Six years ago, I ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. It was a grueling run, but of the 26.2 miles, I found the last two miles to be the most challenging. I was well-trained, but regardless, ending strong tested me. It pushed all my physical limits but challenged my mental toughness even more. Finishing would require me to stretch myself, put my excuses to death, and double-down on my discipline.
As I entered the last two weeks of 75 Hard, it felt like deja vu.
The last two weeks have tested me physically and mentally in crazy ways. I was naive. I anticipated that by now, I’d be in a routine, my hacks and habits would be developed, and I would coast through the end. Yes, I would coast.
I had heard and read that the end is challenging. I thought I was special. I thought I was different. I thought I had 75 Hard figured out.
It turns out I’m normal.
From one normal person to another, here’s where my 75 Hard challenges are coming from and how I am battling them…
These last few weeks, the workouts, water, and diet feel monotonous. I was excited when I started 75 Hard. Then when things got tough, I dug hard into the challenges. As I fought through the challenges, I reached a point where I took control of the mental battlefield and hit my stride. Things were easy for a while. Then, most recently, they got monotonous. Another gym workout, another yoga session, another run, and another walk. Another salad, another chicken breast, another smoothie, and another drink of water. Another and another turned into eventual boredom. BREAKTHROUGH: It’s crucial, to do anything long-term, to mix things up and stay creative. Incorporate new workouts and try new recipes.
I’ve heard this from a handful of people, and I also fell victim to it. In the middle of 75 Hard, injury feels like a gut punch. In one of my weight sessions, I encountered some challenges in one of my shoulders. When I mentioned mixing things up with my workouts above, this was one of the things that drove that for me. Since my shoulder challenges, I’ve used some of my workouts to rehab. I’ve also planned new workouts to keep things fresh and train other areas more intensely. BREAKTHROUGH: An injury would be the “perfect” excuse to quit 75 Hard. See it for what it is – an excuse – which leads me to my next 75 Hard struggle…
Throughout 75 Hard, the opportunity to accept excuses is rampant. Everyone has plenty of them, and if you’re someone who is open to accepting your excuses, you’ll never make it through the last two weeks of the program. I have been shocked at the number of stories I’ve heard from people who made it this far and, with ten days left, allowed one excuse to hijack two months of discipline and hard work. Finishing 75 Hard is 100% mental. So are our excuses. BREAKTHROUGH: In the last two weeks, choose well. Choose your goals and yourself, not your excuses, and double-down on your version of grit.
As the monotony and boredom set in, my focus started to slide. When I started 75 Hard, I was crystal clear on my purpose, why I was doing this program, and the goals I wanted to achieve. That’s what carried me through those early, challenging days when my body was sore, and I was getting used to the two-a-day workouts. My purpose and why are what forced me out of bed early and helped me stay disciplined on my diet. As the weeks turned into months, keeping my purpose front-and-center has been essential. BREAKTHROUGH: Leaning into your why and goals and keeping them front-and-center is not negotiable.
Entering the last two weeks of 75 Hard, I’ve had to double down on who I am trying to become. The challenges and struggles have been real, but with the finish line in sight, I’ve chosen discipline over being comfortable over and over again.
Follow me here for next week’s 75 Hard wrap-up where I unpack everything I’ve learned over 75 days and how I am going to ensure this hard work and my results stick long-term.
Check out the podcast…
Chris Cathers and I are also talking about our 75 Hard experience on the Grit Meets Growth podcast that we share. If reading this was helpful, you’ll also get massive value out of listening to our conversations. Find the podcast here or on your favorite podcast platform! – John