Andy Frisella designed a program called 75HARD.
For 75 days straight, you have to:
- Take a progress photo.
- Workout twice/day (once outside).
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction or self-help book.
- Drink 1 gallon of water.
- Follow a nutrition plan (no alcohol).
Easy enough, eh?
When I was on the program from September to December 2019, I noticed the benefits almost immediately.
After the program was over, I stopped doing everything on that list consistently.
And it showed.
Since that time, my grit decreased. My workouts have not been as productive. My mind has weakened.
So, I’ve spent some time reflecting on why the program works (because it really does).
1. Your “diet” is more than food.
When most people think of “diet,” they think of only the food they consume. And that certainly plays a big role.
But after doing this program, I realized your diet is everything you consume on a daily basis.
Every piece of content you consume. Every text/phone call you receive. The amount of exercise you do. How much sunlight you get. The meditation you practice. How much social media you consume.
Food is a part of the game – there’s no doubt about it. But it’s a smaller part of your overall diet than you might realize.
2. Struggle creates strength.
If you’re looking for direction, purpose, or a journey…
Look no further.
The truth is in modern-day America, life is easy (okay, maybe pre-coronavirus).
We have the internet. You can order anything you want – at a push of a button, in seconds… and it’ll just show up. Never before in human history has life been this convenient.
But doing the five things outlined in 75HARD forces you to go through some struggle. It forces life to be a little more difficult than you’re used to. Which helps increase your grit muscle.
Which makes you stronger.
3. Do one thing right, do many things right.
Momentum is a helluva drug.
When you’re doing one thing right, it’s easy to do the next thing right.
Why is that?
I believe it’s because doing the right thing builds up your Self-Image as someone who does what they’re supposed to do. If you start to believe it’s in your nature to do the things that will help you, you’ll be more likely to do things that will help you. Not rocket science.
This program facilitates that. There are no days off. You are constantly doing one thing right. Day after the next.
4. Some “hard tasks” may be easy. Some “easy tasks” may be hard.
We often put labels on stuff we have to do to our own detriment.
“Oh, that’s really easy.”
“This is going to be a difficult test.”
But many people have broken 75 HARD because of failing to take a progress photo.
Seems odd, right?
This task requires the least amount of time to complete.
But if you’re not thorough, you can easily forget to do it.
So, this program teaches you that just because something seems small, doesn’t mean it actually is. The things that take less time are important too.
5. The quality of your life is based on a bunch of small decisions.
On Day 39 of 75HARD, I wrote the following in my Notes:
“Eating raspberries/blueberries outside grocery store. About to do yoga. Reading. Made the holy fuck realization that life is about making a lot of little choices. And how these choices add up is how your life will be defined as.
Fruit or fries?
Workout or stay in bed?
Read or Netflix?
Your choices define you. And often they’re small (or at least they seem that way). In truth… they have big consequences.”
6. Books provide energy.
A common criticism of self-help books is:
“Those books all say the same things!”
And I would agree. Many of the messages are the same. But I realized in this program that the purpose of self-help books is not necessarily to learn something new. Rather, it’s to take the author’s energy and apply it to your own life.
When you’re reading books where the author is upbeat, has a positive outlook, and offers an interesting perspective, it will also give you that energy.
7. Alone is good.
I’ve always been comfortable by myself. But this program reinforced the notion that if you want to live an uncommon life, you can’t be doing the same things as everyone else.
This is not to say you will avoid human contact. That is not to say you will have no friends.
But this program forces you to get to know yourself.
It’s hard to do two workouts a day with someone. It’s hard to eat clean when if you’re eating what everyone around you is eating. You obviously can’t read 10 pages with others.
So, you often end up doing these tasks alone.
In fact, it’s actually quite beneficial. Because you will have different goals than the person next door.
Focus on you.
8. Together is good, too (accountability is underrated).
I did this program with my friend Tej Dosa – one of the most brilliant and kind-hearted people I know.
