By the time you crawl into bed at the end of the night, you have likely faced thousands of choices minute-by-minute and got to bed time feeling stressed, exhausted and further behind than when you started the day.

The reality for most fitness professionals who are running their own business is days filled with firefighting and desperately trying to make their to-do-list fit on to just one piece of paper.

The way out of a life like this is Choice Minimalism.

I don’t know who coined that phrase but I love it!

Our brains work hardest when we have a choice to make.

Little effort is required in decisions which have only one option.

For instance, if you see someone about to get run over by a car, you will naturally reach out and grab them. 

The decision takes no thought or energy and the stress involved (provided you help them avoid the car) is next to nothing.

However, due to the development of the Western world, and in particular, the internet we are faced with a never-ending barrage of stressful decisions involving multiple choices over and over and over again throughout the day.

We can choose from 5 different breakfast options.

We can choose from 105 different coffee options.

We can choose from 15 different shirts, 20 pairs of shoes and 3 different hairstyles

(I continue to shave my head partly for this reason – it was always so stressful wondering if it was a good hair day, how much gel to use, how to spike it up and so on! Being bald is one less thing to think about!)

We can choose from 100 different radio stations and podcasts in on the drive to work.

We can choose from 10 different workouts we saw on Instagram whilst eating breakfast.

And that’s before we even start to run our fitness business!

When we get down to work on the business we can choose from launching some Facebook ads, writing new programs, creating a new group fitness concept, fixing the broken machine in the gym, contacting some local businesses, filming some new content…

Or do we just watch some funny video that Dave sent on WhatsApp this morning?

Today’s life is ‘mental oriental’ if you don’t install some ruthless Choice Minimalism.

Your brain will always be in ten different places at once.

When we start purposefully reducing the choices we have available, we start to become more and more focused on the 1-2 or two things that REALLY matter to our personal and business progress.

Here are 10 examples of Choice Minimalism. 

I suggest you put into practise as many as you can and watch how you start to get more done (and faster) with less stress involved.

1 – Weekly Success Planner

Plan your week out by Task Categories in 30 minute blocks from the moment you get up to the moment you are done for the working day and have some free time in the evening for family, hobbies etc.

Fill in the category spaces with the specific tasks that need to be done.

This may include (but is not limited to):

  • Meditation
  • Business growth
  • Content production
  • Team meeting/training
  • Workouts
  • Eating
  • Training or conducting calls with clients
  • Studying
  • Social media posts
  • Housekeeping (general jobs that need doing like buying a new vacuum cleaner and going to the post office)
  • Family time

This ensures that you have specific and focused time in which you do NOTHING else but the task at hand (including casually checking social media).

This is mine…

2 – One vision and one project at a time

Have ONE business project to take from start to release in 12 weeks.

Other than keeping current business services running, you work on NOTHING else until it’s finished.

Whenever your schedule shows Business Growth, you get down to it and crush it.

Do NOT leave business growth to ‘whenever I have some spare time’.

Plan it in like your most valuable client and never change the appointment!

When someone presents you with a new opportunity, you evaluate it according to the one vision and one project you have stated is crucial at this time.

If it will help and amplify the results, it may be worth considering.

Most of the time it will just be something else that seems exciting but in reality just extends the time it will take to reach the vision you determined to be important for your life to move in the right direction.

3 – Tidy your house and office up

The fewer things your eyes have to focus on, the less chance there is of being distracted from whatever is on your Success Planner for that 30 minute block.

When you’re writing, you should be able to see nothing but your laptop, any rough notes and maybe some inspirational art work on the wall in front of you.

Put your headphones on and shut everything out. 

Tell anyone who tends to walk in ‘for a chat’ that you are busy for the next 60 minutes and to hold anything that is not a life threatening emergency.

4 – Apply rucksack mentality

Throw out at least 90% of your clothes.

It’s important to look nice and feel confident in what you wear.

