Adrien Cotton, MASTER Menopause NOW!

Let Go of Perfect and Find Your 80%

There was a time on my wellness journey when I viewed success as the moment when my life would feel perfect. But soon I discovered perfection was an unattainable goal and only led to successive disappointments and a hit to my self-esteem. I would keep trying and trying only to end up exhausted by my efforts. I have since learned that 1) life is not perfect and 2) happiness and success lie in embracing 80%, not 100%.

There is a concept in business known as the Pareto Principle, a theory that suggests that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes, such as 20% of clients producing 80% of sales. It’s also used in other sectors like healthcare, economics, and computer science to measure inputs and outcomes. It is named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who used the concept to measure the distribution of wealth across societies. 

Pareto Principal

I use the Pareto Principle similarly, but apply it to effort versus results. I know some things are going to require more time and that some items on my to-do list are non-negotiable. I also know that attempting to reach 100% is not only exhausting but unrealistic. If I have a week where my efforts reach 80% of the goal I’m striving for, then I consider that a WIN.

Women tend to be perfectionists and want to DO IT ALL. I get it. I want to be the best at everything I do too. But if we redirect our thinking to embracing 80% as enough, we will go far in achieving the wellness we’re seeking. To be our best selves, we need to let go of thinking, “If I’m not achieving ALL OF IT, it’s not good enough.”

If I could alter the time continuum, one thing would be this societal pressure for women to do it all…and with a smile, no less. It can be seriously damaging to our mental health to believe if we’re not doing everything for everyone all of the time, that we are somehow less than. Nope, not true. Showing up each day and giving what you can is enough. 

Adrien Cotton

We all have ideals about the perfect plan for our wellness. Let me share mine:

  1. I get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
  2. I use my wellness tools to respond to stress instead of reacting to it.
  3. I schedule my wellness sessions on my calendar in whatever time allows for that day—whether it be 5, 10, or 20 minutes, and even the occasional 60 minutes if it is possible.
  4. I make the wellness practices mentioned above non-negotiable and boundary them (I do not allow other’s needs to get in the way of my plan—I secure my time first).
  5. I exercise every day for at least 30 minutes.
  6. I make time to fuel myself adequately with whole foods and 2 liters of water.
  7. I sit and eat lunch without a device for at least 20 minutes.
  8. I make sure to connect with close friends once a week–whether it’s meeting for a walk, a meal, or a phone call.

To me, accomplishing 80% is perfect. In fact, when I am practicing 80%, I feel like a superwoman! As an overachiever, my list can be long. I understand that it is impossible to accomplish all of my eight points all of the time. Life and circumstances often get in the way. Giving myself “a break” with the 80% rule helps keep me in a positive mindset. It also reminds me that success is measured by consistency and realistic goals, and that the rest of the societal noise is just that…noise.

If you find you need support in managing your time and, most importantly, finding time for your wellness, consider joining my Small Group Concierge Wellness program. I’ll teach you tools to help support your wellness plan, achieve your goals, and show you how to reach your 80%.

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