Once the fall rolls around it’s so easy to fall off your healthy routine. Cold weather, holiday parties, and comfort food are enough to send the best of us packing until New Year's resolution season rolls around.
What if this year was different? Allow yourself to imagine an alternate reality where you decide to continue nurturing your healthy habits or even better start some new ones this fall. Come New Year you could look and feel a lot different than you do today. Plus, those habits could be a steppingstone for some pretty legit New Year’s resolutions this January.
If that sounds good to you, the 75 Soft Challenge is the perfect way to get started. Start developing a well-rounded, healthy routine with TikTok’s viral wellness challenge. Here’s how to do it.
What is the 75 Soft Challenge?
The 75 Soft Challenge is the kinder, gentler alternative to TikTok’s 75 Hard Challenge—a hardcore 75-day daily routine developed by Andy Frisella to “build mental strength and discipline”.
The 75 Hard Challenge preys on those who want to establish healthy habits, handing them a list of extreme lifestyle changes that could be a slippery slope for unhealthy restrictive behavior.
Thus, the 75 Soft Challenge was born. Like the hard version, the 75 Soft Challenge has a series of rules and guidelines that must be followed for 75 days to complete the challenge. The rules are designed to help you build healthy habits without extremes or restrictions.
75 Soft Challenge Rules
The simplified 75 Soft Challenge rules are designed to be followed for 75 days to help you build a consistent healthy routine. Here are the rules:
- Eat well and only drink on social occasions.
- Train for 45 minutes every day, with one day a week for active recovery.
- Drink three liters of water a day.
- Read 10 pages of any book a day.
Let’s break it down.
Train for 45 Minutes Every Day
When it comes to the 75 Series challenges, the workout portion of the programs tend to get the most attention, because it’s the one rule that yields results that are easy to see.
For most of us, a daily 45-minute workout is more than we’re already doing. The great thing about the workouts in 75 Soft is there are no guidelines for how or where you work out—all the details are left up to you.
Want to stick to traditional cardio? Play pickleball? Go hiking? Lift weights? Hop in a dance cardio class? Do yoga? Use the SunnyFit app? All is fair game. The only rule is that you move your body for 45 minutes a day, reserving one day a week for active rest.
Active rest essentially entails any low-impact, low-intensity activity like walking, swimming, or yoga. The point of active rest is to stay moving, which can help you stick to your new workout habit. Plus, it increases circulation to help pump fresh blood into your muscles and remove toxins like lactic acid which could contribute to muscle soreness.
Eat Well and Save Drinking for Social Occasions
The 75 Soft Challenge doesn’t specify a strict diet, it simply needs to be healthy. The great thing about it is you can really set your own goals based on what ‘eating well’ means to you.
For some that might mean counting calories or macros to dial in on specific nutrition goals. For others it might look like adding in more variety of fruits and vegetables or protein at each meal. For many, eating unhealthy foods on special occasions might be an integral part of a healthy diet. The important thing is that you set the boundaries for what healthy eating means for you and stick to it for the full 75 days.
When it comes to booze, the 75 Soft Challenge limits drinking for social occasions only. Don’t use that as a green light to drink as much as you want. Stay mindful of how alcohol plays into your challenge. If one more drink is going to derail you from hitting your goals tomorrow, it’s probably a good time to put the bottle down, right?
Drink 3 Liters of Water a Day
Drinking water might sound like the simplest task on the 75 Soft Challenge checklist, but it’s probably the one you’ll slip up on the most if you aren’t intentional about it. 3 liters of water comes down to about 12 cups a day.
The last thing you want is for the end of the day to roll around, realize you forgot to drink your water, and feel the need to down it all right before bed. Our recommendation? Invest in a marked water bottle so you know exactly how much you’re drinking throughout the day.
When your bottle needs a refill, use it as an opportunity to stand up from your desk, stretch your legs, and be social with your coworkers. Stacking a healthy habit like drinking water with other healthy habits is an easy way to build space for more healthy moments in your day.
If you’re someone who easily gets tired of drinking water, try an electrolyte powder. Electrolytes help restore the minerals your cells need to thrive and function properly and can help you perform your best during a workout and recover better after a workout.
Read 10 Pages a Day
Odds are you’ve set a fitness or diet resolution before, but what about reading? Making time in your day to learn something new is excellent for the mind. Studies show reading can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress(1), and prevent cognitive decline as you age(2).
The 75 Hard Challenge requires you to read a self-help book, but the 75 Soft Challenge allows any book of your choosing. This is great news for someone like me, who spends my entire day on non-fiction research. Sitting down with a good fiction read is a breath of fresh air. No shame.
Once you’ve chosen a book or two, you’re excited to read, decide when you’ll read. This is the easiest rule to fall off on if you’re not intentional about it. Reading in the morning can set the tone for your day, reading at lunch is a nice escape from a running mind, and reading at night is a great way to relax before you fall asleep. There’s no wrong time, just determine a time you like and stick to it.
Why Is The 75 Soft Challenge More Realistic Than 75 Hard?
Simply put, the 75 Soft Challenge is more practical than the 75 Hard Challenge. 75 Hard requires you to work out two times a day for 45 minutes each, and one of them must be outside.
First, that’s a huge time commitment, and some days we simply don’t have the time. Exercise isn’t your only priority in the day, nor should it be. Second, as the seasons change and the light starts going away in the morning and evening, working out outside can become impractical for those who work a full-time job.
Below are the other reasons why I think the 75 Soft Challenge is not just more doable than the 75 Hard, but better for you physically and mentally.
Aims for Consistency Not Perfection
While the 75 Hard Challenge kicks you back to Day 1 if you miss any of the rules along the way, the 75 Soft Challenge isn’t nearly as strict. 75 Soft is designed to help you build consistency, not guilt you into being perfect (because let’s face it, none of us are). That means if you miss Day 15, get right back to Day 16, just like you would if you missed a day of your regular workout routine.
Leaves Room in Your Schedule for You
Look, the 75 Soft Challenge presents great ways to start caring for you, but one of the best things about it is you’ll still have time to socialize, and do other things that you love to do, too. The 75 Hard Challenge on the other hand leaves very little room for social life, given the intense food and alcohol rules can make it challenging to enjoy social settings (and that’s if you make it to social gatherings given the extreme time commitment of 90 minutes of exercise per day).
Just Enough to Inspire Healthy Change
When it comes to challenges, a taste is always better than everything all at once. By packing too many new healthy habits into your routine, you make them nearly impossible to achieve. This can make you feel like being healthy is impossible, which just isn’t true. It’s always better to start small. Those small changes will grow into excitement and hunger for more. From that standpoint, 75 Hard is too much, and 75 Soft might be just enough.
Despite the modified rules, 75 days of the 75 Soft Challenge is not easy. It still requires a daily commitment to intentionally developing healthy habits. If you’re interested in making some healthy moves in your daily routine, give it a try using the tips above.
(1) Rizzolo, D, et al (2009). Stress Management Strategies for Students: The Immediate Effects of Yoga, Humor, and Reading on Stress. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229431397_Stress_Management_Strategies_For_Students_The_Immediate_Effects_Of_Yoga_Humor_And_Reading_On_Stress
(2) Uchida, S. et al (2008). Reading and Solving Arithmetic Problems Improves Cognitive Functions of Normal Aged People: A Randomized Controlled Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276592/