We've all been there.  You know what you WANT to do.  You know the decision you SHOULD make.  But, then you lose all willpower, all energy to make that decision.  You stop at the fast food place you didn't want to stop at.  You stay planted on the couch channel-surfing vs. going to the gym.  You are faced with a difficult decision and you seem to have no energy to make it, so you push it off another day.

Is it just you have "no willpower"?  Maybe not.  It's what researchers often call "decision fatigue".  Your will power is fading and your brain is tired of making decisions, so you make a bad decision, no decision, or seem to lose all willpower.  

At The Journey, in our series Flip or Flop, which you can watch here: http://www.thejourneycc.com/sermons

we've been talking about how our daily decisions determine our destination.  It's about the small decisions that we make every day.  One after another, moving in the right direction.  James Clear writes in Entrepenuer magazine that research by Columbia University on willpower showed how much small daily decisions impact willpower.  In another research study of judges sitting on parole boards, it was found that the #1 thing that affected decision-making was the time of day the decision was made and the "decision fatigue" the judge had.  The best time to make decisions and the time when your willpower will be at it's best is in the morning.  Your willpower hasn't been beaten down by all the decisions you've had to make throughout the day.  You're fresh.  You're decision making ability isn't fatigued yet.

Clear suggests 5 ways to make better decisions, to overcome decision fatigue, to make the small daily decisions you want and need to make.  I've tweaked them for our Flip or Flop series discussion:   

5 Secrets to Making Better Daily Decisions

1.  Plan daily decisions the night before.  Want to start going to the gym every morning?  Set out your clothes the night before.  Get your gym bag ready.  Pack your lunch the night before.  Those don't seem like big decisions and they aren't.  But they are decisions and all the decisions we make create decision fatigue.  So, take care of the easy decisions the night before and you'll have a fuller tank in the morning.  Want to start reading the Bible and praying in the morning?  Make the decision the night before to pick out your clothes, to decide what you'll have for breakfast, to have your Bible/journal spot picked out and ready to go for the morning.  Pre-determining saves your decision making the next day.

2.  Do the most important things first.  The research shows you will have your best decision making willpower in the morning, so do the most important things first.  Do you start the morning with facebook or email?  Often you end up reacting to what others have left for you.  Decide the night before what's most important the next day and do that first.  

3.  Stop making decisions and start making commitments.  Put it in your calendar.  Tell someone.  Set up your schedule.  Develop a routine.  Block it out.  What commitments do you need to make?  What needs to go on the calendar?

4.  Reset.   Sometimes we need to make decisions later in the day when our willpower is fading fast.  All you want to do is listen to some music, veg out, not make any decisions.  What do you do?  GET UP!  Eat something, go on a walk, reset.

5.  Simplify.  Are you being overrun by the mundane?  Are you committed to too many tv shows?  Are you setting yourself up for failure by being overloaded?  You may need to create some more margin in your life to do this, but when you're too busy all you do is respond and react. You stop for a quick bite at a fast food place, you indulge in a bad habit, you don't get around to the gym but you end up on the couch watching tv.  Simplify so you can focus on the important.

Your daily decisions determine your destination and these 5 secrets can impact your willpower and set you up to make the right decisions, one at a time.

What step do you need to take?

Paul Urban