One of the things I often mention to my patients to improve their health is to follow the “80/20 rule”. This means is that if you follow healthy fundamentals 80% of the time, then the 20% of the time when you aren’t as strict won’t negatively impact you nearly as much. In other words, it’s a way to make progress while still having flexibility with your decisions. Here are some specific examples:
1. Nutrition. Inevitably when anyone wants to begin eating better they begin thinking of the foods they’ll no longer be able to eat. There’s no reason you have to abandon the treats you enjoy altogether, but you should “earn” them first. Eat well 80% of the time and then take pleasure in the 20% of the time when you’re dying for something decadent or less healthy.
2. Beverages. Bad beverages are essentially liquid calories and a recipe for weight gain, inflammation and poor health. You should make water and healthy beverages your best friend 80% of the time and make alcohol, juices, sugary drinks, artificially sweetened drinks, etc the exception to this rule.
3. Exercise. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE should exercise and that EVERYONE has time to do something to accomplish this, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, if you worked out 80% of those weeks it would equate to 41 weeks. That means in a year you’d theoretically be able to miss 11 weeks (nearly 3 months) and still have exercised 80% of the year. Shoot for this 80% goal at minimum, exercise at least 3 times per week during those weeks and you’ll notice amazing results.
4. Thoughts. Researchers estimate that human beings have anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately it is also estimated that for many people, 80% of these thoughts are either negative or self-limiting. The most successful people in athletics, business and life understand the link between positive thoughts and achievement. Make an effort to start thinking more positively about yourself, your life and the people and events around you and you’ll notice a profound difference. As an example, I recently read a book on the extremely difficult Navy SEAL training. Many of the instructors interviewed mentioned that while the program itself is so physically grueling, mental toughness was a much more reliable indicator for success than physical prowess.
5. Relationships. This is not a category most people would apply the 80/20 rule to, but I feel it’s important. All relationships have ups and downs but my opinion is that you need someone that makes you happy and also helps make you better as a person. If you believe your partner provides this for you 80% of the time (or more) than you’re probably with the right person! If however, that’s only the case 20% of the time (or less), than it may be time to make a change. Being with someone that makes you unhappy detracts from every facet of your life. You owe it to yourself to find someone that helps make your life better. This same principle can also apply to friendships.
Dr. Kenney has won multiple awards for “Best Chiropractor” and specializes in helping patients achieve their goals of better health and pain relief. For more information please continue to search our website, find us on Facebook (New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center) or call (303) 347-9906.