I’ll admit… I had serious doubts as to whether I was setting myself up for success or sabotage when I began the 80 Day Obsession.
But seeing the positive results two close friends experienced, I bit the proverbial bullet.
What ultimately surprised me about this process was NOT what you might expect.
I mean isn’t the REASON you tackle a physical challenge to see the physical results???
What I learned is “Yes … and.”
It’s the “and” part that I’m most drawn to share.
But I will start with a nod to the physical!
Sweat Stinks- Not rocket science, I know, but there is something profoundly personal about the smell of our own sweat. It is a visceral clue that something has happened. And for me, it represented a willingness for me to get way out of my comfort zone doing many things (oh my gosh, half-Turkish get up) that were so UNCOMFORTABLE they literally leaked out through my pores.
Strength Stabilizes- As I gained physical strength and could lift, press and pull weights (even my own body weight) at increasing number of reps… my balance improved. Where I literally wobbled and fell in the early weeks … I executed with relative ease near the end.
Honestly, I didn’t release much weight (only about 3 lbs.).
See, the vast majority of changes that happened to me during the 80 days… happened on the inside.
Mindset Muscles- The irony of this lesson almost makes it difficult to share because I speak, write and teach about the power of our thoughts all the time. And I believe it!
But what surprised me was how physical work strengthened not only my body, but my mind and will.
With each day I completed there was a growing sense of simultaneous accomplishment and challenge.
The will to make it work overpowered ANY excuse to quit. It’s hard to put it into words, but my mind literally took control over my body. Sleeping in, skipping it or shortcuts were simply non-negotiable. I couldn’t NOT work out. Even during “hell week” rehearsals for Mary Poppins, speaking engagements, and company from out of town…. the alarm was set and I got up to sweat.
Invisible Invincibility- Not coincidentally, in the midst of this regimen I found myself in the “Refocus Your Brain” chapter in Micro-Resilience and read, “Exercise generates significant same-day improvement in higher order thinking skills that remain measurable after the exercise ends.”
Believe me, I’ll take all of the faster mental processing, enhanced memory storage and retrieval, better selective attention and more creative thinking I can get!
And I got it.
New ideas flowed, negative attitudes waned and my ability to handle tough emotional stuff…. toughened. Amazing how opportunities in each of those areas presented themselves.
Resolve Restored- Aging is inevitable…. and it’s also a state of mind. These 80 days have proven I can choose how I face and address both facts. I’m more committed than ever to maintaining my flexibility of body AND mind! I’m back again to eliminating all “stinkin thinkin!”
Sharing some of my “learnings” with his friend Mark, the ultra-marathoner, Sam received this response:
I thought about the "why's" quite a lot this past weekend. Outside of the handful of people out there who have a chance to win, why are the rest of us out there…. absolutely wrecking our bodies with no real tangible reward to come from it?
But then while you're out there, you witness, over and over again, people overcoming all manner of obstacles; blisters, nausea and of course ridiculous muscle pain.
And then there are the stories they have of how they got there…. obesity, alcoholism, drug abuse and PTSD...the list is endless.
And you realize, it doesn't matter where any of us finish. We are all winners just by the mere fact we are out there.
And the race itself then becomes a victory lap of sorts, as well as a journey of self-discovery.
I’m wearing his description of “why” as my 80 Day Obsession badge.
And I’m thankful that strengthening my physical core led to so many unsuspected, non-scale victories on my inside journey of self-discovery.