3 Tricks To Fight Everyday Decision Fatigue
If you’re like me, you’re probably faced with a TON of health-related decisions from the moment you start your day.
Healthy breakfast or grab something on the run?
Get a workout in early or try for after work?
Whether we like it or not, these seemingly small decisions can add up quickly. And with the way the world is heading, it doesn’t look like this is going to get easier any time soon.
The worst part?
These little decisions can pile on fast and cause something called Decision Fatigue, which can lead to increased stress, lower energy levels, and possibly the worst… moodiness.
This is clearly a problem. Caring for your state of mind is as important as caring for your physical health.
Because not only is your mental health home to your willpower (the grit that keeps you focused on your healthy habits), it has an even more important role in your life…
It keeps you HAPPY!
Now considering most of us lead busy lives, chances are we’re all affected by Decision Fatigue in one way or another.
But with a few simple step we can begin to fight back.
First, you need to realize something very important…
Just like you can overwork your muscles, your brain also reaches a tipping point after too many decisions.
Simply put: Decision Fatigue is a byproduct of too many choices.
Now, having choices is not a bad thing. But when we have to make too many decisions about too many things, we hit a wall.
Again it’s a lot like your muscles - with each decision you flex, flex, flex your brain until the point of fatigue. Then at some point, shut down!
Decision Fatigue is the enemy of mental stamina.
Let me give you one example of how brands actually take advantage of Decision Fatigue. I’m sure you’ve noticed that impulse products are always strategically positioned right by the checkout register at grocery stores.
Well it’s for a reason…
After making decision after decision throughout the store, your willpower is sapped and you’re more likely to grab that unhealthy snack…
Good for the brands. Bad for your waistline.
So how do you start to fight back?
Top Tips To Avoid Decision Fatigue
This may sound a little crazy (or obvious), but the first thing I always recommend to stop Decision Fatigue in its tracks is to….
Take decision making out of the equation.
I know you’re thinking, “Sure, easier said than done. How can you NOT make decisions?”
It’s actually not as hard as it seems. What I do instead is make non-negotiables and commitments.
By streamlining some of my decision making with set responses, I remove the back and forth of decision making that can erode my resolve through the day.
Here’s what it looks like:
WHEN TO WORKOUT
Will I work out in the morning, afternoon, or evening? For me, that’s not a valid question.
I preset my workout time. Same time every day. Non-negotiable.
It’s not a daily decision anymore, it’s just the way it is. I know I’m going to workout at that time, and foregoing the decision allows me to save my mental energy for other things - like pushing through a challenging workout.
One way to reinforce your commitment is to get a training partner and set your workout times with them. It’s even less of a decision if someone else is counting on you.
You can make the commitment to yourself (and your training partner if you have one) and you follow through.
The LESS time you spend thinking about how, when, and where you will work out, the MORE time you can spend achieving your fitness goals.
WHAT TO EAT
Here’s a common one all of us have faced:
What should I have for dinner? (Sound familiar?)
Not an issue. Try investing a little bit of time at the beginning of the week (Sunday is a good option) making a weekly meal plan. It will simplify your life and make dinner a no-brainer.
Done like turkey!
Using weekly meal plans doesn’t just help me stay on top on my healthy eating, I get the bonus of preserving my precious mental energy.
And you can too!
WHAT TO WEAR
Now how about this one…
Have you ever stared idly into your closet wondering what you should wear today? Minutes pass by and ambivalence sets in.
Forget about procrastinating over clothes, just streamline it!
After you plan out your weekly meals, take 10 minutes to move 5 outfits to the front of your closet, based on your upcoming activities for the week.
Set it and forget it!
I know you might be thinking, “BUT this is SO regimented and boring. I’m not a robot!”
I hear your concerns and give you this challenge: try it for ONE month and see how it feels. The goal here is to make your life easier and free up your time for the things you enjoy.
And what about days where you know you won’t be able to avoid a bunch of decisions and you don’t want to get tapped out?
Here’s what you do:
Start early - grab the 3 hardest or most important decisions and run with them early in the day. Save less important things for later when you know you’ll have less mental energy.
Streamline things like what to have for dinner and other unnecessary energy zappers.
REST - give your overworked brain a break and catch a nap or turn in early. Sleep is restorative and just what you need if you’re feeling the mental tiredness that comes with Decision Fatigue.
Tactics To Kick Decision Fatigue For Good
Didn’t catch all of that? No worries…
Here are the 3 tactics in a nutshell:
Make recurring things non-negotiable. Set a meal plan for the week, preset your workout times and stick to them, and plan your wardrobe for the week ahead of time.
REST. Feeling tapped out? Find a quiet place and close your eyes for 5 minutes. Better yet, grab a quick nap or turn in early. You’ll feel more refreshed if you give your brain a break.
Start early. Make important decisions early in the day, saving trivial decisions for later on. Not a morning person? Sketch out your plan the night before and dive in the next day.
My final piece of advice revolves around giving yourself time to get the hang of this. There are going to be unexpected serious decisions, sometimes when you’re already fatigued.
It will take commitment to yourself on a regular basis to be successful. But know this: making the investment up front pays big dividends in your health, happiness, and wellbeing.
If I can do it, you can too!
Start small and choose one thing to do in the next 30 days.
You can set a meal plan, make a fitness routine, or choose your wardrobe for the week ahead of time.
What one thing will you do in the next month to fight Decision Fatigue?
100% Focus on Happiness - That’s my mantra.