He started the program one day after I did.
Every day when I finished my tasks, I texted him. Every day when he finished his tasks, he texted me.
Self-accountability is important, but you want to rig the game in your favor.
What does this mean?
It means you want as many factors in your favor when you’re doing hard stuff. And one way to do that is to have someone in your corner.
If I didn’t complete the tasks for a day, Tej was going to be disappointed in me. And vice versa.
It helped me understand that when someone’s rooting for you to succeed, it’s much harder to fail.
9. You gain confidence from doing the things that others won’t do.
Several times throughout this program, I went out to bars without drinking alcohol.
This was the first time I had ever done this, and what happened was surprising to me.
I was more social, more confident, and operating from a different place than normal.
I personally believe a large part of that was because you gain confidence from knowing you’re doing what others are either unwilling or unable to do.
10. Setbacks are guaranteed to happen.
One morning, a month into the program, I had a banana milkshake.
Turns out I’m allergic to bananas.
I was briefly hospitalized.
But that didn’t stop me from completing my two workouts, eating clean, read my 10 pages, taking my progress photo, and drinking my water.
Then again, on Day 51, I got food poisoning.
For the next week, I went from my bed to the toilet… Over and over again.
From my notes on Day 58:
The last week has been difficult. I got food poisoning exactly one week ago (last Thursday). Since then, I’ve noticed a SHARP decrease in motivation, conscientiousness, and desire. Pretty crazy. Nevertheless, I’ve stayed completing these tasks, but I have dropped a lot of weight.
The motivation won’t always be there to do what you need to do. You might be sick. You might be tired. But you can still do something to move you forward.
11. New habits emerge.
I had to complete two workouts per day.
So, I thought it would make sense to have some recovery workouts in there.
Thankfully, there was a yoga studio within walking distance of my apartment.
It was nothing short of life changing.
Physically, it helped me introduce me to an aspect of fitness I had previously ignored (flexibility).
Mentally and spiritually, taking yoga as many times as four times a week gave me a new outlook. The teachers and fellow students I interacted with at the studio were kind, loving, and thoughtful.
It’s hard to imagine that I would have picked up yoga without starting this program.
So, I’m incredibly grateful for that.
12. It’s always a choice.
The program gives you until you go to sleep that day to complete the tasks.
You could be sick. You could be tired.
But you always have a choice to do what you know you need to do.
So, if it’s 2 a.m., you could be in your bed, but as long as you don’t fall asleep… you’re still in the game.
In other words, it’s always a choice.
13. Every time you lie to yourself, you’re hurting yourself.
Lying to yourself is when you fail to do tasks you said you would do.
It could be not completing your to-do list for the day. Or failing to finish a workout.
What happens is your Self-Image suffers as a result. You think less of yourself. You will start associating yourself (consciously or subconsciously) with someone who doesn’t what they’re supposed to.
This is a dangerous place to be.
But this program largely erases your ability to lie to yourself. Because it’s black and white.
You either did the workouts or didn’t. You either drank the water or you didn’t. You either took your progress photo or you didn’t.
14. Nobody will know if you didn’t do it. BUT YOU WILL.
At the end of the day, this program is not for anyone but you.
And you quickly realize… you don’t have to do anything. Nobody is sitting there making sure you do it. Nobody will know or even care if you do half of this stuff.
But you will know.
Deep down, you will not feel as if you gave your all. Deep down, it will hurt.
And at the end of the day, that’s what you’re fighting for.
You’re fighting for respect from yourself.
This program is difficult.
That’s why it’s called 75HARD.
But the rewards you gain from doing the work are better than anything I’ve experienced thus far.
If you are thinking about trying it, you can learn more about it from Andy’s podcast: 75 HARD: A 75-Day Tactical Guide To Winning The War With Yourself. Beware: listening to this podcast at night may lead to lack of sleep.