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I Can Do Hard Things

Dec 09, 2021

“I can do hard things,” I thought.

I was in front of the mirror, putting on makeup. I looked into my eyes and gave a little nod of approval about my thought. Then I put my hands on the sink, bowed my head, and started to cry uncontrollably.

Flash back about three months. I was training for a body building competition. This was a goal that I set last year, and it was extremely important to me. Spending most of my life obese or overweight, this accomplishment was not only important on a physical level, but it was deeply emotional, as well.

At some point during the training, my shoulder got really hurt in the gym. Eventually, I had to take a break from training altogether. This felt incredibly defeating. As you can imagine, this made me question myself. What was I thinking, doing something so absurd in the first place? Here I was trying to compete as an athlete, when, most of my life, I couldn’t even fit into athletic wear.

So, a few months went by. Every time I tried to go back into the gym and do the slightest thing with my shoulder, it would hurt for weeks. So, I did what any reasonable person would do—I went to the doctor.

The doctor ordered physical therapy, an MRI, and a cortisone injection. The cortisone injection takes the inflammation out of my shoulder so that I can strengthen it with physical therapy. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cortisone injection, but they are intense. My husband once got one and he wailed out in pain. (And he’s the strongest man I know.) They take a needle that looks a foot long and as wide as my finger. They stick it deep inside your aching wound. To top this all off, I am deeply afraid of MRI machines. Despite my fears, I know that the MRI is necessary, just like I know the shot is necessary.

So, after weeks of putting this off and making excuses, I decided that I had to follow through. And that brings us to today.

I’m standing in front of the mirror, crying. I don’t even really know what I’m so afraid of. Like many people, I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve experienced a lot of pain. But for some reason, I just felt emotional. I felt like I didn’t know how to get into the car and drive to the MRI office. Not to mention, going through with everything and getting the shot. It all seemed incredibly overwhelming to me.

“You can do hard things,” I told myself.

So, why am I telling you this?

I’m sharing this with you because this whole shot situation reminds me a lot of my weight loss journey. And I’m guessing it may be similar to your own weight loss challenges.

I remember being 75 pounds overweight and crying in bed. I wanted my old body back so badly. I wanted my energy back. I wanted to feel confident again. But fixing the problem felt so overwhelming, scary, and hard. Just getting started felt, well, impossible. I couldn’t even imagine how much work, time, and deprivation I would have to undergo to lose every single extra pound that I had put on. And because it felt so impossible, I just kept eating chocolate and fried food and telling myself, “I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”

Tomorrow turned into next week. Next week turned into next month. And next month turned into next year. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was still so far away from where I wanted to be. I was truly ashamed of myself. It wasn’t until I adopted the right mantra that everything changed for me.

“I can do hard things.”

Look, maybe you are so far from where you want to be right now that you can’t even imagine ever reaching your goal weight. Maybe you feel like you’re tried everything. Maybe you’re burnt out and over being hungry all the time. Maybe you’re tired of just gaining the weight right back. But when I adopted this mantra, “I can do hard things,” everything changed for me.

Do you want to know why? Because the moment that you make the decision that you can do hard things, even when you’re scared shitless of them, is the moment you become unstoppable. Not just with your body but in your life. You will reach places with your body that you only dreamt of. And when I finally sucked it up, stopped feeling sorry for myself, and decided I was going to change my life and body FOR GOOD, it all started with this decision. Because this is what it took to make real changes that lasted.

So, here’s what I recommend. Think about your ultimate goal. Got it? Ok, good.

I’ll use my goal as an example. My ultimate goal right now is to get my MRI and cortisone shot. This feels impossible to me right now. I can’t wrap my head around it. So, I’ll ask myself, can I wrap my heard around checking in with the receptionist?


Can I wrap my head around parking in a giant parking garage that’s dark and cramped and annoying?


Can I wrap my head around driving through this busy city of Honolulu and finding the damn doctor’s office?

No to that, too.

Can I wrap my head around grabbing my keys and purse, walking to my car and getting inside?


Yes, I can wrap my head around that. So, what I’m going to do is cut off all distracting thoughts about other overwhelming steps, and I’m just going to focus on doing this one thing. And once that’s completed, I’ll focus on what’s next.

This is exactly how I want you to look at your weight loss journey. Take your ultimate goal and reverse engineer it until it feels do-able to you. This, my friend, is the formula for doing hard things.

I have to go now. I’m going to close my laptop, grab my keys and purse, and walk to my car.

Love, Julia

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