So, I learned something really interesting about willpower and making healthy decisions!
Did you know there is something called "decision fatigue?"
It is really fascinating and helps explain a lot about our behavior when it comes to making decisions!
Several studies have been done that demonstrate that the more a person faces daily decisions, which we all do, the harder it is for them to make "good" decisions.
We all hear the word "willpower" and chastise ourselves if we feel we have "no willpower."
The fact is, we all have willpower and it is something that has to be managed.
Much like we take care of our bodies, we have to take care of our willpower. If we overuse it, it becomes tired and worn out. Hence, we make unhealthy decisions.
So if you think you have "no willpower", that is just not true! We all have it! It just matters how you take care of it!
So think in terms of how you would manage your body for a team event or a workout. You would prepare ahead of time and fuel your body. When you got tired, you would rest. The same goes for our willpower.
The studies concluded that in the morning, when they were fueled and fresh, the study participants made quick and more positive decisions. As the day went on, their decision making ability waned. Then after a meal, such as lunch, the decision making improved again.
We can take what this study revealed and use it to our benefit when it comes to making healthy choices
Let's narrow it down so it is easier for us.
We can use these 5 techniques to help us avoid decision fatigue:
1. Plan your decisions the night before
We all have many decisions we make every day. Some of those decisions could be planned out ahead of time and save your willpower and decision making skills from wasting time on routine decisions. For example, what to have for dinner, what to wear for the day, what you have to do today, etc. Those routine decisions could be planned out ahead of time and save some of the energy you are using for bigger decisions that are bound to come up in our daily lives.
2. Prioritize your decisions
Just like what was mentioned in the study about decision fatigue, the best decisions are made in the morning when the body and mind are fresh. So take time to prioritize your day and see what needs to be done first and what is most important to you for the day. That is where your focus needs to be so you can be sharp and make a good decision. For example, perhaps it is planning your workout for the day. Wake up early enough to get your workout done, then you won't be decision fatigued at the end of the day and convince yourself to skip it.
3. Make commitments rather than decisions
Make time for yourself and make commitments. This way, it is on your schedule and it is a decision that does not need to be made. Make your schedule and fill it with good decisions you want to accomplish. This will help avoid decision fatigue as the day progresses. It also helps avoid waiting for your willpower to kick in, you will have it written down on your planner and that will help you succeed.
4. Keep your body fueled
If you have to make important decisions later in the day, which most of us do, be sure to fuel your body with a good healthy meal or healthy snack. It will recharge your willpower and brain and allow you to make the better decision.
5. Keep it simple
If you feel overwhelmed with too many decisions for the day or you feel you always have to be at the top of your game with decision making, simplify your life. Cut out things that really don't matter right now and keep the focus on the most important decisions. That way you won't waste energy and time trying to over do your decision making skills.
We ALL have willpower and we can groom it and take care of it so that it works well for us.
Avoid decision fatigue and put these five steps into your life today!
To read more detail about the studies we discussed, see the entire article:
Hat tip: James Clear, LifeHack.org (https://www.lifehack.org/317884/how-willpower-works-the-science-decision-fatigue-and-how-avoid-bad-decisions)
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