What’s decision fatigue and how to combat it’s tiring effect

decision fatigue
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Decision fatigue increases throughout the day with each new decision you have to make, It’s the act of growing tired of navigating life’s choices and the consequences are startling.

Decision fatigue makes you more likely to pick up a candy bar in the checkout line. And studies show that as the day goes on, we make riskier and more rash decisions.

On the flip side, if you’re more avoidant you may make no decision at all.

Both outcomes have negative affects on our lives. Worst of all, they make us doubt ourselves, feeling shame over our poor or non-existent decisions.

Struggling with self-sabotage? Download Chapter 1 of It’s Not Your Fault free.

Knowing how to avoid decision fatigue will improve your choices. Best of all, it will raise your self-respect and sense of competence.

Here are 9 ways to reduce decision fatigue.

1. Plan your meals.

Knowing in advance what you’ll make for dinner reduces decision fatigue at the time when it’s worst. Late in the day and while hungry are the least optimal times to make decisions.

2. Keep standing appointments.

Make the next doctor or dentist appointment when you’re leaving the office.

Have set days and times when you exercise instead of deciding each day whether or when to do it. Refusing to pencil it in could be the biggest reason we neglect our commitment to work out.

3. Eat at the same time to avoid decision fatigue.

Having set meal times simplifies life. You could even eat the same breakfast or lunch each day. Then use your meal planning schedule for dinner.

4. Have a sleep routine.

When you have a set bedtime, you avoid the late night streaming binges which are no good for you anyway. Keeping to a regular sleep and wake cycle is excellent for overall health and well-being.

decision fatigue

5. Set a timer to reduce decision fatigue.

I use the Pomodoro timer throughout the day to stay on task. And allot a set amount of time each day for social media. After that, I don’t spend time considering whether it’s a good time to check my DMs.

6. Minimalize.

Edit your closet so you have a few favorite pieces that you wear over and over. It’s reported that Einstein wore the same outfit every day to reduce decision fatigue.

Streamline your possessions. The fewer things you own, the less choice you have to make about what to use. Less clutter in the home, less clutter in the brain.

7. Keep a daily schedule.

A to-do list reduces decision fatigue by letting you know what you need to get done that day. Keep it to 3-5 items and enjoy a healthy sense of accomplishment each day.

8. Shop with a list to reduce decision fatigue.

Most of us know the value of grocery shopping with a list. Studies show we spend up to 30% more when we shop without a list.

But, how many of us go to the mall with a list? Well, research has proven that retail shopping creates massive decision fatigue.

Consider going with a goal in mind of what you want to buy. And resist going to the mall for retail therapy.

9. Know your values.

Knowing what’s important to you will help reduce decision fatigue. When we have a clear view of our likes and dislikes, deciding what to say yes or no to becomes a no-brainer.

Why love doesn’t have to be earned

love doesn't have to be earned
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Due to the circumstances of my childhood, I’d adopted the belief that love is something you have to work for. The truth that love doesn’t have to be earned escaped me.

The phrase “limiting beliefs” shows up everywhere I look lately. And when I started to write mine down, a lightbulb switched on above my head.

Without realizing, I’d held on to the belief that love is hard to get. Because my parents did a poor job of showing me love, I’d defined it as something elusive and difficult to obtain.

After all the personal growth work, I hadn’t absorbed the basic fact that love doesn’t have to be earned. You can’t chase or catch love. In fact, love is not a thing at all.

Struggling with self-sabotage? Download Chapter 1 of It’s Not Your Fault free.

Here’s what my exercise on limiting beliefs taught me about love.

1. I am love.

Love is not something outside of me that I need to seek out and grab hold of. I am love. Love for myself and love from God fills me every day.

Even if no one else loved me, I’d still have that everlasting love within me. It’s not going anywhere and I don’t have to change or perform to access it.

2. Love doesn’t have to be earned because it’s not a commodity.

what does love mean

The moment you try to earn love, it stops being love. That’s the amazing, frustrating thing about love. All the rules around working hard to get what you want don’t apply.

Love is easy. It’s not something you acquire like a new car. It’s already yours. All you have to do is express, share, and acknowledge it within you.

3. You don’t have to change to win love

Think back to a time when you tried to change or become something else to win love. Did it ever work?

When you were a child and did everything you could to experience your parents’ love, did they give it to you? Not accolades for an accomplishment, but love for who you are.

