glow notes

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The 80/20 thang

Lots of people talk about the 80/20 rule , which is a great little tool for giving up perfectionism. There are other ways to apply this rule. In food/fitness, here are some examples:

Eat 'right' 80% of the time, eat fun foods 20% of the time.
Exercise 80% of days, take 20% of days off.

I see a lot of people get the "fuck-its" and give up when they feel imperfect. Hell, I've done it. Examples look something like this:

  • "I ate a salad and chicken breast for dinner but was still hungry so ate ice cream."
    (Ellie's thoughts: So? I eat ice cream most evenings, but I eat a reasonable amount. And what's with the salad and chicken breast thing, anyhow. You're allowed to have real food, just in controlled amounts.)
  • "I didn't have time to work out on Tuesday and then I got off track and didn't do it the rest of the week."
    (Ellie's thoughts: You didn't have time to take the stairs at work? Go for an evening walk? Do a few pushups? Stretch before bed? And why did this send you into a tailspin anyhow? You need rest days.)
  • "I went out to dinner and ate wayyyyyy too much. I even had pie with ice cream. I felt really crappy the next day, and my diet just went to hell all week."
    (Ellie's thoughts: One meal isn't going to make you fat. Letting it cause you to get the fuck-its will.)

Dude, it's ok to be imperfect . . . 20% of the time. Just kidding about that, but 80% is a good max goal for being "good."


  • At 7:14 PM, Blogger John said…

    I use that approach in my training. My best workouts are in the afternoon. But if I wait until the afternoon, something will come up and I won't get to the gym. So the 80% effectiveness at 6 AM is better than 100% effectiveness never.

  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger Thomas said…

    This post is great. I really like the response to the "didn't have time..." comment. That has REALLY inspired me to do SOMETHING...ANYTHING at LEAST 30 minutes a day. A creative one was RUNNING to the bank. hahaha. I really did and it was fun. I mean c'mon do I really have any excuse for not doing something that might break a sweat for 30 minutes? I Love you, Ellie!!!!


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