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The 80/20 rule – How to stay motivated

The 80/20 rule – How to stay motivated

By ZONE3 Athlete, Michelle Vesterby

Life is not 100% perfect and it’s generally not 100% what we expect. This is just something you need to learn to live with, and that’s ok! It would be too difficult to go through life, expecting everything to go exactly to plan.


If you’re constantly striving for perfection 100% of the time, you’ll often end up being disappointed. If we end up failing at something, that feeling can often overshadow the desire to succeed, leaving you feeling de-motivated and making it tough to get back on the horse and push through. That’s only natural so don’t beat yourself up!

One way to navigate this is to aim for 80% perfection, and you’ll be surprised at how the remaining 20% falls into place without too much extra effort. This will help to keep you motivated throughout the season, especially when things aren’t going your way as it’s almost like you’ve budgeted for some things not to work out.

I don’t just use the 80/20 rule when it comes to achieving goals. I also try to use it professionally and in competitions too. Personally, I think that 80% of my success comes from my mental strength and 20% coming from my physical strength. Our minds are incredibly powerful and can help us do things that you wouldn’t think possible. Have you ever been deep into a painful run that you don’t think you’re going to be able to finish? Try forcing a smile and you’ll be surprised at the boost you’ll get just from pushing yourself through the pain. Your body will likely tire before your mind does, so have faith in your own mental strength to push yourself through the pain, and your body will come with you.

I also try to use this rule in my personal life, not just when it comes to training. If you’re always expecting 100% from people, you can find yourself often getting disappointed when things change or they don’t meet your expectations. So again, focus on the 80% and then 20% will take care of itself! Remember, no one is perfect so it wouldn’t be fair to expect perfection.

So if the season isn’t going your way, if you haven’t produced the results you wanted or got out training as much as you wanted; that’s ok! If we were all getting 100% successes, 100% of the time, the successes would lose all meaning and it would be impossible to stay motivated to carry on. Give yourself a break, be kind to yourself, allow yourself to fail sometimes and most importantly, keep smiling!