I’m going to guess not. So, when will we learn that love doesn’t have to be earned and, in fact, can’t be? How many times will we chase it, change, or yearn for it before we believe we already have it?

4. We need to show ourselves love.

This is not a version of “you need to love yourself before anyone else will love you.” I understand how impossible it feels to love yourself when you never received love as a child.

Instead, we need to treat ourselves with compassion and care. That way, we experience ourselves as valuable and worthy of nurturing.

Taking care of our needs helps us see that love is an inside job. Not something we tell ourselves in a way that creates cognitive dissonance. But something that changes us on a cellular level.

Love doesn’t have to be earned. It’s available to us at all times because love is within us. Love is not an external entity we have to acquire to feel complete. We simply have to release the love already inside us.

Why we need recognition and how to get it from the right places

recogntion
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As someone growing her readership, I often receive advice to guest post on larger “platforms” to increase my recognition. You can’t keep showing up for just your own readers and expect to get ahead, they say.

While I have provided guest content when it felt right to me, something holds me back from going hard at seeking guest spots. That may change, but for now I prefer to focus on my readers.

The recognition I desire comes from my audience and those who have trusted me with their email address. I’m more interested in writing something that makes you open and read my emails, than capturing a guest spot on HuffPost.

I’m not writing this to flatter you, but to introduce my topic today which is about recognition. What it means, why it’s important to us, and how it differs from person to person.

It seems obvious that recognition is a basic human need. But it’s important to look at ourselves and know from whom we desire that recognition. So we’re not seeking it in all the wrong places.

What is recognition?

It’s the feeling of wanting to be seen and known. That could come from your husband and family or your boss at work. It doesn’t mean you want to be famous.

I’ve read we crave recognition most from the people we serve. That’s why a compliment from a customer can mean more than one from your manager.

If you’re a mom, nothing feels better than hearing your kids call you a good mom. Other people can praise your parenting all day, but it’s special when the kids acknowledge you this way.

Same when other women call you pretty but you never hear a man say it. This may not pass the PC test, but it’s something many women experience, myself included.

Why do we need it?

recognition

You may have convinced yourself you don’t need this type of outside affirmation. And it is better to get the lion’s share of our motivation from within. But we all need a little appreciation and tend to wilt and wither without it.

As a child, you may have felt discouraged from flexing your talents for others to see. You learned to avoid getting too big for your britches. You dimmed your light to become more acceptable to whoever fed you those lies.

When you tell yourself recognition doesn’t matter, cognitive dissonance sets in. This leads to simmering resentment and the martyr syndrome common to mothers of previous generations.

When you tell yourself recognition doesn't matter, it leads to resentment and martyr syndrome. Click To Tweet

We are not made to give selflessly without any acknowledgment of our contributions. When we are recognized by those we serve, we stand a little taller and shine a little brighter.

Ultimately, recognition shows us we’re not alone. As social animals, human beings crave connection with others. Recognition provides proof that we matter and have a purpose that influences others.

What does recognition mean to you?

How to know your values and why they’re so important

values
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If you feel unhappy and you’re not sure why, that might mean it’s time to determine your values. For instance, your life looks really good to other people but you feel empty inside.

That’s a sign you’re living according to other people’s standards instead of your own. That happened to me when my children were young and it derailed my life for a very long time.

Unsure of my own values, I went along with other people’s beliefs about the importance of my kids attending a “good” school.

As a result, I moved from a home and neighborhood I loved, to a school district that made me feel uncomfortable and out of place. That’s because a cookie cutter house on a suburban street went against my values.

The impact of not taking time to determine my values as life entered a new phase of motherhood had a devastating impact on my psyche. I discovered too late that “good” school meant “wealthy white” school.

I discovered too late that "good" school meant "wealthy white" school. Click To Tweet

Perhaps that makes me naïve, but I ended up surrounded by parents whose ethics I did not share. For years, I abandoned myself and my needs, all so my kids could attend this sought-after school.

So, take it from me. Save yourself some heartache and get to know your values. Write them down and refer to them often.

And when you enter a new phase of life, reassess those beliefs. Take into account the ways life has changed and how your belief system needs to encompass those changes.

With that said, here are 4 reasons knowing your values is essential to your happiness and well-being.

