I’m willing to bet that the majority of people can give 20% of their all towards most things in life. That’s all I want from you. Can you give me that? Fantastic. So how does this work? It’s the magic of The Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 or 20/80 rule, whichever way you want to flip it.
Old mate Pareto came up with this idea when he observed that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population. Since then the Pareto Principle has been found to apply to many different areas of life:
80% of sales come from the 20% of your loyal clients OR 80% of sales come from 20% of your products (the best sellers)
80% of results comes from 20% of companies employees
80% of crimes come from 20% of people
80% of accidents come from 20% of drivers
20% of students get grades above 80%
…. and your health is no exception! 80% of your results can come from focusing on the 20%. What’s the thing you can prioritise that is going to give you maximum results?
Let me give you an example. When I was a bartender at a loose establishment in Whistler, Canada, our main seller was cheap well doubles. The majority of orders coming through were going to be for cheap doubles. Now, along comes Pareto with his handy 80/20 Principle, and I realise the 20% of the job I can focus on that is going to get me the most results (the 80%), and make me good at my job, is getting good at pumping out them doubles. Sure there’s cocktails and beers and shots and glass washing and food orders to be done too, they’re all part of the job. However, when shit gets crazy and there’s a back up of orders, most of those orders are going to be doubles. So if I can pump them out and get them to the customers quick, things are going to be OK… even if I’m not the best at the other stuff! I’m getting 80% of the results by focusing on 20% of the job.
Ok enough talk about booze, let’s get back to health. I asked the question above about what is the thing, the 20% that you can focus on to get most of your results. That thing is undoubtedly NUTRITION. The food and liquid we put into our mouth several times a day, every day, for our whole life. Makes sense it would have a big impact right?
Now I know some of you are thinking,
“But nutrition is such a massive thing for 20%! It IS the thing we do every day,”
and you’re right. However, when you think about all the other things people tend to focus on and dabble in when it comes to their health… we’re talking: supplements (and not just the foundations, people go and buy the most specific supplement and think it’s going to be their answer), exercise selection, how many sets/reps, this protein shake or that protein shake, should I meditate for 5 mins or 30 mins, sit or lay down, morning or night, what are the best skin care products, which pillow is best for my sleep… it goes on and on and on. All that means jack if you can’t get your nutrition right.
If you’re at a loss, you’ve tried and failed, likely many times (been there!), I want you to bring it back to basics. I want you to stop majoring in the minors. Forget the intricacies and the minutia and just focus on what you put in your mouth. Even then, we’re gonna strip back nutrition to the basics, the 20% we can do that’s going to get us our 80% of results. Check out my Top 10 Nutrition Principles (you can just pick 1 or 2 of these to start), or start with replacing your current breakfast with a delicious smoothie. These simple habits, these 1 or 2 things can be the things that get you most of your results, and give you that momentum and confidence to then take it from 80% to 100% if you want!
The links above are absolutely my best recommendation to get started, but I don’t like leaving you empty handed here either. So here’s some of my top recommendations for your 20%:
Breakfast smoothie (carbs, protein & fats)
Majority of liquid you consume should be water (there’s that 80% again)
Whole foods. Try to keep away from things in boxes, packages, wrappers (80% of the time is more than enough!).
These are things you very likely already know, but if you really want change, sustainable change, you don’t want to fail again… you gotta commit to these habits. They’re not overnight quick fixes. There’s an old saying from a brand name that’s escaping me right now, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.” They work because they aren’t quick fixes, they’re not gimmicks. Keep it simple. Pick 1 or 2 things to focus on and commit.
So there you have it. Vilfredo Pareto coming through with the goods. Find your 20%, get your 80%. It’s 4 Your Health.