Every 90 Days Something Wants to Trip You Up

This past February (I can’t believe it’s been that long) I published a blog post about my health transformation and the many amazing side effects that better health had on my physical and mental well-being as well as my company’s performance. It’s been almost a year since my amazing doctor in Bozeman, MT brought to light some significant health problems, and about that long since I enjoyed milk, cereal, really good steak, and, as I discovered this morning, pancakes. Oh, how I miss pancakes for dinner…So it’s been 9 months since I started this health journey and about 90 days since I told you about it. Have I gotten even healthier? Have I gained all the weight back and feel awful? What’s happened?

I’m somewhere in-between and that is why I wanted to write about it today. You see, every 90 days something creeps in to derail you from your goals. My father tells me that all the time. And damn, if it isn’t true almost every 90 days. Something raises its head, something becomes an obstacle, something gets you off your game and takes your eye off the ball and does its best to keep you from maintaining your progress to your goals. In my case, as of last Friday, I put on 15 of the 30 pounds I had lost at the February mark. I started to feel a bit lethargic and really went halfway back in the mental and physical well-being part. And that took me half away from being as engaged and “present” in all my areas of life. Argh, how disappointing that can be! So what threw me off during this 90 day cycle? It was a number of things. My wife had surgery on her knee, so it was more difficult to get good meals (my wife is an amazing cook, and I am amazing at finding new places to eat out at). She was not mobile for a week and semi-mobile for 5 more. Our routine was completely thrown out of whack. Our morning, afternoon, and evening schedule was simply thrown off and we didn’t realize it at all at first. It just changed. With good reason mind you, but it just creeped out and didn’t seem to come back for months.

We also had some sickness in the house. I fell ill with the flu twice, my wife once, my kids once. Talk about 3 weeks of just blah. That is enough to throw you off. This took me personally off my work out schedule. It also took me off any resemblance of a diet. Some people don’t eat when they get sick and they lose weight. Not this guy! I am an emotional eater, and when I’m sick I want my mommy and I want ice cream, Mr. Goodbar candy bars, chips, and cookies. I’ve been told that those are scientifically proven to help you get better quicker. I know, I read it on the Internet, so it’s totally true (and that dang dress is gold and white people). My wife and I noticed this change about two weeks ago, and Mr. Birch’s 90 day theory was echoing in our minds and in our home. So now that she is all healed up and back to 100%, we decided to rededicate ourselves and get back to the routine. We tried this a month ago with no success. Why? We didn’t go back to our original plan to get healthy. We tried something in-between. Somehow, even though we experienced dramatic health changes and huge benefits from it in our lives, we sort of forget what got us there. So we struggled. Two weeks later we sat down and tried to figure out what we did wrong. When you have a goal…you have to write down your plan. Two weeks later we have regained 50% of those setbacks. How’d we do it? We outlined the items that really made a change. Things like:

  • Throw out all the items with gluten in the house.
  • Throw out all the sugary treats, ice cream, etc. It has to be out of the house.
  • Rededicate ourselves with a goal.
  • Daily weigh-ins
  • We tell each other each day where we are in achieving our goals and how we are doing in the strategic indicators we outlined.
  • We set weekly goals.
  • We already feel great in two weeks. It didn’t take long to get back to where we want to be.

So what did I(we) learn? Seriously, my dad was right, dangit he’s almost always right. It may not be as dramatic as a surgery, but it will creep into your life to get you off your goals. When you have a goal, for your health, for your marriage, for fatherhood/motherhood, for your affiliate program, your SEM campaigns, or your company’s revenue, you have to write down your plan. And when things start to work, reiterate that in a note to yourself. Here’s mine:

“Dude, when you eat gluten free, share your weight loss goal with your wife, weigh in every day, and keep your weight under 185, man you feel amazing. You are lean, emotionally you feel amazing, can handle just about any level of stress, and are able to operate at near 100%. When you manage your health, your family notices. You are never more engaged with your faith and family than when you are healthy. Your employees notice it too. And your company performs 50% better just because you are healthy. Keep eating well, keep working out, and you’ll stay engaged, happy, capable of handling the things you need to, and your family and team will be happier and operating at a higher level. Keep it up and don’t eat that pint of Ben and Jerry’s!”

Ok, so that is my home health plan so to speak. How does that work at work? The same way. I have goals and indicators. I have tactics I employ each day and week and when I execute them consistently, I perform at a level I didn’t think I could a year ago and my employees progress faster than ever before. So I write those things down. I include every process, tactic, and strategy that works for me when I and my team are at the heights of performance. Remember that week/month/year where you were unstoppable? I do! Why haven’t you written down ALL the things you did during that period that led to amazing results? You should. Now. Seriously, this blog post will be here when you get back. Go write down the things you did that led to success. Don’t know? Ask your wife/husband, boss, direct reports, colleague, best friend, your favorite cashier at the supermarket. Someone will give you some good points. Now, are you still doing those things Probably not all of them.

Write down your plan. It isn’t always some huge life event or some huge workplace transition to get you off your path. You have to look at this sucker every day. Because this afternoon, something is going to happen to derail you from your goal. Tomorrow someone is going to ask you to go somewhere or do something that is going to take you away from your goals. And the only way you’ll know that a particular thing is taking you away from your goal is if you are looking at your goal often. Personally, I have my weight goal each week written on my mirror in the bathroom at home. I also have my smart watch remind me at 3pm every day and 8:30pm each night. Why those times? Because that is when I want to eat like a crazy man each day.

I have goals and indicators for all areas of our business as well. Finance, client satisfaction, new business, employee satisfaction, customer and employee retention, and more. They are written and reviewed on a weekly or daily basis. Like I stated earlier, it isn’t always some huge life event or some huge workplace transition to get you off your path. It can be subtle changes that slowly take you further away from your goals, lowers your service level, allows you to forget a few fundamental things that decreases your results at work, home, or in relationships. So you have to review this stuff and recommit every single day. What’s happening next month that will keep you from your goal and high performance?

We should have known that having my wife not walking for 6 weeks was going to strain our march forward. But we didn’t even acknowledge it, so we couldn’t plan for it. Anticipation is the key. What is going on next week that is going to chase you away? What’s happening next month that will keep you from your goal and high performance? I should have known that 3 new employees, 11 new clients, and 3 major feature releases for our reporting and CRM SaaS, Chloeworks.com, would take me off my game at work. Did I? Well some of it yes, but not all of it. Man…were we upset that we gained almost all we had lost and worked so hard for. Did we sulk? Unfortunately, yes we did. But what good does that do? Forgive yourself man. Don’t beat yourself up. Here is a secret. You are going to fail. You are going to miss the mark and you are not going to live up to your own standards all the time. And that is ok, it’s part of the human condition. Don’t wallow in it. Forgive yourself, give yourself grace, identify where you messed up, and get back on your plan!

I’ve learned so much from my health journey this year that I can’t not relate it to every other aspect of my life. The things I learned have been so valuable in all these other areas that I just had to tell you. Hopefully this inspires you a bit to keep going, get back on track, and it helps you to stay on track. What do you think? Can you relate? Am I crazy here?

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