Using The 80/20 Rule
Enjoy a Fit Friday guest post from the awesome Toby of Blue Seas Fitness and Wellness.
So you have decided to take the plunge and start plugging away at a new and healthier lifestyle. And, you’re ready to do it all; the exercise, the eating right, the getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of water and maybe even are setting higher goals beyond that, like running a 5K for the first time. You’re all in, 100% right?
Then, life happens. You’re stuck at a ball park all day watching your kids. Your job requires you to go out of town on a last minute business trip. Your friends invite you to an impromptu evening out. And, that family vacation you have planned is right around the corner. Still in, 100% right?
The truth is, you cannot and should not set yourself up on a plan that expects you to be right on target 100% of the time. By doing this you simply set yourself up to fail. And when you fall off the wagon, you feel like a failure to yourself and you have an even more difficult time climbing back on without having to start the process all over again. So why not set yourself up on a more realistic plan and play by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of the time you are going to be right on target and 20% of the time is left for life’s little things that happen.
Let’s talk about how that might work in the world of health and wellness. I usually set each of my clients up on a nutritional plan where they are responsible for counting calories, carbohydrates and proteins while also watching their sodium levels. If they are hitting their target numbers at least 5 ½ days out of the week, then I consider that to be a great week. For example, Client A hit their target food and beverage numbers for the week Monday through Saturday afternoon and then Saturday night they attended a family wedding where they celebrated the night away with great food and cocktails. And when they went to log in on Sunday, they realized that they went completely off target for the day. Guess what? That’s OK!!! The key is getting prepared on Sunday for the week ahead and get right back to those target numbers. Think of it as celebrating how great you did 80% of the week.
The same things can be said when setting up any exercise regimen. Do not strive to workout 7 days a week. The number one reason is because your body also has to have time to rest. If you work out strenuously 7 days a week and never give your body time to heal, your muscles will quit responding and your body will start shutting down as its way of protecting you from injury. Again, set yourself up on a more workable schedule such as 4 times a week with maybe adding a 5th if you’re out walking the dog or playing ball with your kids. Hit the gym for training, jump in on a fitness class or create an in-home workout that you can do 3-4 times per week and stick to it. Let the other 2-3 days be rest days. Stay active; not sedentary, but allow yourself time to rest and heal. And there it is…..that 80/20 rule you can actually follow.
No goal reaching plan is easy to attain but giving yourself some leeway, some breathing room, will keep you from failure. Now, you realize I didn’t say GO CRAZY on that 20%, but just don’t beat yourself up because you were put in a situation where you couldn’t be perfect. If your nutritional plan says “stay away from high sugar items” because your body doesn’t metabolize them, then don’t sabotage yourself by running directly to that. Instead, give yourself a break from the numbers and have a treat every once in awhile then get right back on track. If getting back on track after a “20%” day is your biggest struggle, seek support from others. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help and sometimes having someone be there to hold you accountable is easier….that’s just simply trying to make your 80% days perfect!!
No matter what you do or what plan you set for yourself, always allow time to breathe; time to be less than perfect and in turn, you will be successful.
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