Avoiding Decision Fatigue

Had a strong start yesterday. Actually I hesitate to call it that – I had a day just like every other Blitz day yesterday: I stayed in the box, did my exercise, kept my journal, planned ahead for today.

Planning ahead is the important part. It is completely impossible to execute on a diet plan if you don’t have a plan.

I’ve been hoping to quantify in some way why I’m good at this diet/exercise stuff, and sometime I throw my hands up and think, I don’t know why I’m good at it. But when it comes down to it, I’m good at it because I make a plan and then I execute it. I consider the plan to be a promise or contract I’ve made with myself, and I of all people should not disappoint me! So I execute it because I said to myself that I would.

I think that so many years of diet/exercise planning and executing has bled over into my Regular Life ™ and made me really good at time management too. Making a plan and sticking to it is something I do now as a matter of course for my health, so I have no problem planning and executing other sorts of tasks, such as a sewing project or a work deliverable. I know that to have something worth having I need to plan for it, and that often that involves long-term goals that need to be worked on a little bit every day. Since I’m already in the habit of working on my long-term health goals every day, it’s easy for me to see how and where I need to take small steps to build a big deliverable in other areas.

The smallest steps every day are simply the food I’m going to be eating and when. I’m very much a creature of habit. I eat my meals at the same time every day, and generally I eat the same things every time. I eat at 7:30am, 10:30am, noon, 3pm, and 6:30ish every day. I know that I can’t push those out much because I may get a migraine if I go too long without eating (extra motivation!). I also know that if I don’t exercise vigorously in the morning I may be hungrier throughout the day (did you know that? exercise is an appetite suppressant for many people!). So I do these things mostly because I made a plan, but also partly because if I don’t I can see immediate, unpleasant consequences.

I think of my diet and exercise plan as a template for my day, and it cuts down on choices I need to make. Decision fatigue is a real thing, yo, and making a plan (that I know meets my health goals) and following it frees my mind up for more pressing decisions and gives me confidence that as long as I am following my plan, I can rest easy that I am meeting my goals. Therefore I can spend my energy on more important decisions – this helps me be a better employee, friend, partner, and citizen!

Does making a plan and/or establishing a routine schedule help you?


2 Responses to “Avoiding Decision Fatigue”

  1. Karen Williams Says:

    When I was on the HMR program many many years ago, when someone in the group would misstep somehow — ate off the plan, failed to meet the movement goal — the woman running the group would ask, “What is your plan for meeting your goal?” No recriminations, just asking for the new plan. I loved that, and do the same thing when I don’t follow my own plans. What is my new plan? And I follow it.

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