With life offering us everything at our disposal there are many times we are placed in a situation in which decisions seem to paralyze our ability to choose. From smartphones (iPhone or Android?), diets (Primal or Paleo or vegan?), cars (electric or gasoline, SUV or sedan?), health plans (PPO, HMO, or health savings account?), to entertainment (TV or Twitter or YouTube or Xbox or Netflix). Our lives are FILLED with so many things to choose from that it becomes debilitating.
When that moment of feeling overwhelmed is called decision fatigue. Making a decision and using your brain which is a muscle, and muscles become fatigued with use. Sometimes when you have too many decisions placed in your path you start to lose will power and self-control, Just consider all the decisions that you need to make daily. You get up in the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face, trudge to the kitchen for something warm and stimulating to drink, and find yourself making decisions very early in the morning. By the time you figure out what you are eating, wearing, going it's already lunch time and you are in a series of decisions that are consuming your life. When you have many options placed in front of you, your ability to make decisions becomes more difficult to do. The less you need to decide the easier it will be.
This is what makes following a plan or schedule so much easier to integrate into your life. It’s a framework for making decisions, so the deliberation time is reduced or even eliminated. You no longer have to waste time and cognitive capacity on daily decisions on what to eat or if you are following a training plan what to workout, because that’s been laid out. You avoid the overwhelming feeling because there are fewer choices, and many of them have already been made for you. There’s wiggle room for personal variability, of course but the big picture items are covered.
You never want to recreate the wheel if you have an idea about a meal plan or training protocol. Usually there is already one that is set into place for you to follow and you can add your own personal flair! Having too many decisions to make can overwhelm your mind and cause you to over think and over analyze situations. So set some ground rules for yourself because they decrease the decision making process. Decide on things in advance. Like what you are going to wear tomorrow or pre-plan your meals for the next day. Know what you’re going to eat for breakfast every morning. Even better, eat the same thing every day.Plan what you’re going to wear the night before.Create a morning routine that is powerful because it creates the ability to streamline your day. Rather than rushing around in a frenzy first thing in the morning, making decisions and using up a ton of your decision capacity, you spend the first part of your day in a beautiful decision-free state.
Narrow down and remove choices that are not important or imperative to your decision at that moment. Don't waste time on decisions that you were not going to consider in the first place.The perfect choice doesn’t exist. The idea that it does exist is the enemy of even approaching perfection. Good is good enough.
Avoiding decision fatigue and decision paralysis aren’t just important for making better choices, being more productive, and “winning” at life. They’re also crucial for simply being happy, reducing stress, and removing mental clutter. By being human it is our ability to think about thinking, to analyze and overanalyze, to weigh the pros and cons and be weighed down by them. If we can eliminate any extraneous decision-making and analysis by planning, routine, automation, and maybe even relinquishing a little control, I think it’s a good idea to do so.