Use the Pareto Principle for Better Results

Recently there have been a number of reality tv shows with an entrepreneurial or business aspect. The Prophet and Shark Tank that come to mind. And while it’s not necessarily a major feature of either of these shows I definitely like certain business concepts and practices. This includes the Pareto Principle.

What the Pareto Principle tells us is that 80% of our rewards comes from 20% of our efforts. In other words there are things we can do which can have a huge impact in our businesses.The goal then becomes to not only figure out what the 20% is but how to make sure we put as much emphasis and attention on the 20% as possible.

And this got me to thinking as to whether the Pareto Principle could be applied to our health & fitness as well? Could we figure out which actions and efforts lead to positive results? And if so, could we then alter our focus to ensure we are doing only the things that give us the very best return on investment?

I believe so. And here’s how I suggest we could go about doing so.

Journal Everything 

Write down what you eat and what you do for exercise

Write down what you eat and what you do for exercise

In order to figure out what works best, and what doesn’t, we need to be meticulous note takers. For example, if someone’s goal was fat loss, we might track how much weight we lose using a variety of different training protocols. How much weight did you  lose when you included running as part of your program? Or when you  added in going for a run over the lunch? Did training for a power-lifting competition make much of a difference?

Keeping a journal well allow you to go back and see the periods where your weight dropped, maintained, or increased during different types of training.

Besides the training, you’ll want to track your nutrition. What happened when you started taking a pro-biotic? Did creatine work for you? What happened over the Christmas vacation? Did you benefit from eating more protein? Drinking more water? Bringing lunch to work? Preparing meals for the week on the weekend?

Have a journal to refer back to will provide clues as to what worked better and what didn’t work well, and maybe even stalled your progress.

What Could You Do More Of?

Once you have data on the changes you made and the impact this had you can now figure out what had the biggest impact. For example, let’s say you started running 3 days per week over the lunch hour and found you dropped 7 pounds in a couple of weeks. Would it be possible to add in one other weekday at the lunch hour to see if there is more potential to be obtained?

And with your nutrition, if you brought your lunch to work on Mon & Tues, could you expand this to the entire week? Again this is assuming that this action led to a positive result.

Think of all the other areas of your life you could apply this to?

Could you have a hot shower before bed to relax and induce deeper sleep?

Could you do a brain dump to help relinquish the stressors of the day before bed?

Could you put all screens away before bed and opt for something enjoyable to read prior to sleep?

Could you take 1 min per day to take stock of everything you have to be grateful for rather than focussing on life’s challenges?

The interesting thing is that none of these things will take any extra time out of your day. Nor will they cost you anything financially. And after a while you’ll start to see which things have a positive impact, and you’ll want to continue doing.

Going forward look to see the areas of your health & fitness where you can apply the Pareto Principle. It’s not always about simply working harder. Sometimes we want to be a little smarter about the process and see if we can leverage the efforts we are making to increase the overall result.


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