The 80/20 Rule for Resolutions

As the new year begins and social media and blogs (myself not excluded) are full of New Year’s resolutions and areas in which we want to improve. While I was blog-hopping (though I have now learnt that Blog Hops are something different) I stumbled across the page of Rebbeca Shern (Minimal Wellness) and her post on the 80/20 principle.

Now the 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle or the law of the vital few, has it’s roots in economics and states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”- so that 20% of our efforts lead to 80% of our results. According to legend, Pareto noticed that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population and realized this ratio could be applied to other areas such as production etc. (Wikipedia)

The principle has found its way into several other areas such as increasing work productivity, the clothing we wear (we wear the same 20% roughly 80% of the time), the apps we use, diet and money etc.

Rebecca Shern took the 80/20 rule and applied it to healthy living, by stating that “personal wellness is 80 percent behaviour and 20 percent knowledge“. She also made the case that we already have the knowledge we need, and that we should rather “shift our focus from seeking knowledge to improving our daily choices“.

We don’t need to look for more knowledge in further purchases of books on how to start jogging, buying meditation cushions to finally start meditating or equipment we probably won’t be using after a month. It is putting what we already know into practice and making it a habit that makes for a healthy life. The same goes for resolutions- it is about taking the time and getting down to doing it (or not, if you are quitting).

I’ll admit I have been struggling with my resolutions (yes I know it is only the 4th of January) and the impulse to buy things has been high, in my head there is this voice that says “if you buy this or that (especially apps and online courses) it will be sooo much easier and this book definitely has the info you need to reach your goal”. But at this very moment where my challenge for January is to eat better, sit down for my meals without distractions and try new recipes I already have the information I need, I think the same can be applied to those that want to exercise more, stress less, meditate more, and sleep better, I just need to make a conscious effort every day to do it.

And as Shern says. “A healthier life isn’t imparted upon us, it’s energized by action and built by better behaviors.

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