Decision Fatigue by Travis Wilson
Every day we are required to make decisions, almost on a seemingly moment to moment basis. Our decision making begins, often times before we even wake up. When we get up, we have to decide what clothes to wear. Are we showering before or after work? Are we going to the gym that day and need extra clothes? What are you going to eat for breakfast? How about the fastest route to work? Am I draining you yet? These are only a few of the decisions we have to make, and this is all before the work day has even begun. With a constant barrage of decisions needed to be made, it is easy to see how this can become mentally exhausting over time. This mental exhaustion can seriously impact our decision-making abilities for future choices. In this post I will illuminate how decision fatigue can negatively impact our decision-making abilities and how meal prepping can help to minimize the fatigue experienced from decision making.
It is apparent that our lives are filed with more options, now more than ever. No other place highlights this as well as the grocery store. What type of eggs should you buy? Cage free? Free range? Grade A? Grade AA? Jumbo? Brown eggs? White eggs? Egg whites? All this time trying to make a choice when really all we want is a carton of eggs so we can make our favorite omelet. Evidence supports that having too many choices can be both overwhelming and counterproductive leaving us dissatisfied with our choice. Having too many choices can even prevent us from making any decision at all. (1)
Not only does having too many choices lead to poor decision making, but also making difficult decisions throughout the course of a day can lead to; a reduction in self-control, reduced physical stamina, procrastination, and your ability to persevere in the face of failure. (2) We can relate this to our nutrition by thinking about the end of our day. We have worked, gone to class, exercised, taken care of our kid(s) and everything else in between. We have made many difficult decisions throughout the day and now we have to decide what to prepare for dinner. For the majority, we are most likely going to base our decision on what is easiest, the least time consuming or takes the least amount of preparation. At this point in our day it is less likely that we are concerning ourselves with the most health conscious meal. Instead, we just want to eat and get to bed.
So, is all hope lost and we should just become victims of our relentless decision making? Not so fast. There are many strategies that we can take in order to minimize the effects of decision fatigue and make sure that it is not our greatest hurdle when trying to reach our goals. For the sake of this post, I will highlight how meal prep can positively aid you when it comes to decision fatigue. Whether you are meal prepping on your own or you are receiving meals from a meal prep company, such as Roundabout Meal Prep, meal prepping essentially takes most of the decisions that you have to make surrounding food, out of the picture. This will allow you to save your decision-making abilities for other, more important decisions during the day. Not only will meal prepping lessen your decisions that you have to make, but when you are fatigued from all of the other decisions throughout the day, your nutrition won’t have to be compromised. There may be more decision making on the front end, however the return on your preparation will allow for more attention and internal resources towards the next task at hand.
In conclusion, decision fatigue can be problematic. Whether we are dealing with too many choices to decide on, or if we are constantly making difficult decisions, our future decision-making ability can be compromised. While we cannot avoid the majority of the decisions we encounter, we can implement strategies in order to attenuate the effects from decision fatigue. One of the strategies in relationship to reaching your health and fitness goals is to prepare food or, have a plan that you follow in order to limit the amount of decisions that you must make. This will allow you to place more focus and attention to other important tasks you may encounter and limit the effects of decision fatigue.
For a more in depth look at decision fatigue, check out the links below.