Tell-Tale Signs You Have “Decision Fatigue” and What to Do About It

 

Do you ever feel drained by the very thought of making another decision? There’s a name for the depletion of energy that comes from weighing and making constant decisions:  Decision fatigue. It can be caused by having a lot of responsibilities and a lot of opportunities. “Do I take the job offer, or stay put?  It can also be caused by having a lack of resources, which forces you to carefully consider every single expenditure. “Should I buy gas so I can get to work – or do I pay the light bill?”

So, whether your good decision-making has led to an abundance of opportunity and responsibility, or difficult times have led to a series of very difficult decisions and tradeoffs, it is important to be aware of the impact multiple decisions has on your energy and psyche. Here are a few signs you might be dealing with decision fatigue:

 

  • You get irritated by routine inquiries.
  • You get stuck making small decisions.
  • You daydream about shirking all of your responsibilities.
  • You consistently delay decisions.
  • You find yourself making bad decisions because you don’t have the mental energy to carefully consider the pros and cons.

 

If any of these describe you, make a list of the various decisions you have on your plate right now. Be sure to include both stressful or big decisions (life changes, educational choices, financial decisions, etc.) as well as small ones (deciding who to invite to an upcoming party or the new hairdresser you’re going to try). Then take one of the four following actions – and do the same with any decisions that pop up throughout your day, no matter how large or small:

  1. Delay the decision.

Sometimes you need more information or the decision simply is not that urgent. When either is the case, move the decision to a specific date or time on your calendar in the future. That way, you can take it off of your mind and rest assured you’ll get  to it at an appointed time. If it is more information you need, get the ball rolling to get the info you need.

 

  1. Delete the decision.

Some decisions on your to-do list aren’t important any more. They’ll fill up your time, but are not purposeful. Eliminate them.

 

  1. Delegate the decision.

One of the most important moves you can make to eliminate decision fatigue is to stop requiring every decision to go through you. Teach others how to make important decisions – whether your kids, team members at work, or even your spouse. Micromanaging is a straight path to decision fatigue.

  1. Make the decision.

Have you been holding off on a decision it’s actually time to make? There is no time like the present. If you’ve pondered it, researched it, gotten quiet so you can hear that still, small voice guide you, then move forward. Make the decision. Refuse to let fear cause you to procrastinate any longer. It’s time.

 

My challenge to you this week:

Make a list of decisions currently on your plate, and for each one, take one of four actions: Delay it, delete it, delegate it or decide it.

 

Journal about it:

What are all of the decisions currently on your radar? For each decision, which of the four actions above will you take?

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3 Signs You Have Goal Fatigue

 

When I first heard the phrase, it resonated immediately: Goal fatigue. It occurs when we either have too many goals at once, or when we don’t replenish our energy between goals. It will sabotage your best efforts, steal your joy and leave you confused about why you no longer feel motivated to go for what you want. Do you have goal fatigue? Here are three signs and some advice about what you can do to prevent it and overcome it.

1. What used to energize you now burns you out.

A sure sign you’ve got goal fatigue is when you find yourself exhausted and burned out by activities you once loved. You can’t enjoy what you love because there is so much to accomplish, your passion is nothing more than a series of timelines and deadlines. It is perplexing because you used to love it, but now you’ve lost your motivation. Goals are good. But having too many goals is self-sabotaging.

2. You never give your full attention to any one goal – and it shows.

You are enthusiastic about goals. There’s just so much you want to accomplish. But you’re also impatient. You want it all – right now. So you find yourself stretched in multiple directions, which makes it difficult to focus. You only have so much energy and mental capacity. When it becomes stretched too thin, you are less effective at each goal you set. Instead of doing everything at once, prioritize your goals, and then schedule them over a reasonable period of time. This allows you time to block a specific period to focus on your highest priorities first, and as you check them off your goal list, you can move on to the next one. Just be sure to celebrate and rest between achievements. This last sign explains why.

3. Your goal line is just the starting block for your next goal.

Goal fatigue often sets in because you don’t rest and celebrate between goals. Celebrate your milestones. It gives you a chance to savor the “finish line,” a moment worth acknowledging. Reflect on what it took to get there and pinpoint any lessons you’d like to take from the experience and use in the future. Then give yourself a break before diving into the next goal. You can decide how long the break, but the more energy required to reach the goal, the more you’ll need to replenish your reserve.

My challenge to you this week:

Take a step to prevent goal fatigue by scheduling a celebration or break, or prioritizing your goals on a timeline that gives you room to breathe.

Journal about it:

In what area of your life are you experiencing goal fatigue right now? Which of these three signs resonate with you? What will you do to re-energize?

