This morning, a lot of things were different.
Completely different than I thought it would be over 2 months ago when I began the 75Hard Challenge.
I thought that I’d wake up this morning ready to get my “everything” on like a sailor just returning to port after being at sea for a couple of months. You know, all those vices that you crave so very much, especially when you’ve sworn off of them for a long period of time.
I’ve informed lots of people that today, November 22nd, was going to be the most epic Sunday-Funday in the history of gluttony. The morning would probably start off with a Bloody Mary (or three) loaded with all of the fixings coupled with the sugariest donut that could be found. The day would progress into several additional phases of indulgence with layers of IPAs, chips, pizza, probably cake, and a glass of that bourbon that’s been staring me down since the middle of September.
When I woke up this morning, I did not have this overwhelming urge to go crazy. Nothing sounded like the best thing ever. I really could care less about the one thing I thought I was going to care the most about… what I was going to shove in my face.
Will I drink a beer today? Hell yeah! I still like beer.
Will I eat some shitty food packed with tons of extra calories that no one ever needs to eat? Hell yeah! I still like the taste of food.
In fact, I had pizza, a couple IPAs, and cookies today and they were pretty damn good.
Will I go back to consuming these things like I used to… like I did before I started this challenge? No, I will not.
A Quick Disclaimer Before We Continue…
Now, before I go any further, I’m going to put it out there that what I’m posting here is about my experience and that alone.
At no point in this post and I going to try to convince you that you too should do what I did. I’m not trying to get you to buy into adopting the things that I did as “the right way to go about it” or “a path that more people should take”.
I’ve talked to many people about the challenge since I began in early September. Usually, the conversation started at a social event where I was one of the few adults not drinking. Most of them totally supported me and (I truly believe) wanted to see me succeed. There were others who told me that I was crazy, that they would never be able to do what I was attempting, who smirked at me like I was buying into the latest version of a Richard Simmons “Deal-a-Meal” program… The competitive side of me wanted to prove the naysayers wrong for about the first two weeks. After that, I could care less about what they thought.
When It All Started Making Sense
It was that two-week mark into the challenge where the momentum really started to pickup. Around 15 or so days in, I started to see some small but noticeable changes both mentally and physically. My mind was clear for the first time in a long time. I was definitely more productive at work. The conversations I was having with people were more engaging and meaningful. This was about the same time I began to not only see some movement in the number on the scale but also in the daily progress pic I took each morning. It was subtle but something positive was beginning to take form.
About 30 days in, other people began to make comments about the change they were seeing in me. I had several people ask me if I was losing weight. Those subtle changes I was seeing were now becoming noticeable to people who haven’t seen me in a while.
One of the biggest a-ha moments around this time was one client telling me that I was bringing a lot of great marketing ideas to our weekly progress meetings. They saw a clear uptick in the value I was providing them as a client. This meant more to me than any pound I shed or any other mental breakthrough up to this point. Anyone that has ever worked with me in a professional capacity knows that I deeply care about the level of service that I (backed by my awesome team at Neon Goldfish) bring to the table. In the past 13 years, I know that I’ve always worked as hard as I can to bring as much value to my clients as humanly possible but hear a client tell me this was like dumping rocket fuel into my engine.
This was about the time that I started to understand what this reset was doing for me. I finally had the clarity I was searching for so long.
Seeing The Forest Through The Trees
When I began the 75Hard Challenge, I had this mentality that I would give it my all and see what happens. To be honest, I was scared shitless that I was going to fail. What if I could not resist all the temptations I knew that I would face? If I didn’t see this through, what would be the outcome? It was almost enough to make me not want to start in the first place. I know, I know… this seems like some pretty petty shit given the current state of the world and all of the things going on BUT, as I mentioned before, this was about me and the things I was going through. I thought that the worst-case scenario would be that I’ll lose some weight that I’ve struggled with for quite some time. All the research I put in this program before I started told me it was a mental challenge more than a diet or weight loss challenge. This did not make sense to me at the time but I put faith into something I did not understand and gave it the old college try.
Here’s what happened:
I became less worried about the things I could not control and only focused on the things that were within my domain.
My stress levels dropped drastically. Things that used to bother me so much before were easier to deal with.
I started putting the things that mattered most to me first rather than everyone else’s agenda. I stopped constantly monitoring my email inbox for potential fires to put out and prioritized what was most important to the overall goals I had.
These new daily activities that I had for the challenge (2 workouts, drinking a gallon of water, reading 10-pages of a book) became easier and easier each day that I did them.
My energy and clarity were better than I could ever remember.
I slept better than I have in years.
I lost 35 pounds and feel better than I did in my 20s.
… and the biggest one was that I no longer felt like I was a participant in this perpetual cycle of slight progress. For the first time, I felt totally in control of my path. I felt that I had the power and ability to dictate how that day and the days ahead of me would unfold. I no longer feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
The Challenges Faced Along The Way
Getting through these 75 days was not without challenges.
I was blessed with amazing support from my family. My wife agreed to do this challenge with me and she too realized many of the very same benefits as I did. My three kids were beyond supportive even when they desperately pleaded with me why we needed to order pizza for dinner and that they were tired of the food options available at the house. Family members accommodated in more ways than they need to when we visited their houses.
I cannot express enough thanks to everyone who supported us.
Here are some of the major challenges I faced along the way:
Carrie and I started the 75Hard Challenge the same day the kids went back to school. This was a totally new routine for everyone and we threw all of these additional variables on top of it. What a horrible idea… LOL.
I was so sore the first week from the two daily workouts that I could barely get out of bed in the mornings.
We had a family wedding where I normally would have gotten more than my fair share from the open bar. You’re welcome Kenton and Jolynn.
Weekend softball tournaments for my oldest daughter took a lot of additional planning for both food options and getting two daily workouts in.
I traveled to Florida to help with the beginning stages of renovations to an investment property we purchased with my business partner. Most days were 12+ hours of manual labor making that last workout of the day very tough to muster up… but I made it.
Running three kids to practices for five different sports while still trying to have a family dinner of some sorts each day.
Hosting a Halloween and birthday party for Elle where everyone in attendance except for Carrie and I were doing all of the things we could not right.
Doing my outdoor workouts while everyone else was sleeping. Sometimes when the wind was whipping or that one damn morning when the snow/sleet was pelting my face.
Today was a day that has scared me even more than my fear of not seeing the challenge through to the end. What will I do next?
I know with absolute confidence that I will not return to the routine I held prior to this challenge. While I plan to enjoy some of the things that I could not during the challenge, I will do so with a much different approach. In the event that I find myself slipping back into my former self, I have this blog post to serve as a reminder of how much impact these little daily tasks had on my overall being.
I’m going to spend the next week in recovery and figure out what is next. There are additional steps that Andy Frisella added to the original 75Hard Challenge since I began that I will definitely complete. Beyond continuing my 75Hard journey, I’m going to working on finishing two books I’ve started, growing my companies the best I can, being the best damn husband and father possible, and helping as many people that can benefit from the things that I know both professionally and personally.
My Biggest Takeaways From The 75Hard Challenge:
Trust in the process and even the smallest amounts of forward-progress made each day can add up to sizeable results overtime.
Make the things that matter the most the things that matter the most. Stop giving so much energy to things that have no impact on what I truly care about.
Take a positive approach to everything as much as possible.
Drink more water. I could not believe how dehydrated I really was.
Stop worrying about what other people think. I cannot change the thoughts they have and every person should be entitled to their perspective.
The things that I want to achieve are so much closer than I ever thought they were. The biggest hurdle I face is me and knowing how to get past this so much easier. The challenges I face are never as difficult as I make them out to be.