Growth, personal development, achieving...it’s all the rage. In fact, I find it hard to go on social media or walk through a book store without being bombarded with the concept. That’s not just because of who I follow, but because of paid ads and general conversations that society has adopted as part of it’s day to day lingo. The need to grow, the constant pressure to be better is everywhere, and honestly, I would understand if you find it exhausting!
Don’t get me wrong. I am all about personal development and learning new things for the sake of a better life (emotional skills, bio-hacks and the like). But as someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I know how it can feel to be exhausted and have nothing more to give. You don’t have to struggle with mental health problems either to feel plagued by a constant need to grow.
In a world that seems to be obsessed with #livingtheirbestlife, I wanted to offer a really simple trick I stick to, even when life is hard and I don’t want to “grow” that day. This is my easy rule I follow, come rain or come shine.
The 5% Rule
The simple rule I live by that has changed my life is the 5% rule. Often times when we are seeking to find a solution to our mental health or physical health symptoms, we hope to find the one thing that will cure it all. But in most cases, that’s simply won’t be what happens. When you are dealing with a complicated problem, the solutions will often be layered. This is why I adopted the 5% rule.
The rule is simple: if something helps even just a little (5%) then I keep doing that thing. That means if I notice when I drink dandelion tea my digestion feels just a little bit better, then I will keep drinking dandelion tea. And if I notice that not eating cheese or processed foods also helps my digestion, then I will focus on eating other foods and not consuming cheese or processed foods. And if taking licorice root extract helps my digestion when I take it before dinner, then I will keep taking it before dinner. Individually these things might only make a slight difference, but when I do them all together, that’s a 15% increase in my digestion health.
If you can notice these small differences, then you can make a difference in your health. Even when your problems feel insurmountable, learning to look for small changes can make a drastic difference in the long run. Be a collector of 5% changes and notice how your life and health improve for the better.
The great thing about this is that it is all about small steps. That means when it feels impossible to try and make a difference or you are overwhelmed by the demand to “grow” or “get better”...you don’t have to focus on that. You aren’t here to overwhelm yourself or get lost in the big picture. You know that you can take tiny steps and see a big difference. That’s the beauty of the 5% rule.
What the 5% Rule is NOT
The 5% rule is not a new way for you to overwhelm yourself. If you don’t believe me, go re-read the last paragraph of the last section. The 5% rule is not about trying absolutely everything you can think of all at once and then feeling so exhausted and confused you collapse. It is a chance to start strategically adding in small changes to see how they impact your health.
The 5% rule is not an escape from working on your health. It is not about burying your head in the sand and pretending to be trying when you honestly know you are not trying. It is a way to start making differences in your wellness today, in a way that seems doable and practical. But do not use it as a scapegoat.
Finally, the 5% rule is not another way for you to overwhelm yourself with research. This is not an excuse to start taking 20 different probiotics and spending hours on WebMD. The stress and chaos of these actions will have a negative impact on your health and set you back and that is clearly not the point. If you tend to be a researcher (to a fault), set limits for yourself. Only try out 3 (or 1) new healing practice at a time and stay with it for 3-4 weeks. Only research when you are ready to try a new practice. Remember, the 5% rule is about making your healing path manageable, not exhausting.
Have grace with yourself. There will be days that are not your best and there will be days where you are on top of the mountain. But not every day can be a mountain top day. That’s just not how it works if you want to genuinely keep growing. Remember to celebrate the victories when they come. And one the days where it’s hard or you don’t see progress or maybe it even feels like you took a step back...have grace for yourself. Progress and healing aren’t always linear. The first step for adopting the 5% rule is to practice grace daily.
If you are ready to start managing your health and want someone to help guide you along the way, schedule your free consultation with me here.