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How the 80/20 Rule Can Set You Up for Self-Care Success

How often have you started a wellness routine only to lose interest and start feeling like it was becoming more of a chore? Despite our best intentions, many of us struggle to maintain a healthy balance in our life, not because we lack the capabilities, but because in our overachieving society, “all-or-nothing” goals can set us up for failure in the long run.

The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, is a more practical way of introducing new habits into your lifestyle without over restricting things you love. The principle teaches us that 20 percent of our focus delivers 80 percent of the results.

Essentially, it reminds us that we need to prioritize our limited time on what is most important.

The 80/20 rule allows you to give yourself small indulgences, so that you aren’t living in a state of constant deprivation. The idea is to unwaveringly honor your commitment to big changes, while providing room to ease into your set goals and overall wellness plan.

Instead of thinking, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds in the next three months,” instead say, “I’m going to increase my workout by one minute each day.” Racking up mini-wins will keep you motivated, and it has been proven that the act of crossing an item off your to-do list releases dopamine in your brain—it literally makes you happier.

Here are six ways to help you create a balanced self-care routine utilizing the 80/20 rule.

Proactive Scheduling

Uncertainty is hard to live with. Trying to determine the time commitment of a particular activity or how long will it take to achieve a goal can throw off the best of intentions when it comes to developing a wellness plan. Taking the time to map out your self-care routine at the beginning of each week will take the guesswork, and the stress, out of your days. Spend one hour on Sunday mapping out the week ahead by scheduling your exercise, self-care, and meal plans in a planner for the week. By working in seven-day increments, you allow yourself to experience the success of mini-wins. Proactively thinking through your week ahead will help you to stick to your plans and ignore less important distractions that come up mid-week.

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Fitness at Home

Committing to your fitness goals can be a daunting task, so it’s important to develop
a system that sets you up for success. If having to travel to a gym is going to prevent you from working out, there are many at-home programs that can provide the same benefits. Start by purchasing a yoga mat and weights and setting up a dedicated workout space in your home. By relocating your workouts to a place that is convenient for you, you are boosting your chances of committing to your plan.

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Go Clean with Beauty

The “go clean” movement has taken the beauty industry by storm over the last year, and it’s hard to ignore the long-term benefits of these products. Completely overhauling your beauty cabinet is not always practical (or financially possible) but it’s something you can work toward over a period of time. Start by determining what is an achievable change for you in your beauty routine, and what will be most impactful. For me, it’s a daily moisturizer, rather than an infrequently used eyeliner pencil. I love knowing that this one change is making my skin healthier on a daily basis.

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Burning the Midnight Oil

Essential oils have been a favored holistic approach in healing for many years and their benefits are vast. Incorporating essential oils into your routine doesn’t take up a lot of time, and delivers noticeable benefits. If you are trying to improve the quality of your sleep, try diffusing lavender at night. The easy setup helps create hours of a sleep-conducive environment.

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Friends and Family

The 80/20 rule can also be applied to how you spend your time communicating with friends and family. Over the course of the day, you may spend hours sending countless “haha” texts and memes to friends. While connecting frequently is important, we tend to sacrifice depth of connection for quantity. Instead, try making one phone call or FaceTiming versus sending texts—the texts are just filling time and not necessarily helping to build stronger connections.

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Working from Home

Working remotely is becoming a common trend where people are given the autonomy to work from the comfort of their own home. As someone who works remotely, I have often found myself distracted with my looming “at-home to-do list” of laundry and cleaning, and therefore haven’t been as productive at work as I’d like. My solution? I carved out a dedicated work space in my home that was not only inviting, but also fostered productivity. I also designated certain hours of the day as “professional” time, helping me to mentally block out my domestic to-do list. Compartmentalizing space and time offers self-imposed rules that help govern the day.

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