31 Days of Finding Freedom in Simplicity - Habits

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Yesterday we talked about decision fatigue, and how many decisions we, as adults, are expected to make every day.  No wonder we all are craving that simpler time!  We know that that simple time does not necessarily mean it was easier, but it was carved out of a consistent routine.  It also explains why I thought simple living meant going back to gardening and raising chickens.  What I did not count on was how much modern life still played a part of my every day, so instead of simplifying, I was making life more complicated for myself.

How do you combat decision fatigue?

One of the best ways to combat decision fatigue is to create habits.  When you create certain habits you are able to remove the decision making process completely for certain areas of your life.

Every morning when I get up I do the same few things, in the same order.  I go downstairs, turn on the coffee, brush my teeth, read a Proverb, and write in my write the word journal.  Now, there are days that I am able to do more than that during my morning routine, but for the most part, this is an everyday occurrence and I don’t have to think about it.  My body automatically goes through the motions, which is excellent considering I am still pretty much a zombie every morning, even if I do think of myself as a morning person.

This is a habit that I developed in high school.  Although back then I used a regular journal and did not drink the coffee, but it has helped me immensely to get through my morning easily, and almost mindlessly.

Using habits to defeat decision fatigue

If decision fatigue causes a loss of freedom, and instead delivers stress and anxiety about “what’s next?” habits will deliver on giving you the freedom you crave; and habits will deliver on the simplicity you want.

When you think about decision fatigue, one of the easiest ways to combat that fatigue is to limit your choices.  This in and of itself leads you to find freedom in simplicity.

When you limit your choices, you are able to make decisions quicker, and then not fall into the constant fatigue of what is next.

Limiting choices can seem stressful at first, but once you do it will help to deliver the freedom that you crave.

This is where your mission statement comes into play.  Your mission statement will give you the framework in order to minimize your choices in the large decisions.  When you measure a decision against your mission statement, it either will be clear that it is something you should do, or clear that it is something you should not do, because it will either line up, or not line up with your values and the way that you want to live your life.

You don’t need to keep revisiting that decision in the future once you have measured it against your mission statement.  It will most likely always be a hard no for you.  It doesn’t completely alleviate making the decision, but when you don’t have to think about it – just like having certain habits every day that you don’t need to think about – the decision comes that much easier.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate habits into your day is to look at your day in blocks of time.  Set up a regular morning routine – get up at the same time every day, follow the same list of items in order.  Once you are doing this for a period of time (some experts say 21 days, some say longer), it will become second nature and you won’t need to think about it.  This is nice when you aren’t exactly a morning person.  

Look at your lunch time block if you work outside of the home, look at your dinner time routine, and what happens after your kids go to bed.  Everyone has always said that kids need a good bedtime routine to thrive, and I’m sure you have done the same thing for years with your children.  You should do the same for yourself.

Another great way to decrease decision fatigue (and make your mornings easier as well) is to create a uniform that you will wear every single day.  It may sound a little silly to make the decision to wear the same outfit every day, but there are a lot of great, successful people who do this.  The three that come to mind are Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, and President Obama.  Limiting the choice of what to wear each morning has given them all freedom to make really important and life changing decisions.

What are some habits that you have that help relieve some of that decision fatigue?

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