Decision Fatigue

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped” – Tony Robbins

In our last post, we looked at two common reasons why we make bad choices when it comes to our health: delayed consequences and time, cost, and inconvenience. Today, let’s explore a third popular reason we we fail: decision fatigue.

Reason #3: Decision Fatigue

You may start your day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a healthy breakfast and you’ll probably make it through lunch unscathed. But, as the day wears on, you start to feel tired. The vending-machine candy bars and the break-room donuts sing their irresistible, sweet song. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you manage to hold firm.

You finish work, and then you’re off to the grocery store where you’re rewarded with aisle after aisle of unhealthy temptations, displayed prominently at eye level. You avert your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and sing la-la-la as you try to locate boring cans of organic black, kidney, and garbanzo beans.

Even if you finally make it back to your car with a grocery cart full of nutritious, whole foods, you’re not out of the woods yet. You arrive at home and enjoy a healthy dinner. Then, at the end of a long day, a cruel member of your family (whom we’ll call Beelzebub, for short) asks if anyone would like a hot fudge sundae. The other princes and princesses of hell scream “Yes!” as they shift their gaze to you: a sad figure sitting on the couch, trying to drink your eighth glass of water.

Your defenses are down. You’ve been saying “no” all day, and you’re tired of it: “Okay. Fine. Give me three scoops, and don’t be chintzy on the hot fudge. Add a Matterhorn of whipped cream while you’re at it. I might as well go down in flames.”

Use Your “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

One effective way to avoid this depressing scenario is to incorporate a Get
Out of Jail Free day each week, every other week, or every month. Yes, I’m referring to the Get Out of Jail Free cards that you’ll find in the game Monopoly. I call them “sugar days” since that’s my weakness in the unhealthy food department. On the days when you’re on the ropes, feeling down, or attending a planned event, simply declare it a “sugar day” with much fanfare, and then it’s anything goes for the rest of the day.

In this way, everybody wins:

  • Your friends and family are happy that you’re joining the fun and not making them feel guilty, yet they’re aware that you’re still meeting your health goals.
  • You’re happy that you can cater to your weaknesses and enjoy some unhealthy treats.
  • You’re still on track with your overall plan to live a healthy lifestyle.

Misbehaving is part of the fun of life, especially when you have a Get Out of Jail Free card in your pocket.

Get Out of Jail Free card from the game Monopoly

Coming Attractions

In my final post of this 3-part series (which I will post on 2/15/19), we’ll look at a fourth common reason that people cite to justify bad choices when it comes to their health.

Until then, let’s make good decisions and, when all else fails, enjoy a guilt-free day to splurge on the things you know you shouldn’t eat by cashing in one of your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Thanks for reading!

Mark

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