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Q&A with Tim Hightower

Tim discussed his #iCommit21 initiative, the offseason and more.

What is the offseason like for an NFL player?
Busy, probably a lot busier than in-season. In-season you're able to just focus on one thing: you're focused on the season. During the offseason, you go back to being a day, you go back to being husband, you go back to doing things in the community. Preparing for the season and preparing for all the things you didn't focus on during the year. It's really trying to manage your time, manage your resources, plans trips, and then get your body ready for the next year. It's all about time management.

Fans would think the offseason is more relaxing…
You take about a week or two and kind of unwind. Then you think about all the responsibilities. This football thing, when it starts back up again, really limits the things you can do outside. You got to start maximizing your time. You can take a couple of days, but then it's back to work.

What is iCommit21?

iCommit21. At the start of the year, I write down all of my goals and think "What do I want to accomplish this year?" By the end of the year, what do I want to look back on and say "I accomplished this." Me and my wife, we looked back at 2016 and looked at some areas that we were pleased with, but some other areas that we weren't too pleased with. I looked back at my notes in my journal and noticed some things repeated. I said "I'm not accomplishing this for the second, third, fourth year." What can we do to change that?

We can't just think because it's a new year, things are going to be different. How can we challenge each other to be better? How can we challenge others to be better? I'm sure if I'm dealing with the same issues, others are dealing with it too. Let's create some healthy habits this year and why not do it socially and get the interaction of fans? That way it will get them to share their ideas and challenge us as well. Another thing was there are so many areas you think you want to improve on, but if we can break this thing down one step at a time for 21 days and commit to something, it will gain some momentum and we can look back at the year and at least, if there are 12 new habits we created, we're pleased with that.

As opposed to a New Year's resolution, you have an actual plan…
There are three things that we talked about. Any type of goal has three things: a clear plan, a plan of action, how are you going to accomplish this goal? It has a timeline, right? What is the timeline for this goal? Obviously, 21 days is a short goal, then for the whole year. Then it has accountability. Somebody who can push you, who can remind you, who can challenge with you. So we're going to pick one area each month. This month will be health, next month will be relationships, next month will be finance, whatever it is, education. Do something every day towards that goal. Whether it's read a book, or listen to something, or watch something, whatever it is. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, then you do the next one. Don't focus on 10 areas, just focus on one area and do one thing. If you can do more, great, but then share it. If you mess up, share it. We all fall, we all stumble, but we can learn from each other and encourage each other, so that's the idea.

How is the first goal going?
Man, it was rough. My wife and I started in January before we put it out there, you got to start it yourself. We started a health challenge for January: no sugar, no bread, no dairy; it was rough. I try to stick to a pretty clean diet during the season, but when you're consciously avoiding everything that your body really wants, it was really tough. But the fact that we actually made it through, we were happy. It was motivating. My wife and I were like "Wow, we actually did this." We started step one. What else can we do? It was encouraging and we're looking forward to next month.

Will you keep doing the no dairy, no sugar next month?
We're going to focus on the next challenge. We're going to focus on creating healthy habits. Healthy habits create healthy lifestyles. Not to say we'll go back to eating ice cream every single day, but in moderation. We'll try to build on that and hopefully that creates a lifestyle where we don't crave the same things as much, but I can't say that will be the last time I ever eat Coldstone.

Do you know what you want to commit to next?
I do. In February, we really want to do relationships. Whether that can be a marriage, a romantic relationship, family relationships, business relationships, parent relationships, whatever it is, really trying to improve those relationships. Whether it be through communication, talking, whatever it is, we're looking to February as the month of relationships. We're going to share our stories. For me, I like connecting with people. I want to see how others go about their lives, their habits. I like to know what motivates people, what inspires them, and what challenges them. Looking for interaction and challenging them, seeing what their commitment goals are for these relationships.

Back to football, did you foresee these two teams being in the Super Bowl?
Yes, but I also foresaw myself being in the Super Bowl. Much respect to both programs. Playing the Falcons twice, they're playing good football. The thing that sticks out: everyone can see they're high-powered and can score a lot of points, but one thing they do is play good football. They don't turn the ball over and on defense they get turnovers. That's a good formula for success: don't beat yourself. Obviously the Patriots, they're able to adapt. Not being able to have Tom Brady at the beginning of the year, the third-string quarterback, injury to Rob Gronkowski, all the different variables. No matter what they're faced with, they're able to adapt to whatever opponent or situation and their expectation is to play at a high level. When you look at the formula for each team, it gives them a chance at success. It gives you a higher percentage to have success.

To join the challenge, use #iCommit21 to share your stories and see what Tim and others are doing!

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