July 26, 2020
Good morning friends. Here we are on this final Sunday of July 2020. It sure has been an interesting year so far. I can only imagine what’s in store for the ending. Time (and this year) seem to be flying by in spite of the virus, pandemic, political antics and civil unrest. I strive to enjoy each day to its fullest. As I get older, I find it increasingly important to stay mentally tough and physically strong. I enjoy reading great books, that educate and intrigue me. I continue to enjoy as much of nature as possible, whether it’s running, hiking or walking. Sometimes just sitting and letting your mind relax can provide an amazing reset. The beach and mountain trails always provide strength, inspiration and solitude. Exercise and activity help keep me motivated and sane. Get outside, breathe and soak up the energy of the earth. Who knows what’s in store for the remainder of this year.
Do you believe challenges in life are good for you? How do you react when a new challenge enters your path? Suddenly without warning you have something land right in front of you. It must be dealt with and resolved. Do you accept it and move forward, or do you falter and want to flee? We all face challenges during our life. They come in many forms and varieties of intensity. There are several occurring right this very minute. The world, and especially our country, is filled with more uncertainty due to many of these events. These can create stress, anxiety, fear and new challenges.
I’ve dealt with a myriad of new challenges during my life and career in law enforcement. Some of these were daily ordeals, while others involved significant issues, including life or death decisions. I was never afraid to accept a new challenge. You should not be afraid of them either. Accepting each new scenario can stimulate your mind and body. Each challenge you accept and work through has the capacity to boost your mental toughness and physical strength. Your hard work increases your mental resolve by building character traits to succeed in life. It reduces the stress and fear associated with each situation that steps in front you. Making decisions and taking action is key to either being paralyzed or proficient. I vote to be energized by the strength to act.
Since I retired six years ago, my challenges have been fewer and far between. There has not been anything as dramatic or drastic as I faced during my career. Now, when I need a boost, I challenge myself physically. Step in my girlfriend with an idea and a new challenge. This past Monday we began a new mental and physical challenge. We began the “75 Hard Challenge.”
Andy Frisella, business owner, author, entrepreneur and speaker, first suggested this on his podcast over a year ago. He developed it, not as a fitness program, but as a transformative mental toughness challenge. He believes this is a program that can change your life, starting from the inside. Google it for all the hot details.
For me, it will be 75 days of more fun, with increased intensity. The basic premise: eat clean and healthy, no alcohol, two 45 minute workouts per day, (with one session outside), drink one gallon of water per day, read ten pages of nonfiction per day and take a progress photo. I will let my girlfriend take control of a daily progress photos. This is all great stuff!
So today, we are seven days into the challenge. This means there are only 68 days remaining. Our final day is Friday, October 2nd. This will obviously carry me through summer. I didn’t necessarily need a boost, but it’ll help me keep my mind and body focused in positive ways. This is especially true with all the nonsense and craziness happening all across our country and the world. Seizing this opportunity may be just what the doctor ordered.
I have been eating fairly healthy for years. Deleting alcohol is not a concern and am happy to do so. I drank pretty heavy in college and into the first half of my career. I finally wised up when my daughter was born and significantly changed that pattern in my life. Alcohol was used as a crutch to compensate for my insecurities, stress and pain. All it really did was cloud my mind and provide temporary relief (at best). Today I drink less and less, only enjoying occasional wine with dinner. Mexican food deserves a margarita, which isn’t often.
I’m not particularly concerned about two 45 minute workouts per day. We are doing our best to coordinate at least one, if not both together. It definitely helps to have someone (a workout buddy) to share the workout, the fun and the pain. I doubt there has been too much pain as of yet. Maybe just a little soreness here and there. It’s all good. I’m just grateful and thankful that my body allows me to run and lift weights. I might not be as fast or as strong as I once was, but I am smart enough to realize I’m not 20 something either. I work out intelligently. I know my limitations and strengths.
I enjoy reading and began a new book, as part of this program. The title of the book is “Fortitude”, by Dan Crenshaw. He is a former Navy SEAL and now a State Representative from Texas. I am currently about 70 or 80 pages into my reading. I am impressed by his knowledge, insight, courage and fortitude. I highly recommend this book to everyone, here and around the world. Dan definitely delivers, with his current views that are polarizing people and our nation. He discusses his personal and amazing journey; from youth, to SEAL, to state legislator. Dan is intelligent, personable and a real American hero.
At the moment, the most difficult part of the challenge seems to be drinking all this water. I always considered myself to be well hydrated. Right now I am walking that theory back a bit. When you concentrate on achieving a specific goal, it becomes clear on what you may have been doing (or not doing) in the past. Ensuring I get that gallon of water ingested daily is my current chore! The other consideration is maintaining a close proximity to a place of immediate disposal, as that happens more frequently as well.
When the first 75 days are completed, there is a second phase to the challenge. The additional 75 days includes several new elements to incorporate into your daily rituals. A five-minute cold shower. This would be definitely welcome during hot summer days. Timing is everything. Talk to someone in person. This seems easy enough, depending on masks and social distancing. Obviously, talking would happen daily at home too. Perform a daily random act of kindness. This could be handled by simply saying hello to neighbors, or people you pass on the street or at stores. Helping others, by opening a door or assisting however may be needed works too. Often all it takes is just showing courtesy and respect to others. It really is that simple. It sometimes seems those two character traits are lost in our fast paced, “all about us” life. There are some people across our land that could use a dose of good manners. For now, I am focused on the first 75 days. I’ll re-evaluate when I get to October and see if an additional 75 days of fun is required.
The “75 Hard” challenge (now at 68) is achievable with self-discipline, endurance and fortitude. I’m happy we have each other to provide motivation, support and encouragement. It will be a challenging endeavor, but worth all the effort. The gains will be welcomed. My goal is to remove a couple inches from around my mid-section (I doubt I’ll ever be a 32 waist again), build more strength and endurance, clean up my eating habits and attain more mental clarity. My plan is to emerge vibrant and energized. I’ll keep you posted.
Obviously I’m not suggesting you should attempt something like this. If you do decide to give it a shot, just be sure your body is fit and ready. My girlfriend and I had several athletic running events and a big trip scheduled during the last six months this year. Our events and trip have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Needless to say we aren’t happy about any of this. We both needed something to fill the void. She found “75 Hard” and here we are in the beginning stages. It’s always empowering to challenge your mind and body with new things.
Young or old, it’s never too early or late to set goals for yourself. Having plans, challenges or goals help you stay focused, alert and strong (mentally and physically). Achieving success becomes less of a struggle and more of a workable opportunity. We all want to be better people, personally and professionally. We all want to be physically and mentally tough. You don’t necessarily need “75 Hard” to reach success. It’s all up to you to discover what works best in your world. There are plenty of ways to test and challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to try. Hard work and determination are great traits to begin your journey. You will discover how to build confidence, self-esteem and strength (mentally and physically). The stronger and tougher you become, the more success and future challenges you will enjoy without worry. Whatever you do, keep a positive mental attitude. Don’t allow your mind to control what your body can accomplish. If you need some help along the way, you know I’m here for you.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!