by Julianne Kulosa
Julianne is a Spiritual Intuitive and WayShower, guiding the way to living a life of miracles and magic through trusting the power of love.
Decisions, decisions. Why is it so easy to see what looks best for a friend to do and sometimes so challenging to make decisions for yourself?
Okay, maybe it’s not so hard to decide what to eat for dinner. Or is it? Research shows we make between
15 - 200 decisions a day around food.
Furthermore, we make anywhere between 5,000 and 35,000 decisions every day.
The ability to make wise choices isn’t a personality trait, and having no willpower isn’t your problem. Psychologists call it “decision fatigue,” and it depletes your natural willpower. Given my background in fitness, I like to think of each decision as doing one repetition in strength training. If you’re doing bicep curls, at some point, your muscles are going to weaken and fatigue.
We start out in the morning filled up with energy and our best decision making skills. As the alarm goes off, we have to decide to snooze it or not. We decide if we’ll get out of bed, brush our teeth, take a shower, what to wear, what to eat or drink, and not to mention whatever else in going on in that head of ours about things we will be doing that day. Feeling a little depleted already?
Decision fatigue effects our ability to make the best and healthiest choices.
That’s when we grab the easiest thing to eat, do our impulse shopping, or snap at a loved one when we otherwise would have stayed calm or communicated more lovingly.
If decision fatigue has the ability to make our day-to-day decisions more challenging, imagine what it can do to those bigger life decisions around career, health, money, and relationships.
These are decisions we’ve probably been thinking about for quite a while. Filled with doubt and uncertainty, we are probably exhausted by the stress of it all. As time goes by, clarity seems to elude us even more.
How To Make Decisions More Effectively
Meditation is a way to calm the mind and become more present. Taking even a few minutes to simply notice your breath begins to illicit more relaxation in your body and clarity in your mind. Remember that the mind and your thoughts are not something you need to “turn off” during meditation. Meditation offers peace of mind as we embrace whatever we are experiencing in the moment with gentle attention.
Once you are aware of your experiences, with nothing to fight against, you then have a greater ability to choose what to give your attention to, be it your breath, bodily sensations, thoughts or emotions. This gentle awareness cultivated during meditation allows you to have more clarity and make better choices.
2. Take a Walk.
There’s nothing like fresh air, sun and nature to clear your mind and relax you. Even in the city, where I grew up, nature shows itself through the cracks in the sidewalk, the air, the sounds of pigeons and the sky above. Put down what you’re doing and take a walk, even for 10 minutes. I promise you’ll feel even better and clearer about your decisions.
3. Become Aware of When You’re Fatigued.
Sometimes we don’t like to admit when we’re fatigued. The “be tough” attitude keeps us moving forward despite illness, pain and emotional upset. What are we trying to prove and who really cares? What if the coolest thing you could do, the thing most respected by others, was taking care of yourself? Admitting you’re fatigued allows others to step up and assist you. I know you can toughen up and get it done. You’ve got nothing to prove to me. Notice when you’re on edge, when you want to grab those chips or candy bars at the check out, when you’re more “snappy” or impatient with your loved ones, or just plain not enjoying your life.
You’ll be at your best when you admit those times you’re not in the best state to make decisions.
When you’re confused, hungry, sick, tired, angry, frustrated, doubtful or agitated, know that you are not going to make the most effective decisions in the moment. Make the ones you absolutely need to right now, and save the rest for when you feel calmer, more peaceful, clear and loving.
4. Connect To Your Heart.
Your heart is a source of infinite solutions. It is meant to guide your mind and ego. Your heart holds and expresses the most loving viewpoints and choices available to you. Placing your hand on your heart and putting your attention and breath into your heart aligns you with your Divine Will-Power to make the best choices in the moment. It may surprise you by its guidance, but if you take action from that gentle quiet voice beneath your stressful thoughts and concerns, you’ll find that each step you take is indeed for your highest good.
5. Plan Ahead.
Even the most spontaneous of us can benefit by planning ahead. Write out your grocery list before you shop. Schedule in when you’ll pay the bills. Commit to what time and days you’ll exercise. Plan your meals ahead of time, whether that morning or for the week. Clear out your closet of clothes you don’t wear. Choose what day you’ll do laundry or clean house. You don’t need to be a schedule hound, but by planning ahead the things you know you’ll be doing anyway, you’ll have more energy for the decisions you need to make today, especially if there are big life-changing decisions you are thinking about.
