Decisions Fatigue

As you move further away from what society expects from you and reset early, you realize that there are less pre-prescribed decisions made for you. You don’t have to go to that job, you don’t have to stay in the area you live in, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Now, you might be thinking: “Wow that sounds great!”, but it was this situation that actually is what terrified me. I no longer had parameters to the decisions I was making.

It no longer was, what’s the best 2 weeklong vacation I can take? It now is, what’s the best way I can enjoy this vacation? Do I travel often, or do I stay put and get to know cities better? What do I do once I get there? How should I get around there? Where should I stay? What should I do? There are just so many decisions that come into play and while finance is still something we all think about since even those who have retired generally have a budget, there also are other factors that play a part in your decisions.

Oddly it takes a balance of these decisions being yours to make and knowing when to leave decisions to others and we each have to determine that balance for ourselves.

I used to hate taking cruises. It felt like forced relaxation and I love traveling, exploring and getting out and walking. Cruises felt like the opposite to me. However, I recently went on a 7-night cruise, and it was a nice break from the daily decisions about travel I’ve been making. It took care of the decisions for where am I sleeping, how am I getting around, where am I eating each meal at and still left me with decisions on which activities I was going to perform and what to do after we got off at port which for a week was a perfect balance for me.

After the cruise, I went back to my other way of traveling around Europe making lots of decisions and having a general plan and determining where we were going to eat every meal. I still definitely enjoy that too because I get a greater flexibility in eating local cuisine, I’ve been able to get out and walk more which I’m sure if increasing my overall health, but I’ll still stick with taking free walking tours in towns because sometimes it’s better to get the local history from a local than missing out on the wonderful history that some of these old European cities have.

I still sometimes get analysis paralysis and just don’t want to make decisions, having a travel or life partner can definitely assist with making less decisions overall, but there are also tricks we can do to make our lives easier like:

  1. Make decisions once and in advance, if possible. It can be as simple as having your weekly meals planned out or habit stacking after breakfast, I go for a walk.
  2. Put a time limit on how long you’ll spend to make a decision. I’ll look for an Airbnb for 10 minutes, if I can’t find one, I’ll book a hotel.
  3. Narrow down the options. After narrowed down, roll a dice or flip a coin. You might even figure out what you really want while rolling.
  4. Find a partner for traveling or life. I know this one might seem harder, but it really can help to have someone else splitting decision-making responsibilities.
  5. Set up a schedule. Having a detailed or rough schedule of activities can help with daily motivation to do these items and if they’re done with others, the external accountability will keep you focused.

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