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Is decision fatigue derailing your progress?

June 20, 2023

Is decision fatigue derailing your progress?
Picture this: it's time to hit the gym, but before you can even step out the door, you're caught in a whirlwind of choices - which workout clothes to wear, what exercise routine to follow, and the perfect playlist or podcast to accompany your session.

That right there is decision fatigue - a sneaky saboteur, quietly draining your mental energy and derailing your progress. Habits that require a lot of decision-making use more mental energy and can create resistance.

These decisions aren't big life decisions, but when you're already feeling unmotivated, these decisions are like roadblocks standing in the way between you and your habit. And when your mental resources required for decision-making become depleted, it can result in reduced willpower, impulse control, and a higher likelihood of making poor choices.

So how do you streamline your decisions to create a path of least resistance between you and your habits?

The most effective way is to make as many decisions as possible in advance.

Because when you eliminate "in the moment" decision-making - things like choosing activewear, choosing your workout and your playlist - and make these decisions in advance - you go from "planning to do" your habit to doing the habit.

For instance, set specific days and times for your gym sessions and make them a regular part of your schedule. Establish a consistent routine to minimise the need to decide when and if you should go to the gym each day, making it a habit rather than a choice.

You could have a few playlists ready to go, so you can pick one based on your workout or mood. Or you could explore fitness apps with pre-designed workout plans so you can dive right in. And laying out your clothes the night before or packing your bag in advance will help eliminate any on-the-spot decisions and help you feel better prepared.

These ideas will allow your routine to flow more effortlessly without the stop-and-start effect of decision-making.

So when building habits, aim to make decisions in advance.