Written by Coach Erika
How many times have you participated in some sort of nutrition-, fitness-, weight loss-type challenge just to revert back to your same old habits after it’s over?
During the month of September, TM members took part in a “30 Hard” Challenge.
To successfully complete this challenge, EVERY DAY in September our members had to do ALL of the following:
- Complete two 30+ minute workouts (at least one workout MUST be outside)
- Drink 2/3 of their bodyweight in ounces of water (example: If you weigh 200 lbs, you will need to drink a minimum of 133 oz of water each day)
- Read 10+ pages in a non-fiction book
- Consume zero alcohol for the entire 30 days
- Choose any diet and stick with it
- No cheat meals
- Take a daily progress picture
Challenges like this are great for kickstarting healthy habits. However, if once the challenge is over, we just go back to all our old habits, it doesn’t really benefit us in the long run. But at the same time, we know that it’s not realistic to be this strict in our everyday life.
The key is to find takeaways that you can carry into your normal routine.
How do you pick which habits you maintain? Well, you can consider the following questions:
- What habits from the challenge do you feel really benefited you?
- What habits do you think made you feel your best?
- Did any of these habits impact your mental health positively or negatively?
- Was there a habit that caused more stress than benefit?
- Was there a habit that created a positive change, but maybe it needs modified to fit your daily life?
- Was there a habit that did or did not directly support your goals?
The important thing here is taking time to reflect after these short-term “challenges”. Think about how it made you feel. Think about the positives AND the negatives. Then, find a way that you can apply aspects of it to your daily routine.
I am going to share what this looks like in my own life, on the chance that it helps someone else. If you aren’t interested in my personal reflections, you can skip the next part. 😊
- Completing two 30+ minute workouts, one of which was outside, was the easiest for me. Not because I have all the time in the world, but because movement is something I genuinely love. There were many nights I was taking late night walks or hopping on my bike while I watched TV to get my second workout in. Something I am going to take from this is continuing to spend time outside every day. I LOVE being outside. It brings me so much joy and I want to prioritize that. I also want to keep focusing on getting 10,000 steps per day and making a conscious effort to close my rings on my apple watch every day, while giving myself grace on the days life gets in the way.
- Drinking water is also fairly easy for me. I am going to focus on getting at least half my bodyweight in ounces of water going forward, knowing that most days I will surpass that anyway. For any of you that struggle to drink enough water, here’s a few tips: 1) Get a BIG water bottle. Mine is 40 ounces. 2) Get a straw. You’ll drink so much more water, trust me. 3) Cut back on other beverages (that aren’t water) that you drink throughout the day.
- Read 10+ pages in a non-fiction book. This was a challenge for me, partly because I saved it for right before bedtime. While that had its benefits, it also had its downfalls when I was just ready to go to sleep. I do want to keep this habit up, because I like enriching my mind as well. However, I am trying to figure out a time that serves me best.
- Consuming zero alcohol. I thought this was going to be the toughest for me, but it actually wasn’t. And naturally, I felt really good over the 30 days. Less bloating, less fatigue, more mental clarity, more energy, better mental health. Another thing I noticed was that my sleeping heart rate dropped around 15 BPM on average over the course of September, and my average resting heart rate also decreased. I still love some wine, margaritas, and beer, so I won’t be eliminating alcohol from my life entirely, but I used this as an opportunity to reflect on my alcohol consumption and will absolutely be cutting back.
- Choose any diet and stick with it. I chose counting macros/calories because it’s something I am very comfortable with, as I’ve been doing it on and off for several years. This is something I will continue to do most days because it helps keep me on track (with avoiding both under-eating and overeating). However, it isn’t something I’m going to stress about. Sometimes there are days where I mentally don’t need one more thing to do, so tracking won’t happen that day and that’s okay.
- No cheat meals. Real life involves “cheat meals”. It involves holidays and birthdays and my mom’s cooking and desserts. It involves being present and eating what’s being served and not worrying about how many calories are in it. Life is all about balance.
- Take a daily progress picture. I will not be continuing this. 🤣 However, I do think it’s a good reminder that the scale doesn’t mean everything. Finding other ways to track your progress and goals is important. Take pictures, take measurements, monitor your energy levels and performance in the gym, and pay attention to how you FEEL.
Again, I just wanted to share my own experience in case it helped someone else figure out how they can use what they learned from the 30 Hard Challenge in their own daily life. If you haven’t taken time yet to reflect, I’d highly encourage you to do so. And I’d implore you to continue with at least one aspect of the challenge, even if you change it to better accommodate your lifestyle. Changing our daily habits is the way we change our lives.
“What you do on a daily basis creates who you are.”
If you are looking for more resources or advice, please reach out to any of our coaches at TM! We’d be more than happy to help.
And to all of you who participated in one way or another, great job!