Willpower & Decision Fatigue

Faye Hutchins, FMH Fitness
2 min readAug 11, 2021


In their book ‘Willpower: Rediscovering our greatest strength’, Roy Baumeister & John Tierney claim that;

“The link betwen willpower and decision making works both ways. Decision making depletes your willpower, and once your willpower is depleted, you’re less able to make decisions”

Time and time again I hear the same things from women..

“I have no willpower”

“I can’t find the motivation”

“I can’t find the time”

All of these things can be resolved — with effective decision making.

Let’s start with willpower. As with motivation, we often rely on this thing which is never going to be there all of the time. When it’s not there; we fail to get things done, blaming it on the lack of willpower/motivation. What does this mean for fitness & nutrition goals? Lack of consistency, and lack of consistency equals lack of consistent progress (the goal is going to take far longer to reach)

So how do we resolve this? By reducing the risks of decision fatigue.

What is decision fatigue you ask?

Let’s imagine for a moment that you have planned absolutely nothing for tomorrow. Here are some decisions you will have to make with regards to fitness/nutrition:

  • Should I workout today
  • What workout should I do
  • What time should I workout
  • Do I have the time to fit it in
  • What clothes should I wear
  • What time should I eat
  • What should I eat
  • Do I have the right foods
  • Do I have the time to make this meal

How much brain power goes into making all of those decisions, to the point where you feel decision fatigue? You are so tired from making decisions, that making the ‘right’ decision becomes incredibly hard work, and so you go for the easy options (not working out, ordering a takeaway etc)

Now imagine this. Sitting yourself down for 15–30 minutes on a Sunday and planning the week ahead. Book your workouts into your diary, plan your meals, maybe even go the whole hog and prep them. What’s left to do on a daily basis? Get your gym kit on, do the workout, and eat.

The decisions have been made.

You don’t need willpower.

You don’t need motivation.

You just need to start with effective decision making

As for you can’t find the time?

We don’t find the time. We make the time.

If it is important to you; make it happen.

Look at your day and ask yourself honestly, do you really not have the time? What if you got up earlier? What if you watched less tv? What if you scrolled on your phone less? What if you learnt to multitask?

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Faye Hutchins, FMH Fitness

Online Fitness & Wellbeing Coach for Women. Personal Trainer. Ambassador for Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service. Solo Parent to Amber and our pup Stanley.