and hard tasks, it is possible to experience fatigue and exhaustion. Most often, there is limited- to no- energy left to engage in the next task. This is the high time to set short-term and long-term goals to ensure that one keeps going towards achieving the next objective. Try setting milestones and assign specific timelines and stick to the plan. Within a short time, it would be possible to fully focus and achieve the remaining part of the project.

7. Pray and Meditate

Prayer and meditation reduce fatigue and exhaustion. Sometimes fatigue is caused by stress. During such times, it is important to engage the mind in an activity that allows it to clear and focus on the past and the future. Prayer and meditation yield confidence and new energy to go on. Even if you’re not religious, try mediation at least. The power of meditation (and, better, with prayer) should not be ignored in mind relaxation.

8. Avoid Self-Blame

Self-blame increases fatigue and reduces productivity. Sometimes, after wasting some time procrastinating, individuals are too hard on themselves piling much pressure on the brain. This further reduces the chances of realizing individual goals. Just start all over and leave the past which you can’t change no matter how hard you beat yourself.

9. Redefine Your Goals

After losing some time or failing in a given project, it is important to take some time off to reflect and recollect. Get new energy to focus and achieve new goals. Set achievable goals. Unrealised goals can be a major source of fatigue. If a set goal is not achieved, always go back to the drawing board and draw an alternative plan.

10. Do not Give Excuses
Lastly, avoid excuses and create consistency. Consistency is associated with successful people. Excuses create room for laziness and ineptness. Lost time cannot be recovered. However, with clear and achievable goals, lost goals can be recovered and achieved. Mental and physical fitness are needed to realize these goals and dreams.

Thanks for taking your time to read these notes. Please feel free to leave your comments, or to share with others if you wish to do so.

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Rabia S. Sa'id, PhD
  • Associate Professor of Physics
    Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
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  • Ford Foundation International Fellow (2002)
  • Fellow of the African Scientific Institute (2013)
  • OWSD/ Elsevier Foundation Award in Physics (2015)


  1. I needed this now. It is most dangerous for people who work for themselves or are in "one man" business scenarios. Before you know it, the year is over or events have overtaken your plans.

    1. Thank you Wole Okunnuga. I don't know why the system said "Unknown." You are correct. Lethargy has cost us all a fortune.

  2. Timely suggestions. It's time to stop beating myself up, and move one. Thanks so much Dr. Said.


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