Health and performance goals for poker players

Why should a poker player set health and performance goals? Let’s be real. Being a professional poker player always appears flashy and cool but most people who are reading this know the struggle of being a professional poker player. There is infinite content to study, new things to learn and then applying it into the game on a consistent basis. And not only that! Besides the game and improving it, there is loads of opportunity to optimize health, performance and social relationships. Looking it all this, it is quite obvious that there are various ways for a poker player to improve their performance. Therefore it is mandatory to set smart health and performance goals for poker players. So if you want to improve your game, play the game, stay healthy and fit it is mandatory to think about the processes that have the most impact on the outcome. One way to do this: Make use of the 80/20 rule.

Health and Performance goals for poker players

The 80/20 Rule for health and performance goals

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a concept stating that roughly 80% of the effects stem from about 20% of the causes. When applied to optimizing sleep, this principle suggests that a small set of factors significantly influence the quality of sleep, while the majority of other factors have relatively less impact on the overall result.

The 80/20 Rule

To optimize sleep, one must first identify the vital 20% of factors that affect it. These factors typically include sleep duration, sleep environment, bedtime routine, stress management, and sleep schedule. Prioritizing these key elements is crucial for improving sleep quality.

For instance, ensuring an adequate sleep duration of 7-9 hours per night is vital. Creating a conducive sleep environment with minimal noise, darkness, and a comfortable temperature can significantly enhance sleep quality. Developing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath before sleep, helps signal the body to wind down.

Stress management techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, also play a crucial role in improving sleep. Additionally, sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, can help regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep patterns.

The remaining 80% of factors, which include aspects like diet, exercise, and limiting caffeine and electronics before bedtime, can still contribute to better sleep but to a lesser degree.

To optimize sleep effectively, it’s essential to monitor progress and adjust the sleep routine as needed. Keeping track of sleep patterns and daytime energy levels helps identify what works best for an individual’s unique needs and circumstances. By applying the 80/20 rule to sleep optimization, one can efficiently focus efforts on the most significant contributors to better sleep, leading to more satisfactory and sustainable results over time.

So the 20% that create the biggest impact are the ones we focus on first.

Here is a link to a book that explains the significance of sleep and how you can improve your sleep:

Setting goals

Let’s say your sleep is bad and you want to find a way to optimize it. We will start with the basics and turn it into processes that actually help us move the needle towards better recovery and optimized performance.

We will start by going to bed daily at a time that allows us to get at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep. If you get up at 7 AM, your latest bedtime should be at 11 PM given it’ll take you some time to fall asleep. How do we turn this into a process that can be tracked? We can use apps, Google sheets or simply tick it off on a list that is written on a piece of paper. I used to track with Google Sheets all the time but doing this with pencil and paper appeared to be the way better option long-term. Now, we will not be able to do 7 1/2 hours all the time but a reasonable goal would be to do it 6 out of 7 nights a week. This will get us to 80% of the results when it comes to sleep.

Now we can apply this to every area that is related to our life. You can set up a minimum of training/ movement that you would like to do on a daily/ weekly basis. You can set the goal of having at least 30g of protein in every meal to optmize satiety and reduce cravings for foods that are reasonable to avoid for poker players. You can set goals for every area of your life. But think about the ones that improve your quality of life and your performance and those that will have a huge impact on your poker performance and your social surrounding. I can only take good care of people around me if I take good care of myself.

Now take a piece of paper and set some smart goals for your life.

If you are a professional poker player and would like to optimize your health and performance, feel free to reach out to me!


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