You know the feeling... opening the fridge at 5:00 and giving it the blank stare, hoping that a fabulous dinner idea will miraculously materialize. It usually doesn’t, but the bottle of Pinot Grigio is sitting there, so you decide to have some for a minute instead of dealing with the dinner dilemma.
Or how about this...you feel like your body is a little sad and you probably should workout. But you're at a loss for what you should do and when exactly you should do it. You end up just going for a measly, lung-burning run, and feel like a lame-o. The next day your ankles hurt and your body feels even more lame.
Or this scenario... you're meeting friends at a new restaurant, and the menu is unfamiliar and daunting. You're distracted with conversation and when it's your turn to order, you just pick "whatever she's having", or something else that catches your attention. Later, after eating the entire flatbread that you didn't even want, you wonder what just happened.
With all of these situations we find ourselves faced with too many choices. And usually with too many choices sitting in front of us, we panic and fail to choose the right thing. We end up regretting a lot of these little choices, simply because it was one more unnecessary decision to have to make. Decision overload.
The Best Advice You'll Ever Get
Practice eliminating as many decisions as you can in a day. The more decisions we have to make, it takes away from our ability to think about things later. It zaps us of our mental energy, our ability to focus and devote precious mind space to other more important issues.
Fitness & Nutrition is Not the Most Important Stuff
As much as I would love for your workouts and your eating habits to be the forefront of your life, they shouldn’t be. You have far more important things to take care of, like:
Yes, all of these things are WAY more important than your morning workout and what you ate for lunch!
However, taking care of your body is still so important. We couldn’t do all of the other tasks, responsibilities and callings that we have in our life with a body that’s not up for the job.
(Realize that “a body that’s not up for the job” is a very subtle thing. It looks like constant head colds. Getting sleeping injuries. Feeling exhausted and too tired most of the time. Waiting for someone else to take care of something for you. A lack of confidence in yourself. When you’re deep in an apathetic body, it’s hard to see that it doesn’t have to be like this.)
What you need to do is eliminate your choices. I often call it “making things automatic.”
I listened to a coach recently that explained that he wears only one style of T-shirt. It's a very classy looking V-neck, and he has the same shirt in black, white, gray and blue. When he gets dressed in the morning, that's one decision already made for him. He doesn't have to sit and think about what to wear. He can save his brainpower for much more important things.
Perhaps that sounds boring to you, but how can this translate to areas of your life? Where can you eliminate decisions?
I suggest scheduling your workouts on the same days and times of the week. Don't be flexible anymore. For example, plan to do your strength training workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:00 am. And make sure you have a workout program in hand. If it's a Monday, you know what you're doing at 6:00 am. If it's a Tuesday, you know you don't need to workout. Decision made. (Sure you can him-and-haw about wanting to do it, but don't let yourself be flexible anymore.)
I also suggest giving yourself only two meal choices for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. This might sound boring, but it will save you a ton of mental capacity when you're at the grocery store and when the meal time rolls around. You'll know that you're eating either this or that. Decision made.
Have a plan for eating out to eliminate unnecessary choices. If it's not a splurge meal, then you have one of the salads on the menu. Done. No other choice, other than "which salad?" Don't even look at the other categories. Don't waste your energy.
Many of my friends say that I'm a really disciplined person. I know that it's true, but I think the trick is that I have made certain things in my life very black and white. I don't leave room for choices. If it's a Monday, I'm lifting weights. If it's a Thursday, I'm doing yoga. If it's lunch, I'm having a bagged salad or dinner leftovers. I can set my clock to these things. There's no room for negotiation.
As a mom, there are a million other things that require my attention. Exhausting all of my decision-making abilities on what I'm going to eat for lunch is just not practical. There's already enough drama in my life...I don't need to experience it at lunch, too!
If you feel like you're a hot mess, lacking discipline and feeling overwhelmed, you probably just need to eliminate as many decisions as you can. Take a look at your workouts and your eating habits, and see if there's a way to make things automatic. You will save yourself boundless energy and mental capacity, and will probably be a more fit, focused and relaxed mom in the long run.
Click here for one full month of free workouts, all laid out for you with a nice printable workout guide. Let this be one decision you don't have to make anymore!
Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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