When Is It The Right Time To Change Your Strategy?

Blake de Vos
5 min readJan 18, 2021
Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

On June 1, 2019, undefeated and champion heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua faced off against Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua was initially scheduled to face Jarrell Miller, but three failed drug tests meant he had to be replaced. Ruiz Jr. came in as a 25–1 underdog, and in an upset that shocked boxing, Ruiz Jr. won the match via technical knockout in the seventh round. The fight ended Joshua’s undefeated record after 22 wins straight, and Ruiz Jr. took the belts and became the new unified champion. The fight was considered one of the biggest upsets in boxing, drawing comparisons to the Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas upset in 1990.

A rematch was scheduled for December 7, 2019, just five months after the initial bout. The rematch drew many questions- How will Anthony Joshua change his strategy? Will Ruiz Jr. try anything different? Nevertheless, Joshua won by unanimous decision in a dominant performance. During his fight, Joshua displayed discipline and a cerebral strategy to beat Mexico’s first heavyweight champion. Considering how easily he was dominated in the first fight, Joshua had to adjust and use his Olympic boxing skills without engaging in Ruiz Jr’s. strategy.

In sports, athletes will often change strategies to outperform their competition. We can apply this thinking in our own lives, whether we are in competition with others or ourselves. When reflecting on our strategies in our business or personal life, how do we know when it’s time to change the game plan? Or to stick it out? The answer starts with determining our current strategy, and questioning if it aligns with our overall focus.

Determining Your Strategy

When setting a business strategy, entrepreneurs make choices around certain factors. Is the product at a low price or a high price? What is the quality of the product? What location will the product be supplied? These decisions determine the type of strategies applied for their business to perform at its best. We can use this concept to determine our own approach. Here are some examples:

Your Diet

What foods do you currently eat, when do you eat them and how much do you eat? These questions determine your strategy into eating more/less or adding/removing foods that help you perform better. If you’re an athlete and are looking to increase performance, look at when you’re eating your food and how much protein you’re having. Do you eat for energy before training? Suppose you’re someone looking to maintain a healthy diet. In that case, your strategy may be to allow for indulgences over the weekends and eat well during the week.


A sprinter would deliberately practice their craft. They would incorporate strength and explosiveness into their training. A marathon runner would incorporate long-distance running and endurance into their regime. If a sprinter had a marathon runners strategy, their performance would not suit and vice versa. Determine your exercise goals to implement a plan. Ask yourself, do I want to lose weight? Increase my strength? How much time do I have per week to exercise? The answers to these questions will determine the strategy you take, whether hiring a personal trainer, exercising more/less, or training differently.

Professional Career

You may want to take more on at work and get a promotion. Ask yourself, is it about the money or the career? You might be content with what you’re currently doing and want to maintain your performance. What can you focus on that helps drive you in the direction you want to go?


After reaching the end of the day, there may be tasks you wish you had done. You wish you had completed a report. You wish you had made it to the gym. Thinking about the important behaviours that require action every day based on your goals helps understand what you’re doing that’s unproductive, and determines the strategy to work on the essential things.

When To Change Strategy

We frequently change our life’s strategy over the years. The goalposts are continually moving. As a teenager, we go to school and learn for the day. When we’re a young adult, we have more freedom, so we socialize more and attend university or work full time. As the years go on, we may have a family and get married, so the goalposts move again. While our strategies in life continue to transform, our approach in adapting to life’s changes then becomes the main focus. So when is it time to change your game plan?

When we fail consistently

We can’t pursue any significant goals without overcome obstacles. The failure we encounter often causes us to change our goals, when it’s the strategy that needs to change.

- A business’ idea which fails often doesn’t lack the vision or the passion- it lacks the right business plan.

- An employer who’s team consistently is underperforming isn’t because they’re hopeless- It’s because they need training and direction.

- A writer who fails to self-publish their work Is not because they are a terrible writer- They require discipline and confidence.

- An athlete who consistently struggles with performance isn’t required to change sports- they need to change their approach.

When you consistently underperform.

When we don’t perform and show up to the tasks we focus on, It creates unnecessary stress and can crush our spirit to the point we give up. For example, you want to wake up at 6 am every morning, but you sleep in for another hour. The first time you sleep in, you become annoyed with yourself. The second time, you’re still annoyed and tell yourself you will try again tomorrow. You then sleep in three days in a row, and it becomes an automatic response that waking up at 6 am will be something you will always struggle with. It’s not because you’re not a ‘morning person’. Your strategy needs to change. You might need to go to bed half an hour earlier, or not eat right before bed. Try different ways to help you wake up better.

Something To Think About

While we change our strategy when we don’t reach our goals or consistently underperform, we need to be careful about changing our approach when performance is working in our favour. Don’t fix something that’s not broken. If your goal is to continue losing weight, do more of what is working. If you’re getting more sales in your business, keep the same strategy. Your output and productivity are high? Continue on that same path. When Andy Ruiz Jr. went into his second fight, it was considered a failed approach. Ruiz Jr. revealed he partied continuously, ignored training and spent his earnings lavishly. Anthony Joshua never blamed anyone in his first defeat. He said he’d go back to work and perform better in the rematch. He changed up his strategy, focused on what he could control and outperformed his competition.

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Originally published at http://blakedevos.com on January 18, 2021.



Blake de Vos

A writer, reader and sports lover. A Bachelor of Business graduate. I write about productivity, habits and writing creativity. www.blakedevos.com