But people care a lot less than you think.

Having a smaller wardrobe dramatically cuts down the time and brain power wasted on trying to piece together the perfect outfit.

(You’re going to change your mind as soon as you get out the door anyway!)

When I’m travelling I have very few clothes and half of those are training kit.

When I really feel it’s time for new ones, something has to go to make space.

You can extend this to all the ‘stuff’ you own.

Apart from my apartment (which is rented out) and my motorbike which INCREASES my feelings of freedom, I own about 7 boxes of stuff.

I could move house with a small van and a couple of return trips.

5 – Create a morning routine

I get up with the alarm at 0600, head to the kitchen where I down a pint of lime infused water and head into the living room for 20 minutes of meditation.

At 0630 I make the breakfast that is programmed into my nutrition plan and eat it slowly, listening to music and thinking about anything that popped up during meditation (no music, TV or phone scrolling).

At 0700 I work on business growth tasks then at 0800 head out to the gym.

Every day.

There is no choice because it’s a routine.

You may not be able to do it quite like that but creating a routine will stop you wasting what is the best time of the day to focus and set intentions for the next 10-12 hours.

6 – Have fewer friends

This sounds counter-intuitive for a happy life, but having a small circle of awesome people that you talk to on WhatsApp (and of course in real life…) gives you fewer feelings of responsibility, fewer events you feel you have to be at and improves the quality of relationships that you do maintain.

Follow people who genuinely contribute to your happiness on social media.

Do you really give a shit any more if that client you had 7 years ago just got a new dog and it just laid a big shit in her Jimmy Choo’s?

If someone provides value, education or humour, follow them. 

If not, start culling the list.

Give your eyes fewer choices of distractions on your brief forays into social media (according to schedule…).

EVERY time you go on social media you are likely to see something that sends your focus and thought patterns in another direction just because someone else is doing something your not and you get FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

7 – Get a training and nutrition plan designed for you

You may well know exactly what to do for your goals.

However, this is about not giving yourself room for ‘experiments’ and the like which will pull you away from the initial goal and start turning 60 minute workouts into 90 minutes.

Be accountable to one trainer.

Have a nutrition plan that you stick to.

Reduce the choices.

“THIS is what I have to eat.”

Eat, then move on to the next focused period on your Success Schedule.

Once you’ve made your choice of trainer, turn off notifications from anyone else.

Seeing the 932 trainers you didn’t choose to work with will simply increase the ‘Opportunity Cost’ of the choice you made.

This choice is what you ‘lost out on’ by making the choice you did.

Obviously the more people you see and the more options you see after committing, increases the opportunity cost. 

On social media, this is virtually infinite which is why so many people spend their life jumping ship and moving from one workout program to another making no progress whatsoever.

Choose one and go all in.

8 – Use a call/session booking planner

It’s so easy as a trainer to allow people to book in whenever suits them.

I found a lot more freedom in my life when I started stating when I was available for personal training (even though in reality I could have trained anyone ‘whenever’).

Sure enough, virtually everyone worked around these times because that was the choice they were given.

“Any time between 8-12 Monday, Wednesday or Friday”

“Can you do Tuesday?”

“Nope”

“Okay I’ll do Wednesday then”

This isn’t being selfish because you will have more free time to get your energy back and stay on form and to work on developing other areas of the business that increase the value you provide to customers.

This can be automated with an online booking system so people log-in and choose from the availability you have set.

9 – When you need to work, leave your phone somewhere else

It’s just too tempting to have your smart phone next to you.

Turn it off and leave it by the door or in a draw.

This way, you have to go get it, turn it on and wait until it’s ready to go.

Most of the time this will buy you the time to realise it is a habitual reaction and you actually have no real reason to check your phone.

10 – Choose one relationship

Choose one.

Go all in.

If it doesn’t work, move on quickly, knowing you gave it all you could.

This may save you more heartache, stress and pain than all of the above.