Have you ever had a day where you started off strong, but later found yourself abandoning your workout plans and flopping on the couch with a bowl of ice cream? Decision fatigue might be the culprit behind this temporary loss of willpower. Once you understand why it’s happening, you can get ahead of decision fatigue and see your goals through to success - even when Friends reruns are calling your name.
Research shows that the more decisions we make throughout the day, the more our capacity for willpower and self-control diminishes. This means that after a long day at work, an eventful outing, or during moments of heightened stress, making choices becomes particularly challenging. Whether it's choosing between going for a walk or indulging in a Friends marathon, we often opt for the path of least resistance. While decision fatigue can hinder our ability to maintain healthy habits and stay on track, acknowledging its existence empowers us to prepare and navigate it effectively.
Some days naturally demand more from us, and it's not always easy to predict when decision fatigue will strike. However, we can reduce its impact by eliminating unnecessary daily choices to preserve our decision-making energy for what truly matters (like deciding to hydrate with water or pour another cup of coffee).
There are things that happen every day that you can easily plan ahead for, reducing the need for decision making in the moment. Here are some ideas:
Does meal planning sound especially daunting? Learn more about the July Summer Energy Reset Challenge - complete with a whole month of healthy meals, recipes, and shopping lists to take out the guesswork!
You know how much I love habits, and they are also amazing at combating decision fatigue. By design, habits enable you to perform actions without conscious thought, streamlining your journey toward positive behaviors. Whether it's starting your day with a glass of water, taking a family walk after dinner, or engaging in a nightly journaling practice, habits free you from the burden of decision-making. Once the habit is set, you simply pour that glass of water in the morning, the family puts on their shoes after eating, or you grab your pen and journal when you climb into bed. Easy peasy.
Since you can’t plan for everything (and you probably shouldn’t!), how do you manage when decision fatigue has set in and you’re tempted to write off the rest of the day? Now that you know what’s happening, it’s time for a little self-care. Take fifteen minutes to indulge in a chapter of your favorite book, immerse yourself in your garden for fresh air, enjoy a comforting cup of herbal tea while snuggling with your cat, or listen to uplifting music to shift your mood. Nourishing yourself with a healthy snack like an apple with nut butter can also provide an energy boost.
Remember, it's important to replenish your well-being. After refilling your cup, you'll likely find it easier to regain your focus and get back on track. However, if you still feel overwhelmed, it's okay to grant yourself permission to unwind in your favorite comfy pants and watch a movie. Acknowledging your needs after a challenging day is an act of self-compassion.
If you find yourself frequently exhausted and veering off track, remember that I’m here to support you. I can provide guidance, tools, and strategies to help you navigate decision fatigue and foster long-lasting positive change. Together, we’ll use personalized approaches that align with your unique journey to enable you to create your Extraordinary Life.
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