"90 in 90"

By Dr. Patricia L. Bay, Psy.D.
Published in W Magazine, February 2010

Can I do it? Do I dare try? Would I humiliate myself if I take the plunge, commit myself and then cannot keep up the effort? These are my thoughts as I get ready to start a "90 in 90." I figured that the New Year would be a good time to give it a go.

So what, you ask, is a 90 in 90? It is simply 90 somethings in 90 days. For an alcoholic it means 90 Alcoholic's Anonymous meetings in 90 days. It is a tried and true way to set yourself up for success. I am not an alcoholic, but I have witnessed many people gain mastery over their issues with this concerted effort. It crossed my mind that if I put the same effort into something I want to change, that these people I have known did in their lives, maybe I can achieve a feeling of success and positive change in my life. So, I decided to do 90 workouts in 90 days. I cringe as I write those words because they look like something akin to a commitment.

My husband, Rich, is an exercise freak. Okay, maybe I'm jealous that for the 34 years we have been together, he has always worked out religiously and has the body mass index to prove it. I did not decide on this particular 90 in 90 to compete with his regime. I do not believe I could even get close to Rich's intense focus in this area. However, it was actually Rich who created the 20-minute, interval training treadmill work-out for me that made me think, "if I could do this every single day, it might actually create some positive changes." (Add the silent part of that sentence, "in the size of my butt.") I can do 20 minutes a day. It isn't much to ask. Do I dare believe that it might actually work? (Yes, yes... to reduce the size of my butt.)

It is a little bit scary to make a commitment such as 90 workouts in 90 days so I also decided to drag in a couple of girlfriends to take the plunge with me. If we all succeed we can celebrate together and if we go down in flames, it's cozier with buddies. I called Sue Schepps and Pam Hill and got them to go along with my plan. The three of us are actually excited and will support each other through phone calls, emails and getting together to commiserate...] I mean encourage each other.

The rules of our "90 in 90" are that we will each do 90 workouts in 90 days. If we miss a day due to illness or scheduling problems, we will do the extra workouts needed to still do 90 in 90. A workout might be 20 minutes of interval training on the treadmill or a minimum of 20 minutes doing any form of cardio that actually works up a good heart rate. Weight workouts will also count. The idea is to get a strict, regular workout regime into our schedules. All three of us already exercise, but we all agree it would serve us to do it much more regularly.

Sue, Pam and I are all hard-working, organized women who like to get things done. I know for myself, I have an obsessive part of my personality that I have to keep in check. I consider myself a reformed perfectionist and now I just strive for excellence. To do this 90 in 90, and actually pull it off, I will have to let that obsessive, perfectionistic beast out of the box. So here we go. I'll let you know how it goes and if there are any significant changes in three tushes.