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Wellness and the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule)

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

How an Inner Athlete can apply the Pareto Principle to your overall wellness





What is the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule?


If you have never heard of the Pareto rule or principle it simply states the following: In any situation, 20 percent of the input is responsible for 80 percent of output or results. This was discovered by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who while gardening began to observe that 20 percent of the pea pods generated 80 percent of the healthy peas. Expanding this idea he came to realize 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by only 20 percent of the population. I’m sure you are beginning to connect the dots. If you are in sales 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of your customers. You will use only 20 percent of a computer's applications 80 percent of the time. You likely use only 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time. This principle scales throughout the spectrum of human endeavor regardless of how large or small, whether it is in the arts, sports, or academia. Only a small amount of people will rise to the top and the rest will not. 80/20 is simply the average. It can also be divided up 70/30, 90/10 etc.


How to apply the Pareto Principle to your wellness


This principle also applies to one's health. Observe yourself to see how much of your diet is divided by whole food healthy choices vs processed foods and unhealthy choices per day. How much sugar consumption are you taking in vs protein? How much alcohol are you consuming? If your current ratio is 80 percent junk and 20 percent quality, then a healthy way of looking at this is that you want to slowly invert the ratio. Perhaps you are 70/30 bad choice to good choice. Slowly inch that up until you are 50/50 and slowly move past to 60/40 good choices and continue to move on from there.


Slow gets it done


Stopping anything cold turkey is never good advice although I’ve seen it happen with several clients over the decades. They seem to have an emotional, psychological and spiritual alignment that immediately cuts off the impulse to smoke and they never go back. They are simply done. Whatever psychological driver created the impulse to smoke, drink or whatever the vice may be, simply ceased. This can and does occur but I might add from my own experience it happens in only 15 percent of the people. There you go again, there’s no escaping the Pareto principle. That is why we must begin very slowly. It begins with observing your current ratio, being aware throughout the day of what you are consuming, and slowly but consistently shifting the ratio to your favor. If you already consumed something processed and not good for you, end it there and for the remainder of the day fill up with better choices.


Final Thoughts

Ideally, it would be great if we shifted the ratio from 99/1 in favor of health. After all health is a continuous process in which you are either processing disease by what we place in our minds and bodies or we are processing wellness. There really is no in between. But since we are all on a journey towards physical, mental and spiritual wellness its best we simply take inventory of where we currently are, then proceed slowly but surely to higher ground in all areas. 80/20 in favor of health is a great goal to strive for.



Yours in Health and Wellness

James Jankiewicz

Inner Athlete Training





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