How to avoid decision fatigue

In moments of low motivation, high stress, or unexpected turmoil, it can be difficult to stay committed to goals and habit change. Good intentions go right down the drain when the sad, overworked, or stressed out brain takes over. In a moment, or in one bite, you’ve taken a turn toward the dark side of motivation and thrown caution to the wind.

How do we plan for these moments of low motivation and chaos so that we stay on track? It’s a matter of acting when motivations are high. For me, this means I need to look to my early mornings and weekends to proactively plan. I will give you two examples. The first is my running schedule. If I relied upon my afternoons or evenings to run, I would not be a runner.  Anyone who knows me, knows that around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I begin walking into walls. I’m not necessarily tired, but I’ve used up most of my energy reserves – I’m ready to wind down. I can still get work done, but if I’ve left my run for later in the day when my motivation is low, and my brain energy is questionable, I will probably suffer decision fatigue that ultimately leads me to decide against it; it’s too hot, too late, too rainy, too cold, too boring, too much traffic, too little time, blah, blah, blah.

And then there’s my diet. You all know I’m a fruit and vegetable super freak. I try to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible which normally means I’ll have homemade soup or salad for lunch….or both. If you’ve ever seen me march into the office in the morning, you’ll see my arms loaded down with a days’ worth of stuff, most importantly, an entire days’ worth of food. My smoothie is contained in my smoothie cup and a quart mason jar for later, I have a thermos of soup, and a container with salad. If I’m working late or have coaching sessions after work, I’ll have more soup and/or salad for my dinner.  It’s a big deal and it’s a lot of food.  If I had to make my food or create a days’ worth of food during the day, especially on a week day, forget it! Instead, I set aside a couple of hours on weekends to make large batches of soup, cut veggies, grind seeds, and in general, get my kitchen in order including filling my freezer with plenty of food for the week. In the morning, when my motivation is high, I get everything organized and off I go.  I have this routine DOWN!!!!  It’s a habit. In fact, much of my life is a ritual. My husband just gets out of the way because he knows nothing gets between me and my smoothie and morning routine.

Decision fatigue. It’s a thing; a real thing. And it exists just to mess with us and throw us off our game. So next weekend, set aside two hours to shop, cut, batch, cook, freeze, and store the various parts of your meals. If it’s not your meals that are your problem, state the problem, decide when your motivation is high, and get prepping. Tonight before I go to bed, my running clothes, shoes and socks will be placed by the front door, my mason jar is by the sink ready to be filled with water first thing so I remember to drink, and my food is packed and ready to go.

Act when your motivation is high to make sure that things are in place for when motivation is low. Research tells us that low motivation rules, so plan to do this every day – every week. Avoid decision fatigue! When is your motivation high? Make your plan now!

Do you struggle with decision fatigue? Does life have a habit of tripping you up, causing you to veer away from your desired destination?  Sign up for a free health strategy session here and enjoy an hour of laser focused coaching on your biggest challenge or question and you’ll walk away with a few next-steps to uplevel your life.