80/20 rule

photo (14)

it’s been almost a year since i first started going to counseling.
although i’m not going currently, i learned a lot of tools that i am able to apply to my life for years to come.

after my very first session with my counselor, i felt really great!
not just great, amazing, free, empowered to be able to make the necessary changes in my life.
the next week when i went in for another appointment, i told my therapist how incredible the last week had been and how great i had felt.
i already felt like i was making great progress.
i was going to fight this!
and i was going to get over my depression quickly & back to my real self.

the following week after my second session was tough.
i wasn’t as suddenly strong/healed as i thought i was before.
i struggled tremendously to be positive & upbeat.
life got me down again.
and i felt like i was all of a sudden pushed back to square one.

i told my counselor how i failed.
i was embarrassed that after having one really great week how i could fall down yet again.
i thought something was wrong with me, like i was incapable of holding on to any good feeling i had.
why was this so hard for me?

then my counselor said, “well that sounds very ambitious of you. why do you expect to be totally in control of your feelings after one week? you are a big perfectionist, aren’t you?”

it all just kind of hit me.
yeah, i am a perfectionist and yeah, i set very ambitious expectations for myself.
and it’s not necessarily a good thing.

i then learned a very important rule which i have tried to follow ever since:
the 80/20 rule.

in school, you don’t have to get 100% on every test to pass the class.
90% is still an A {depending on the teacher i guess…}
and 80% is a pretty good high average.
so you might miss 20% of the questions, but that doesn’t mean you failed!
you still passed with high marks.

this is how i’ve started to look at my hard days.
i can’t be perfectly happy 100% of the time.
life isn’t perfect. life is hard. life is going to continue to be hard!
Elijah will whine, me and Adam will argue, and i will question my ability as a mother & wife.
these are facts. 

so i allow myself to have hard days.
i give myself a 20% cushion to be upset & overwhelmed.
and then i try better the next day to reach that goal of an 80% passing rate.

the truth is, i still struggle a lot!
but following the 80/20 rule has been one of my saving graces.
it gives me more perspective & balance to my life.
and it helps keep me motivated to move forward.

maybe soon i’ll actually be strong enough to work up to a 90/10 rate.
maybe 95/5 {hah! yeah right! that seems impossible}
but i know that if i keep trying to at least have more good days than bad [and allow myself to have the bad days] i'm on the right track to happiness.



:: ashley :: said...

megan thank you SO much for sharing this! totally something I needed to hear today.

Mrs. White said...

I tend to be a perfectionist myself, and to hear it spelled out this way is really kind of refreshing. I feel like if I have one bad moment I've totally ruined an entire day/experience. I might have to set my thoughts on this. Thank you for sharing!

Maggie B. said...

What a lovely post. While I never was told about the 80/20 rule, it totally makes sense and appears to be exactly how I've been living since I finished going to my therapist in February. I had been seeing her for about 4 years, when she finally retired. I still struggle, but I'm in such a better place now then I ever was. =)

Ashley said...

Megan, you are always writing such uplifting blogs! I know that you struggle with depression, but you are always such a light into my life! You make a difference! Thank you for that :)

Ruthie Hart said...

I think 80/20 is a wonderful perspective! Early on in our marriage I felt like I was a failure because I wasn't the perfect wife but like you said, you can give yourself that cushion because life ain't always easy!

Emily Hope said...

I like the 80/20 rule - it's a good way to look at things. I would struggle with this because I usually want things as close to 100% as possible...but when it comes to emotions - it's impossible to dictate those. I am going to keep this in mind.

Kate said...

My dearest Megan,
I'm wondering if you have a camera in my house... Or if you can sense my thoughts. Because YOU ARE WRITING about me today! I've had a string of great days, and today has been awful. I've budgeted (which is always a source of stress), took out that frustration on Daniel, and got even more frustrated with a cranky baby. And then I read this and it has put me in a much better mood. I am a perfectionist and I often forget that I'm allowed to have off days!

Ashley said...

I think this 80/20 idea is fantastic. Life isn't perfect and we certainly aren't but we try so hard to be. We need to allow ourselves to have those days and not dwell on them. :)

Meredith Hilton said...

thank you SO much for posting this :) not so good days are Hard! It's good to have a planned mindset on how to view them when in the pits.

Kirsten Wiemer said...

this is so great, thanks for sharing. i really like that idea of the percentage, it gives me a great view. i'm glad you are doing better girl, you are beautiful and amazing!


TheUnlostWanderer said...

Thank you for sharing this! I definitely have those days where I feel like nothing is going right (especially right now when I'm struggling to find a job), so I think that this could definitely help me to look at things from a new perspective. I think it's great you're trying to live that way, Megan! :]

Jenny said...

This is such a great post, thank you SO much for sharing! I too struggle with the same problem and it can be so hard sometimes! I like this whole 80/20 rule...maybe it will help my goals seem not quite so out of reach :)

Sue said...

I need to be better about giving myself that 20% cushion. I can't do everything and maybe I shouldn't try. It's a hard lesson to learn and for some reason I keep having to re-learn it. Some days, especially lately, I've felt that if I gave myself 20% I would fail at everything.

Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice said...

I really like this. I've only tried one counseling session which was a big step, but I didn't really connect with the counsellor. I know I need to seek out someone I do feel comfortable with... it's still scary to me. Will be trying to keep this ratio in mind.

April M. said...

Wow! that's such a great rule to live by.. I just stumbled upon your blog and it's nice to see someone that can say "i'm depressed" and I see a counselor.. I admire you for your honesty! I will be following your blog...

Alexis Kaye said...

haha GIRLLLLL I don't know if anyone get's up to a 90/10 rate or especially a 95/5! I think I do pretty good and I don't even know if I'm at 80! haha! But seriously. As far as wanting to rush the process with therapy and be cured and fixed...totally been there. I think I've told my therapist like 100 times "I think I'm almost done" "Maybe just one more session" only to discover I still have so much work to do! It's tough work! I haven't gone in a few months but I still have lots of work. But seriously, there's no rush. We have a lifetime to improve ourselves! God is just but God is kind ;) haha love you!

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

I'm a huge perfectionist too... I'm one of those that if something small goes wrong or if things aren't EXACTLY as I'd planned it really bothers me! 80/20 is a good rule to follow!!

Camille Griffiths said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Camille Griffiths said...

I had a great second half of my pregnancy, with no depression. So I had this idea that I was cured and would never be depressed again. But after my daughter was born, after a while it started coming back. It's been hard knowing I may never fully "beat it." But I'm more and more ok with the fact that I will have good days, medium days, and bad days. I just try to enjoy the good days as much as I can, and remember them when I have a bad day. :) It's definitely an ongoing process!

Brittany TYD said...

I once told a counselor "I thought I was fixed, but now I'm broken again!" and I got a very similar response about being a perfectionist. It is not easy struggling with depression (or in my case, mostly anxiety) while being a perfectionist.

It's also pretty impossible to "fix" ourselves in one week - even though I wish we could!