Why I Did 75 Hard and What I Learnt From It
A common question I'm receiving after completing my first round of 75 Hard is "why?" Why would anybody purposefully commit to these seemingly arbitrary daily tasks:
- Two 45 minute workouts, one of them needing to be outside.
- Adhering to a diet with no cheat meals or alcohol, Lindsay and I chose vegetarianism with intermittent fasting.
- Daily progress pictures to track progress.
- Drinking a gallon of water.
- Reading ten pages per day of a, preferably, non-fiction book.
Completing these tasks for one day would be a relatively simple challenge, but keeping it up consistently for 75 days with zero days off is where things begin to get tricky.
I've encountered many people who have taken the challenge, and I've noticed similar traits with everyone who has made the 75-day commitment. Everyone I've met that has completed this challenge was already a driven person. The power of the challenge, in my opinion, is that it takes the desired tasks of driven people (being as healthy and strong as possible, with an insatiable appetite for knowledge) and makes these tasks non-negotiable. If you miss a single 75 Hard task, you have to start right back at Day 1. What is also apparent in how this challenge is marketed is that it forces you to listen to your higher internal voice, the voice that recognizes you're embarking on a challenge but still sees the higher vision. One of the traits that this challenge improves upon is character. You need to be fully honest with yourself, and you have to ignore the weaker voice in your head that tries to convince you that it's okay to take a day off or that maybe you're too tired to finish the challenge. This is where I believe the magic of 75 Hard begins. Many of us make vague goals for ourselves. Think of the typical New Year's Resolution: "I want to lose weight," "I want to read more," "I want to wake up earlier," and so on. What a lot of these goals lack is a definitive plan of action. Another thing lacking in vague goals is the process. The process is an essential part of any goal. Telling yourself you "want to lose weight" won't get you anywhere. Making a plan to intermittent fast, cut out carbs, work out twice a day, every day with defined times will ensure you're on your way to being healthier, and as a byproduct, you'll be sure to lose weight.
Another thing that is often overlooked in goal setting is the magic of consistent baby steps. 75 Hard ensures you make those baby steps every day without fail. Someone asked me, "how do you stay in shape?" They obliged me to help them with whatever my secret was. I told them to complete a small workout of any form, hydrate with a gallon of water, intermittent fast, and cut out all excess carbs through sugary foods, bread, and pasta for 30 days. This person tried for a couple of days and then stopped, saying they didn't see any results. I asked if they believed if they did the above-mentioned every single day for a year if they'd see results. They said they had no doubt they'd see positive results. This, I believe, is the secret to success in any endeavor. Letting go of the need for instant results. No one ever got in shape, rich, successful, famous, enlightened, or any other adjective that people find flattering from a small short burst of inspired action. It's the small step-by-step, day-by-day process that when accumulated, over a long period of time, we start to see positive changes. There's a powerful analogy about the growth of bamboo that you can watch here.
The final thing that this challenge has shown me is my patterns. Most of us spend most of the day on autopilot, almost entirely unconscious. It's not your fault; it's simply how our brains operate. When used to a behavior, the brain puts it in the unconscious habit department. By having a set of small non-negotiable tasks that are different from your unconscious habits, you'll notice your own patterns and use your conscious brain, making you significantly more present. I feel this was my biggest takeaway. Not only was I able to notice my bad habits, but I noticed the situations that would get me to enact the bad habit. One example was when I was on an intermittent fast and arrived at a party with plenty of food. Lindsay and I weren't able to eat for another hour, and even though we weren't really hungry we both noticed a huge desire to eat. But, since we were listening to our higher voices and not eating, we noticed the bigger thing behind the desire to eat: we both felt slightly uncomfortable in the environment, and typically, what we would do to distract from that feeling was eat. We've noticed other small events just like this and were able to change unconscious patterns. So, to recap, during 75 Hard, we got to listen to our higher guidance, develop character, and notice and change of patterns. All of this, not to mention that I lost 30 lbs in those 75 days (also thanks to a juice fast we participated in. You can read about that experience here.) If you're looking to make positive, sustainable changes, I'd highly recommend trying 75 Hard.
PS: If you prefer watching over reading, you can watch this video where I talk about this experience, here.