6. Ask for Help From the Universe.
You don’t have to believe in God or the angels in order to get assistance from a universe that is in a living co-creative relationship with you. The thing I love about divine guidance is that it comes one step at a time, relieving us of a laundry list of decisions to make when making plans toward a goal.
Calling, praying, or asking for help works! Do it in your style, in a way that feels good to you, knowing that the universe and divine guidance are an ever-present source of love and support that will assist you if you ask and are willing to take action. You are never alone!
7. Talk to a Neutral Friend.
If we are stressed, trying to decide something, the last thing we need is for someone else to tell us what to do or rev up our stress by agreeing with us about how difficult our decision is. You may think this is what you want, but if you reflect back, you’ll find that although your friends meant well, what you really wanted was someone to just listen to you with love and compassion.
You want to find your own answers.
When a loving friend gives you even the best of advice without your asking, you are usually left feeling bad about not using it and they are left feeling frustrated by you not taking it. Asking a friend to just listen and gently reflect back what they hear helps you see more clearly. You might ask for their advice as a way to open your mind to a new viewpoint, knowing that in the end you are the one who will make your own decisions. Your friends love and care about you, and it is their love that holds you up in challenging times.
Writing down your thoughts, concerns, dreams and fears is a way to get them out of your head so you can think more clearly. By taking the time to give attention to your thoughts on paper, you get to know what you really want, what is stopping you, and which choice feels best. Journal. Draw. Doodle. Put those choices out on paper so you can see more clearly.
9. Make Decisions Quickly.
There’s plenty of research to back up the fact that successful people make decisions quickly. Now wait a minute – remember you do want to be in a calm clear state of mind before making major decisions. I’m talking about those day-to-day decisions that you might put off or doubt. What restaurant should we go to? Which shirt should I buy? Should I take a walk or continue working? Over thinking decisions has us doubt ourselves and creates more stress.
When you practice making decisions quickly, you begin to trust your own choices. You tap into your intuition, which is depleted when you analyze and dissect your choices. By practicing making decisions quickly, you’ll be better able to make those important choices when they arise.
10. Get More Sleep.
Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard this before. But seriously, our culture right now seems to pride itself on being over-worked and sleep deprived. Put down the phone, turn off the television and close your computer. Some of you remember the days before cell phones, computers and Cable T.V. Did you miss anything important back then? That text, Facebook post or T.V. episode is not that important. It’s all a form of more unnecessary stress, increasing your decision fatigue. Should I answer that text right now? Should I like that FB post, emoticon it, or type a comment?
Cut out unnecessary decisions and instead treat yourself to more rejuvenating sleep. Fill up your cup of clarity and energy for your next decision-filled day!
11. Eat Your Vegetables.
We live in a country of abundant food choices where many of us are under-nourished and sick. A plant-based whole foods diet feeds your body with the nourishment it needs to make the best choices for your life.
Glucose levels in our brain play an important role in our decision-making ability. We might habitually increase our glucose by eating sugar, but unfortunately, sugar spikes our glucose levels and then crashes them down quickly. We need to fuel our bodies with healthy nutrients throughout the day. If you’ve ever dieted, you know the effect that minimal food or lack of certain nutrients has on your willpower.
Worrying about the sugar, much less the carbs, fat, chemicals, GMO’s and processing that goes into your food will only create more stress. (I felt stressed just writing that last sentence!)
Instead, consider adding more whole foods, organic if possible, into your diet.
Add double the veggies in a recipe. Eat a handful of nuts instead of a Snicker’s bar. Choose to have water instead of soda. Buy whole grains like brown rice instead of white. Order a side of steamed vegetables. Eat an apple. You get the idea. More veggies please!
12. Make Your Important Decisions In the Morning.
Knowing that decision fatigue increases throughout the day, consider making your most important decisions in the morning. This is when you are well-rested and those glucose levels in your brain are at their highest.
P.S. Did I give too many choices on ways to make better decisions? Well, just pick one! Tell me a number between one and twelve. That one!
It's not just you, my beloved. The world is transforming and we're all in this together. You are a master and expert in your unique experiences and contribution to the world. Together we'll navigate through these challenging yet oh so juicy and magical times.