Decision Fatigue and How it Affects Your Fitness Journey

Decision Fatigue and How it Affects Your Fitness Journey

The term ‘decision fatigue’ is not very common and most people are unaware of it. Wikipedia’s definition is, “decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.”

In simpler words, it just means an individual gets tired when he has to constantly make decisions, and end up making poorer decisions. This is one reason why top leaders and entrepreneurs wear clothes that look the same every single day.

The most famous example is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, who wears the same grey t-shirts daily.

Another example is former President Obama who once quoted, “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

So why are they doing this?

 

  • Keeping the main thing the main thing

One reason why they reduce the number of decisions they make is so that they can stay focused on the issues that matter. If you’re expending mental energy on countless decisions throughout the day, you’re going to be exhausted without realizing it.

Your willpower will be lower and you’ll be more prone to temptations and give in easily. Picture your mind as a finite storehouse of energy. Every single day when you wake up, you have a fixed amount of mental energy to use.

Resisting food temptations, exercising self-discipline to go for your workout instead of skipping it, and many other activities require mental energy. As you use it throughout the day, it gets depleted.

As it gets later in the day, you’re more tired and succumb to taking the path of least resistance more easily. This is one reason why people binge eat at night and/or skip their evening workout sessions. They just can’t summon the mental energy required to stay on track.

 

  • Preventing decision fatigue

The first step to preventing decision fatigue is to have a plan. Ideally, you should have a meal plan for the entire month. This will ensure that you know exactly what to eat daily. All guesswork and decision making are taken out of the equation. You know that if you stick to the plan, you’ll lose weight and get healthier.

The second step will be to prepare all your meals for the week at one go on a Sunday. So, you only make buying decisions once a week and expend energy cooking once a week. The rest of the days you just eat what you’ve prepared and stored in the refrigerator.

This same approach should apply to your training sessions. You must know exactly what you’re going to do before you even step into the gym. Don’t just walk aimlessly around the gym using any old weight machine you stumble upon.

Have a plan and execute it. Take all thinking out of the process. You need to be like a robot following a plan that will lead you to success.

Of course, there will be days when you’re fatigued, etc. On days like these, you should have a contingency plan. Too tired to lift weights at the gym? No problem. Just walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes and go home.

You still got some activity in your day.

Be extremely meticulous in your planning so that you can focus on execution without overthinking the process. If you can do this, it will be much easier to stick to the plan and you’ll not be battling yourself at every turn.

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher

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