1. Values help you set boundaries.

Knowing what you believe in helps you decide what you will and won’t accept in your life. It helps you decide what to say yes or no to.

For example, if you value simplicity like I do, you won’t tolerate clutter. That means you prefer a streamlined home and calendar. No fuss no muss.

Valuing simplicity means I carefully weigh every purchase decision. And I’m equally discerning about the appointments and company I keep.

2. Values help you know who you are.

If you can’t name your values it’s difficult to make decisions that align with your true self. This leads to confusion around who you are and what you believe in. See my story above.

3. They improve quality of life.

When you make decisions according to what you believe in, you feel more fulfilled and proud of yourself.

When you make decisions according to what you believe in, you feel more fulfilled and proud of yourself. Click To Tweet

This is because you’re living out of integrity, rather than getting tossed to and fro without an internal compass to guide you.

You’ll spend more time doing things that make you feel good. And the shame that comes from living out of alignment with your values will disappear.

4. Values help you make career choices.

If you cherish freedom, you find yourself suited to an entrepreneurial role where you make your own hours and decisions.

And when you esteem family time, you’ll turn down a position that requires weekend work or extended travel.

If you value peace and harmony, you won’t be happy in an ultracompetitive role with high stress and conflict.

Final thoughts

Values are not right or wrong (outside of unethical activity). They are specific to each person and that’s why it’s important to know yours.

Without the internal compass values provide, we look outside ourselves for clues to mark our route. That means adopting others’ standards and finding out too late they go against our own.

So, take the time now to determine your values. Arm yourself with the self-knowledge that will take you on a life path filled with integrity, fulfillment, and happiness.

How to invest in yourself and what that really means

invest in yourself
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You’ve probably heard how important it is to invest in yourself. But what does that really mean?

To invest in yourself does not mean going into debt and crippling yourself financially. Yes, there are times we need to put down money for a later return.

However, investing in yourself does not mean throwing money at expensive objects because you deserve it in a “treat yo self” kind of way. That’s self-sabotage.

Struggling with self-sabotage? Download Chapter 1 of It’s Not Your Fault free.

invest in yourself

Investing in yourself does not always require money, either. Here are 7 ways to invest in yourself smartly.

1. Schedule me time.

Before anything else, you should schedule me time into your calendar. Depending on your personality and stage of life, that looks different for everyone.

It might mean the first hour of your day gets reserved for quiet time and prayer or meditation. It could look like penciling in dinner with friends on a Tuesday night.

Don’t give away your time to everyone else before leaving white space open for yourself.

Don't give away your time to everyone else before leaving white space open for yourself. Click To Tweet

2. Life advice.

Whether with a therapist or life coach, getting professional advice on where you’re headed in life can be a profound way to invest in yourself.

Even though the dividends come in how you feel rather than cold hard cash, you prove to yourself you’re worth the expense.

And often what you learn about yourself raises your value, which can result in more money coming your way.

3. Career advice.

Most successful business people say they only got to the next level by hiring a coach. We need the expertise of others who are where we want to be.

Investing in yourself this way can be hard because there’s no guarantee of results. But I can attest to growing in leaps and bounds after just one 60-minute coaching call with a professional.

4. Take up a hobby.

invest in yourself

All work and no play leads to an unbalanced life. We need time to reconnect with our playful and creative sides. To nurture skills without the pressure of making money or being “productive”.

Hobbies help us remember what lights us up inside. They tell us that we’re worthy of spending time on, even when we’re not earning monetarily.

5. Get a good night’s sleep.

We have so many excuses for not getting enough rest. But sleep is as important to our bodies as food. When we deny ourselves at least 7 hours, we’re depriving ourselves of the very thing that gives us life.

And seven hours may not be enough. Highly sensitive people, for instance, need more than eight hours to feel “right”. I’m an HSP and have discovered that nine hours a night is my sweet spot.

6. Develop yourself.

This could mean attending a personal growth seminar. Or reading books in the self-help category.

You’ll discover so much about yourself when you get curious and invest in yourself through trainings that build your self-development muscle.

7. Take a vacation.

At the time of this writing, barriers to travel prevent many of us from attacking that bucket list. But when possible, plan a vacation somewhere you’ve never been before.

Some people say it’s a good idea to visit somewhere new every year. But, you can visit a familiar place with fresh eyes by creating a theme for your trip.

What other ways do you invest in yourself?