There are more tools, apps, diets and gurus than ever to help you get fit and healthy. There seem to be more people seeking the answers than ever, but fewer people finding them. Maybe the solution is not to add more tools to the process, but find the most effective ones. The 80/20 rule is about simplifying and defining the process. Sometimes subtraction from the process can be the most valuable addition. Follow these simple steps of the 80/20 rule and you will find success easier than you thought.
Don’t Expect Perfection
No one is perfect, not even the experts and gurus despite what they might post or portray. If you expect perfection out of yourself you will set yourself up for disappointment and failure. Set yourself up for success by sticking to healthy eating and exercise 80% of the time. For most people this is more realistic. Do not use this as a cop out. It’s my cheat day, I was good all day I deserve a treat, and these are lame excuses and BS. The 80/20 rule, in this instance, simply means that 80% of the time you will plan to eat healthy and exercise while acknowledging that 20% of the time life will put you in situations where your choices will be less than optimal and you will have to choose the lesser of the evils and none of the choices will fall within your 80%. You don’t have to plan your 20%; life will take care of that for you. The rest of the time you are sticking to your plan.
Addition by Subtraction
Keep a food journal for a week. No one has to see it but you so be honest, otherwise it won’t work. Sometimes we lie to ourselves the most. After a week look over your food journal and identify 20% of the foods that cause 80% of your problems and eliminate them. I said eliminate, not reduce or eat occasionally. You have to eliminate them completely. You will be surprised how much this one change will affect your health, energy and ability to hit your goals.
Don’t Run Yourself Into the Ground
When it comes to exercise the “Minimum Effective Dose” is best. A lot of people exercise too much and wind up exhausted and injured. Most people have an hour a day to exercise, on average. Find an exercise that if you did for 20% of that hour would give you 80% of the benefits of exercise. My advice is to do something that involves strength training, full body movement and gets your heart pumping. I recommend doing these 3-5 days per week. This will give you everything you need to get all of the benefits of exercise. Don’t expect exercise to help you lose weight. I can’t state this any simpler, if you want to get in better shape, exercise, if you want to lose weight, eat healthier. Too many people try to out exercise a crappy diet and it just doesn’t work, ever. Do some form of exercise that fit the requirements I stated earlier and find the “minimum effective dose” and you will enjoy all of the benefits of exercise without the negatives.
You are your habits
I had a habit of not putting the cap back on my water bottle. I would spill my water and tell myself it was an accident. After doing it repeatedly I realized it wasn’t an accident, it was a habit and until I changed the habit I would keep spilling the water. Go back over your 1-week food journal and think back to the times you were eating the 20% food that you eliminated. Chances are it is tied to a behavior or habit. Every time you repeat that behavior your will crave those foods. In the book “The Power of Habit” Charles Duhigg states that you cannot eliminate a habit without first replacing it. Replace that “eliminated” food with a healthy food or replace that behavior with one that enhances your life. Just realize our brains are wired by habits. Don’t try to fight it or you will be waging a losing battle. Go with the flow of your brain and replace it with a healthier habit. It will take about two weeks on average then you will experience greater success and health.
Get Started Today
That’s it. Follow the four steps listed below and see how the 80/20 rule can enhance your life and health.
- Plan on eating healthy 80% of the time
- Identify 20% of the food that causes 80% of your problems and eliminate
- Find a form of exercise that if done 20% of the time will give you 80% of the benefits and perform the “minimum effective dose”.
- Replace the 20% of your behaviors/habits that are causing 80% of your problems with healthier habits.
General George Patton said, “ An imperfect plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan started tomorrow” If you want change, don’t wait, Get started now!