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Episode 44: Conquer Decision Fatigue

Video Highlights

- How decision making is like a muscle.
- The ways you can avoid decision fatigue.
- What to do prior to making decisions.

Hi.  Dr. Cobb back with you this week.

Today we’re going to talk about what is called decision fatigue.

Now decision fatigue is exactly what it sounds like.  The whole idea is that as you make decisions throughout the day, your ability to make good ones goes down because you’re getting tired.  Decision making is a lot like a muscle.  If you go out and start doing a lot of pull ups or chin ups and the muscle begins to fatigue, you know that it gets harder to complete your repetitions.  Well, decision making is a lot the same.

Now in previous blogs I’ve talked a lot about how to build will power, not by “improving” will power but by building systems. In earlier blogs I’ve talked about the Text Message Exercise Program.  I’ve talked about using bands for reminders, a lot of other things, to try to help you induce good behavioral changes more easily in your life.

Well, one of the fastest ways to really make better choices to change your habits is to actually notice and recognize decision fatigue as a real world problem that you have to deal with and start to set some systems in place to help you fix that too. So, here’s some things from research that we know about avoiding decision fatigue.

Number one.  If you can pre-decide for the day that’s coming forward some small things, it’s really valuable.  If you think about people that get up in the morning and every morning they’re deciding what to wear to work and what to have for breakfast, etc., decisions that easily could be made in two to three minutes the night before, before they go to sleep.  Very often they’re already starting to fatigue themselves before they even get to work.  So, whenever possible, number one, decide for the day that’s coming around simple things.

Secondly, if you have big decisions that you have to make, make them early in the day, whenever possible.  Now, we can’t look ahead and go, “Oh, man, I, I can pre-decided everything,” because life happens.  But if you know that you have a big meeting.  If you know that you have a big, conference that you’re attending and you have to make some buying decisions for your company, whatever it is, try to do that early in the morning.

From a habit perspective, from a health perspective, let’s say that you have committed to improving your vision.  Well, if you have our Vision Gym and you’re starting to work through that program, if you are committed to it, you may actually have to do it earlier in the day if you want to be consistent. Because even though you may love the idea of getting rid of your glasses.  You may love the idea.  Maybe you do some of our other programs of getting mobile or strong or more flexible.  You can love the idea but if  you’re decision making capacity is fatigued by the time you get home from work, the likelihood of doing that program is very low.

So again, things that matter to you, things that you’re committing to, the earlier in the day that you can make decisions to perform them, the better off you’re going to be.  Now, that’s really, really powerful.

The third thing I want you to realize is if you’re going to make tough decision, eat something first.  Now this sounds a little bit silly but this actually comes from research in the legal profession.  And what they found is that after a break and food, people tend to make better decisions.

And from our perspective, we talk a lot about how brains work and brains we say need fuel and they need activation.  And if you’re deciding things all day, your brain’s getting lots of stimulus and lots of activation but it’s also burning though it’s fuel supply.

So if you’re faced with a tough decision, breath a little bit, do a few breathing exercises.  If you don’t know how to do those, you can contact us or you can watch some of the previous blogs.  Do a little bit of breathing and eat something.  As silly as that may sound, it can really go a long way toward decreasing your decision fatigue and helping you make one that you can be proud of.

So, there you have it, some ideas on decision fatigue.

Please let me know how these are helping you.  I’ll be really curious to get your feedback.

Hope you have a fantastic week.

Thanks.

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