What would be a descriptive word, term, or adjective for a person who has the knowledge, skills and ability to achieve a desired goal (like getting to work on time, or paying off a small debt), but they just lack the discipline to do so? Perhaps they have achieved the goal in the past so they know what will work, yet they revert back to the bad habits that produce the opposite results of what they claim to want.

  • A literary answer might be "Bartleby."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 23 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


There is the phrase can't be bothered to do something. Obviously not an adjective, but expresses what you describe. It means:

be unwilling to make the effort needed to do something. (OxfordL)

As an adjective, I thought of indolent, because a lazy person is not stopped from doing something because they are incompetent or unable, but because they can't be bothered to do the effort. They choose not to do it. The FreeDictionary defines indolent as

not inclined to exert oneself, slothful; conducive to laziness, languorous

  • Ladies lying on chaise longues are languorous.
    – Lambie
    Jul 21 at 16:36
  • English seems to have have a lot of words with subtly different meanings, like lazy, indolent, shiftless, apathetic, slug-a-bed, slothful, languorous, torpid, unindustrious, decadent, dilatory, chilling, laggardly, procrastinatory, tripping, vacant... Without knowing more from the OP, it is hard to pin down the precise shade of meaning.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 22 at 10:16
  • @StuartF True, but sometimes answers to my own questions helped me pinpoint more clearly what exactly I was looking for...
    – fev
    Jul 22 at 10:25

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