Resources:

Successful Women Think Differently 7-CD Teleclass

Successful Women Think Differently

Happy Women Live Better

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What if? The question to dream your best dreams …

 

At the beginning of this year, I identified a one-word theme for the year: Margin. It may not sound like the most exciting word, but I just sensed in my spirit that it was a word that could transform my life. Margin is breathing room. Whether in your schedule or in your closet, it is the space that keeps life from exceeding your limits. My new habit is still developing, but I think it is contagious because my husband has joined my quest for less – organizing his tool box, rethinking his work schedule, even re-organizing kitchen cabinets (I know, I’m still pondering that one – happily!)

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that with more space in my schedule, on my bathroom counter, and even in my garage, my heart’s desires become even clearer. So this week, we found ourselves thinking about some things we are feeling led to change. We went out for a “vision date” to brainstorm solutions and coached ourselves with a series of questions that started with a very simple phrase – a phrase that allows you to imagine “what could be.” It worked so well, I want to share with you.

This week, I invite you to consider a persistent challenge you face – one that you’d be willing to make a major life change in order to resolve it once and for all. Here’s the two-step process:

1. Identify the challenge.

For example, is your calendar to hectic? Are you miserable in your career? Have you stretched yourself too thin financially?

2. Ask yourself a “What if?” question that forces you to imagine a solution that will radically change your circumstance and eliminate the problem, not just pacify it? For example, “What if you didn’t schedule anything on your weekends and gave yourself room to relax and be spontaneous?” “What if you phased out your current career and finally pursued the career you really want?” “What if you dramatically cut your expenses so you have the freedom to work less or do something different?” These are just a few examples, but you get the picture. Write down as many “What if?” scenarios as you can. Make them bold. Make them authentic. Write scenarios that get you excited.

I usually use “What if?” questions to challenge fears (What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough), but using a “What if?” question to see radically new possibilities is equally as powerful.

3. What choices or shifts would move you in the direction of your most compelling “What if?” possibility?

Of the questions you came up with, which one is most compelling? Start there. Then begin to ponder the types of choices and decisions that would move you towards that possibility. Dreams that come from “What if?” scenarios are the real desires of your heart. Sometimes they are possibilities you simply need to give yourself permission to pursue. Sometimes they are possibilities you could pursue right away, but more often, they are long-term goals. The key is to not allow the fact that they are long-term to discourage you. Brainstorm a game plan. Start talking to others about it. And if it feels like the right goal, set it. Make a timeline and start moving towards it.

My challenge to you this week:

Imagine your possibilities by creating and answering at least three “What if?” questions that help you see your possibilities for resolving your most persistent problem.

Journal about it:

Coach yourself by answering the three “What if?” questions you created. If you are having trouble coming up with you own, try these:

· What if you were entirely debt free – no credit card debt, no loans, no mortgage? What choices could you put in place that would lead you to that reality?

· What if you stopped trying to prove a point in your most difficult relationship(s)? How would things shift for you if you simply refused to spend your energy debating?

· What if your schedule was entirely up to you to determine? What would change for you? What opportunity could bring that reality to life? What choices would position you for such an opportunity?

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7 Coaching Questions to Boost Your Chance of Achieving ANY Goal:

 

We are halfway through the year already and it is a perfect time to check in on your goals and make adjustments that can empower you to make this year an especially powerful one.  By asking the right questions, you can coach yourself. These seven questions, based on research from the field of applied positive psychology, will help you set the right goal and troubleshoot your challenges on the way to the goal:

 

  1. What are your three most important values?

Research shows we are more likely to stick with goals when they revolve around our values. Values are basically the concepts and principles you feel are most important.  It is what you value.  For example, one of my values is freedom.  Early in my career I knew I wanted to have my own business because I wanted the freedom to be able to pursue my passion and create my own schedule.  What are your three most important values?

 

  1. What goal would best reflect those values?

Once you clarify your values, think about the goal you want to set and ask yourself, “What goal would best reflect what I value?” If you’ve set a goal that does not reflect your values at all, it is a clue and cue for you to drop the goal. If the goal partly reflects your values, you have an opportunity right now to tweak it so that it more fully represents what matters most to you. In doing so, you make your goal more meaningful and increase the likelihood you will persevere until you reach it.

 

  1. What are the quantifiable signs that I’ve reached my goal?

You’ve probably heard this before, but it is worth repeating: Your goal should be very specific.  For example, “I’m going to lose weight” is vague.  A specific version of that goal could be, “I’m going to lose a pound a week for the next five months.” That’s a goal you can measure at a pace that feels doable. It actually becomes about you changing small habits consistently.  When you get specific about your goal, you can get very specific about what you need to do in order to achieve it.

