Yep, it really is a really real thing! Decision Fatigue!
It may sound far fetched, but this was covered in one of my Psychology courses a while back, and it fascinated me.
A while ago, there was a study of the behaviours of judges in a court room and the rulings that were made with regards to parole offerings… ok that may not sound like much to do with exercise, fitness or weight loss, but the results honestly do!
The judges all said that they made each sentencing decision based on the individuals case and evidence… BUT, when the rulings were entered into a graph and studied, it showed that each of the judges made favourable rulings at the beginning of each court session, however towards the end, rulings started to become more “NO” than “YES”.
Until after lunch, and then, guess what, rulings started to become more lenient again. Well, at least until the mid of the session where they once again started to taper off.
See how in each session, the judges awarded parole at the earlier stages, but less so towards the end of each session.
The brain is a very complex thing, and when it is running on less than great energy, or no energy then it makes poor or irrational decisions. It is known as Decision Fatigue!
It takes A LOT of “energy” to make important decisions, and as the energy levels reduce, the decision making process tires and weakens.
The same applies to when we are trying to decide what to have for dinner, whether to go to the gym or if we really want to head to our weight loss group for a weigh in.
You see, as you are sat at work making decisions, thinking, conference calling and so on ALL DAY, by the time we get home, our brain is mushed, knackered, exhausted and all decisioned out! So we make bad calls, the wrong choices, negative decisions.
We don’t go to the gym, we don’t eat healthy and we don’t go to our weigh ins!
Instead, we kick back with a glass of wine, a slice of pizza and a binge of the latest Netflix series! 😮
Think of your brain as the Hare & the Tortoise. The Hare makes quick, unplanned, irrational decisions, it doesn’t consider the consequences… It acts on impulse! What you want now, rather than what you want in the long term. Then there is the Tortoise, he thinks about things, considers the outcome, weighs things up and makes educated decisions.
But the tortoise is slow, it uses up a lot of energy and it tires quickly! The Hare has loads of energy, it bounds along and just keeps going!
But just like in the story the Hare makes bad choices. He thinks by sitting and having a nap, he can still win the race… But he doesn’t!
Have you ever said “I AM going to the gym tonight!”, but then by the end of the day decided not to go, and told yourself that you’ve worked really hard today, you are tired and you will go tomorrow?
We all have!
The first part of the decision is the tortoise, you are going to the gym! The decision not to go is made by the Hare, BUT then the tortoise comes back online and rationalises the decision but telling you that you have worked hard etc.
You need to train your tortoise to talk you back into going! And you need to KEEP training your tortoise to do this. Treat it like a workout, a mental workout! You are strengthening your decision making fitness!
To do this, you are going to need to make some strong choices in your nutrition, feeding your tortoise with healthy foods to keep him strong! Making sure you do not skip meals! Each good decision you make will be like a repetition of a bicep curl! Make it a good one!
By training your tortoise to shine, you are creating habits, will power, routines and above all… a healthier lifestyle!
Decide, Plan, Act, Achieve!
Build your Decision Making Strength and avoid Decision Fatigue!
Good Luck and please let us know how you get on in the comments below.
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