One Friday night in early January, 2016, my wife and I were at our friend Kolt's house. We were sitting around the dining table talking about smoothies. Specifically, we were sharing the steps we'd used to kick-start our family's daily healthy smoothie habit exactly 162 days before.
For over four months, we and our two daughters had been happily eating significantly more raw fruits and vegetables than ever before with healthy smoothies every day. And there was no end in sight. In fact, we had (and still have) every expectation that we would continue to have healthy smoothies every day for the rest of our lives.
It hadn't been hard to do, and I was confident we could help Kolt and his family do the same. More on that in a minute, but first a bit about how we ended up over at Kolt's house in the first place...
About three weeks earlier, I'd gotten a text from Kolt's wife that had floored me. She was reaching out to let me know that he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer. He was in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove a third of his colon. Hopefully he'd be out before Christmas. That was about all they knew.
I can't really describe how I felt. Kolt is an amazing guy. Stocky, with a huge smile, a strong handshake, and a big hug. He's famously generous. He and his wife have a young daughter and son. We're high school classmates and in our mid-40s, so we've known each other a long time.
I'd stopped what I was doing, sat down heavily on a step, and put my head in my hands. I swore a bit. I replied to the text saying that we loved them and asking what we could do to help. My eyes started to fill up then overflowed when I took my phone inside to show my wife. I was reminded again of just how precious each moment we have is.
I visited Kolt in the hospital a few times, staying until near midnight once. We had lots of time to talk. With the fresh perspective of his situation, he was feeling new urgency to start eating better. It was a way for him to climb into the ring and go toe to toe with his cancer. Plus, his diagnosis had propelled his kids into a high risk group, and teaching them healthy eating habits felt more important now than ever.
He knew our family had been having healthy smoothies every day for awhile and asked if we'd help them start a daily smoothie habit too.
Fast forwarding back to that night at the dining table, here are three key points we shared with Kolt and his wife to help them successfully do what usually seems impossible: actually change their daily routine in a lasting way.
There was a bit more too it, but those are the highlights. I checked in with Kolt five weeks later as I wrote this. Two things stood out:
First, they are still going strong with their smoothies every day. Their kids are even really into it.
Second, as part of preparing for his chemotherapy, Kolt had met with a dietitian. She'd told him to start eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to strengthen his body to handle the chemo. He was happy to tell her he already had that covered.
Kolt's story is a kick-in-the-pants reminder that this life we are living is no dry run. This is the real deal and we only get one crack at it. The choices we make every day have real impact on the quality - and quantity - of the time we get.
And despite how hard it can seem, giving yourself a shot at a longer, healthier life with a healthy smoothie every day is completely doable. Even easy. If you use the power of habit to help you with it.
Have an awesome day.
P.S. For a similar take on starting a lasting exercise habit, and hopefully for a couple of laughs, have a look at Fat Dads: Why Becoming One Isn't Your Fault, Staying One Is, and How to Leave Fat-Dad-Dom Behind Forever. I wrote Fat Dads for guys, but the principles work for everyone.
Like this? Share it. I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks and take care... - Shaun