 

  1. What skill do I need to acquire in order to be able to reach my goal?

If your goal is big enough, there is a good chance that the reason you haven’t reached it is that you don’t fully have the skill set yet.  That’s OK! Acquiring the skills becomes a goal that helps you reach your goal.  I specifically use the word “acquire” rather than “learn” because sometimes you actually need to learn the skills personally and sometimes you need to find someone who already possesses the skill who can help you reach your goal. If you have the resources, you might actually hire someone to help you with the goal, you might partner with someone, or it might just be a conversation with someone who understands what it takes to get there.  Be honest with yourself about the skillset that you need to be able to reach the goal.

 

  1. What is my game plan for handling a setback on my way to the goal?

On the way to your goal, you will have setbacks.  There will be disappointments. There may be failures along the way. And if you have a game plan in advance for how to handle it, 1) it’s not a surprise because you’ve already planned for it, and 2) you already know what to do. Think ahead and ask yourself now, how will I handle a setback so that I bounce back quickly and keep moving forward?

 

  1. Who is the best person(s) to give me feedback on my methods and my progress?

Sometimes it feels hard to get feedback, but it’s necessary for success.  Have someone who can objectively look at your work and your progress, and can say, “Hey, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Here’s what will work.”  It will shorten the timeframe for you to get to your goal. Iron sharpens iron, so if you have people around you who understand the process, let them help you.

 

  1. What is an alternative path to my goal?

Sometimes we really get stuck in insisting that the goal has to happen in a certain way.  Be willing to be flexible.  The path that you laid out might not be the path that was meant to be.  Be open to having an alternative path if the path that you’ve been pursuing is not working.  Don’t be rigid. Be flexible and creative, and sooner than you realize, you’ll arrive at your finish line.

 

My challenge to you this week:

Revisit your biggest goal of the year and ponder these seven questions.

 

Journal about it:

Answer the seven questions from this week’s column … 1) What are my three most important values? 2) What goal would best reflect those values? 3) What are the quantifiable signs that I have reached the goal? 4) What skill(s) do I need to acquire in order to reach the goal? 5) What is my game plan for handling a setback on the way to my goal? 6) Who is the best person to give me feedback on my methods and progress?, and 7) What is an alternative path to my goal?

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Mid-Year Check Up: 4 Questions to Measure Your Progress

 

Can you believe we are already half way through the year?  It is the perfect time to check in with yourself – celebrate your accomplishments thus far and get back on track if you’ve been distracted.   Here are four powerful coaching questions to ask as you head into the second half of this year:

 

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of so far this year? 

Resist the temptation to breeze by your milestones without acknowledging what it took for you to achieve them.  You’ve likely done a lot in six months, whether it’s personally or professionally.  Whether a shift in your thinking or the completion of a major goal, take a moment and ponder this question: What are you most proud of in the last six months?

 

  1. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far this year?

The most valuable part of aiming for and reaching a goal is who you become in the process. You learn lessons you would not learn otherwise. And those lessons sharpen you for future endeavors.  As your wisdom grows, so does your ability to set and reach meaningful goals.

 

  1. What is the most meaningful milestone you could accomplish by the end of this year?

I word it that way for a very specific reason because there are lots of goals that we can set, but it’s important to understand the goal that will be most meaningful and gratifying to you.  That’s often quite different from the one that you quickly write down on New Year’s Day.  If you really dig deep and say, ‘if I could accomplish just one thing the remainder of this year, one that would hold the most meaning for me, what would it be’? Whatever it is, get clarity about why it matters so much to you. The deeper the meaning, the more likely you are to persevere on the path to reaching it. So ask yourself:  Why is it so meaningful to you?  What will it mean to you to be able to accomplish that particular milestone?

 

  1. What would make it easier for you to reach that milestone?

The reason that most people don’t reach their goals is because they have not set themselves up for success.  If reaching the goal is cumbersome –  if there are scheduling conflicts, things that really make it hard to be consistent, for example – you’ll decrease your chances of getting to the goal unless you remove or reduce the effect of those obstacles. So ask yourself: What can I move out of the way?  Who can I invite into the process? Or what can I drop from my schedule that would free up some space, energy and time?

 

My challenge to you:

 

Do a quick mid-year review of your progress and establish your focus for the second half of the year.

 

Journal about it:

Answer these four powerful questions:

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of so far this year?
  2. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far this year?
  3. What is the most meaningful milestone that you could accomplish by the end of this year?
  4. What would make it easier for you to reach that milestone?

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