The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


New year, new habits: embracing difficulty

In an effort to set new, positive habits for 2024, faculty and staff members came together to challenge themselves.
Many people take up new habits – including running, reading or time management – as resolutions for the new year.

Darkness envelops him like the warm blanket he wants to return to. The only heat on this cold day is the hand warmers taped down onto the handlebars of his bike.

The only sound he hears is the grinding of the gears, turning and turning, as he pedals through the quiet streets of Dallas. 

He pants, exhaling a visible trail of breath in his wake. The winter sky shows its first glimmers of warmth as he pedals down the final street to the school.

For Admission Officer Korey Mack ‘00, the 45-minute bike ride to work was just one leg in an arduous challenge known as 75 Hard, an ordeal he adapted as a New Year’s resolution for 2024. A gallon of water and another workout wait for him later in the day; 10 pages of a book already completed before leaving his home.

Two workouts a day: The 75 Hard — a self-improvement challenge — requires two workouts a day: one indoor and one outdoor, each one 45 minutes minimum. While physically, the workouts are demanding; the mental challenge of pushing yourself to workout twice a day is the most difficult. Finding the willpower to avoid compromises and excuses requires Mack to reflect and decide if he is truly dedicated to making himself a better man.

“When you start to invest yourself in something, then you’re much less likely to let it fail,” Mack said. “For me, that’s what the 75 Hard has provided. I need more discipline on the weekends, to be frank. I’m very disciplined in my work days. I wake up, I drink water, I come to school working out on the way on my bike, I do my job here, and then I ride my bike home, which constitutes my second workout. On Tuesdays or Thursdays, I come and have a faculty workout for 45 minutes. We work at 6 a.m. and then I usually run anywhere from two to five miles after that faculty workout. I think this has given me a context in which to demonstrate the discipline that is within me.”

Remaining accountable for these workouts is made significantly easier when working with others. That is why strength coach Kevin Dilworth teamed up with Mack and custodian Laura Gomez to complete the challenge together.

“It is mostly a mental thing,” Gomez said. “You have to ask yourself why you get up each morning to go workout. It helps to have two people to work out with in the morning. It’s just, you have to go get it each day.”

10 pages per day: One of the most overlooked components of the 75 Hard Challenge is often the reading associated with it. Easily forgotten on busy days, this component of the challenge requires one to recenter and improve oneself each day with the required motivational or nonfiction books.

For Mack, the reading requirement meant a whole lot more than just completing the task for the day. He used this requirement to further deepen his faith by rereading the Bible, a once arduous but now enjoyable task he had completed once already the previous year.

“It’s not about reading the pages to check them off,” Mack said. “Now I have a better command of what I’m reading. I also get to start my day off in fellowship with God’s Word and have that with me moving forward into the day.”

For Dilworth, reading motivational books helps him stay focused on his goal. By analyzing and applying the messages of the pages he reads to his life, he hopes to become the best version of himself.

“What I love about the 75 Hard is the books,” Dilworth said. I’m reading a book right now called The Mountain Is You. (The author) talks about self-sabotaging and how you’re telling your mind to make you talk yourself out of it… I feel like I’m gonna be my best hero because of this book.”

No Missed Days: If one task remains uncompleted by the end of the day, the 75 Hard must be restarted. No excuses can be made as the challenge requires full dedication. Mack finds the 75 days to be a true test of his will power and detirmination.

“I feel like excuses are things that you tell other people to justify your behavior, and compromise to me, is a much softer word,” Mack said. “Compromise in and of itself is not detrimental. But when you compromise on the things that you deem important at one point, just because the work that you need to do to maintain that commitment gets hard or life happens, that commitment is not as important to you today.”

The completion of a challenge like this does not mean an end to the positive habits built during the challenge. According to Mack, that is the main goal of setting a challenge like this: establishing positive habits that, once so entrenched into your daily life, are impossible to unroot.

“I want to continue the program,” Mack said. “I don’t want to get to day 76 and be like, ‘Okay, perfect, I’m done.’ I’m thinking about this challenge as building lasting changes that I hope to implement in my life for the long term. I’m in the middle of it, and looking forward to day 75. But I’m also looking forward to day 76.”

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About the Contributors
Matthew Hofmann, Life Editor
Christian Warner, Staff Writer