The 80% Rule – how effective is it?

The 80% Rule – how effective is it?

Sunday, 07 August 2011 21:23

Ever felt frustrated that you just can’t do everything you are ‘meant’ to, in order to be ‘healthy’? Do you even get to the point where you create ‘more stress’ trying to fit all the ‘healthy’ things into your life?

Well, I can assure you, that you are not alone…and I have a funny little story that has a lesson that I’m sure will help.

Some years ago I had a middle-aged male business client who wanted to be healthy…but also loved his wine & good foods. He was one of those larger than life, super-busy businessmen who would run himself into the ground, enjoy too many business lunches, put on far too much weight, start feeling really lousy and then of course want to get himself ‘back in shape’.

Now, the sequence for about a year was classically familiar – he’d get his program, follow it to the letter for 1-2 weeks. Then, he’d ring me and say how he was “feeling a million dollars”, that he’d lost all this weight etc etc. 2 weeks later, I’d call him, and he would have completely gone off the program because it was ‘all’ getting too hard!! 2 months later, he’d ring saying he really need to ‘get back on track’.

This cycle was repeated a number of times (sound familiar?), until I eventually said. “Okay, this is the new deal. Here is your program – it will give all the results you want. However, I don’t want you to do all of it. In fact, only do 80% of it, and only do that 80% of the time. Every now and then (20% of the time), just do what’s easy, have a good time and don’t worry about it”.

Like it was yesterday, I remember being in my car a week and a half later, when he calls me from his house in Brisbane. He’s as full as a boot, hardly able to string 3 words together and he mumbles, ” Baaaarney….Baaarney (it’s Bunny on a sober day) …maaate. I’m jus sittin ere, avin’ a few Reds & a bit ov a pizza. Wotz goin on maaaaaate?”. I say, “GT, what are you doing – have you gone off the program again?”As quick as a flash, he says, “Nah maaaate, I’M JUST DOIN ME 20%”.

It was very funny. I commented that it sounded more like 50% to me, but like we all find, the long story was that overall he was much much better and generally stayed on a good healthy routine. He felt he could let his hair down every now and then without it jeopardising his progress.


The tip is just a reminder to be easy on yourself. Don’t feel you have to be ‘perfect’ in everything you do. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying things you like here and there. Do the important things for your health & wellbeing most of the time (80%), and when you really couldn’t be bothered or have some special occasion – birthdays etc – just ENJOY…without feeling guilty.

Always follow the 80% Rule – 80% of the time rather than 100% for 2 weeks and then 0% for 2 months.

Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.