How Conserving Mental Energy Helps Us Reach Our Goals

Not too long ago, I met a teacher named Linda. One thing led to another and Linda asked me what I did for a living. Once I told her I was a health and fitness coach she said, “Well I definitely need to lose weight, but when I come home after work, there’s so much to do that I just don’t have the energy to focus.”

Now this would usually be the point when some fitness coaches would go on a rant about how she needs to prioritize her health, suck it up and do it anyway, etc, etc. But that’s not my style. Honestly, the answer to most problems is rarely “suck it up and try harder.” In fact, when you have a lot on your plate and feel overwhelmed, “trying harder” makes no sense – in fact it can be counterproductive.

Have you ever stopped and wondered just how many decisions you make each and every day? If you couple that with the fact that each of us has only so much mental energy to go around, it’s understandable that we can be too overwhelmed and mentally exhausted to focus on eating healthy or exercising. Each decision we make, from decisions at work, to what to eat, what to wear, what to buy or even what to watch on TV/Netflix drains our mental energy. And oh, by the way, the stress on our mental energy is multiplied when you consider taking care of kids and aging parents.

When it comes to change, most just think they’re lazy or lacking motivation or willpower – hence where the “try harder” comment usually comes in. But what you actually may be struggling with is mental exhaustion or as researchers call it “decision fatigue.” In other words, it’s possible that we’re too mentally exhausted to be able to focus on our fitness and weight loss goals.

So what’s the answer?

The answer is that we need to think about ways we can conserve our mental energy! One strategy to start doing this is to spend some time breaking down the major decisions/activities we do or make each day into one of 4 categories:

  • Things you hate but don’t have to do
  • Things you hate but have to do
  • Things you love and don’t have to do
  • And things you love and have to do

Here’s how it works…

First, think about things you hate but don’t have to do and eliminate them. If you really think about it, there are probably a few things you hate doing that aren’t that necessary.

Next, ask yourself: What do I hate doing, that absolutely drains my mental energy but I still need to get done? Once you have this list of things you hate but have to do, the key is to AUTOMATE as many of these things as possible. This way you can conserve some mental energy and put it towards things you enjoy and towards achieving your goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Planning and organizing ahead of time can be a great strategy. Maybe you spend a fair amount of time and energy deciding what to wear each morning. If that’s the case, try planing out and organizing your wardrobe during the weekend so it’s already done for you ahead of time.
  • You can even do the same when it comes to making decisions about food. By planning out what you’re going to eat ahead of time and portioning it out into containers (aka meal prepping), it automates choices you make about food.
  • Another great strategy is to delegate tasks or hire someone to do them for you. For example, there are many meal delivery services like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh that will deliver food to your door so you don’t even have to cook. It does cost a little extra but it is another great example of how you can conserve mental energy.
  • Some of my clients who hate doing housework have hired a cleaning service to come in once a week to do the things they hate doing (i.e. laundry, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms etc). In fact, since many prefer to be home with the service, many of them find that while the cleaning people are in the house, it’s a great time to get a workout in (talk about being super productive).

    The biggest reason you want to come up with ways to conserve your mental energy when it comes to tasks you hate to do, is because it will allow you to focus on the things you love. And that’s really what life is about, isn’t it? To be able to do the stuff that you enjoy.

    That’s why a lot of people hire a fitness coach, for example. Investing in a fitness coach helps many achieve their goals without expending a lot of mental energy – resulting in a drastic increase in the chance of them being successful with minimal drain on their time and mental energy. They plan your workouts for you so you don’t have to. They answer any questions you have so you don’t have to spend time researching them yourself. They help you hone in on some of your biggest struggles with food and they help provide you with solutions. And they help by holding you accountable to yourself.

    Whichever strategies you decide to focus on first, I highly suggest that you take some time to really think about ways that you can better automate your life and save some mental energy. Your goals and your happiness will thank you later 🙂
  • Share on facebook
    Share on twitter
    Share on linkedin

    Related Articles

    5 Overlooked Exercises for a Stronger Core

    Having a strong core becomes increasingly important as we age. As the years go by, especially if a lot those years has been spent relatively inactive, our core begins to weaken – creating a cascade of consequences. Our back starts to hurt, our posture gets more “hunched,” our hips and knees stiffen and our strength

    Read More »

    7 Exercises to Help Reverse Computer Posture

    The average person in the U.S. spends over 7 hours sitting at a computer. While, for many of us, this is unavoidable – it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Studies show that spending hours at the computer negatively affects our posture, causes stiffness in the neck, upper back and shoulders as well as a

    Read More »

    How to Find a Form of Exercise You Don’t Hate

    “Chris, I really don’t like exercise. In fact, I don’t just dislike exercise, I detest it. I hate it. If there was a pill I could take instead of having to exercise, I would be the first in line.” That was what a client told me during our initial consultation a number of years ago.

    Read More »

    7 Exercises that Reverse the Effects of Sitting

    So much of our everyday lives revolve around sitting doesn’t it? We sit at our desk at work, spend countless hours in our car, sit to read, watch TV, scroll through social media, etc. Sitting is seemingly unavoidable, but too much can wreak havoc on both our bodies and our mind- causing health consequences such

    Read More »

    5 Simple & Effective Morning Mobility Exercises

    Spending just 5 minutes per day doing mobility exercises within 30 minutes of waking up can provide the following benefits: Decreases stiffness caused by sleeping Increases circulation Helps you wake up Increases energy Prevents injuries Reduces stress Improves memory Boosts productivity and creativity Starts your day with a feeling of accomplishment Here are 5 exercises

    Read More »

    What You Don’t Know About Your Metabolism Is Hurting You

    Most people think of their metabolism only when thinking about their weight. But the truth is, your metabolism is so much more important than being a factor in how much you weigh. A healthy metabolism means your body is getting the energy it needs, is detoxing properly, and is repairing tissues and that our hormones

    Read More »

    Connect with me

    Listen to the podcast

    Follow Me on Facebook

    Ask me a question on twitter

    © 2022 Believe In You Now Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.