True Grit

By Dr. Bryan Hawley

Are you ready to start living your life with InteGRITy?

If you are like me, you have been blasted from every angle about the COVID-19 crisis, from TV, radio, Internet, family, friends, dogs, cats, goldfish; even our mailman stopped me while I was mowing the lawn to update me on the latest stats. I know they all mean well, but living in a world as beautiful as ours with unlimited opportunities, I choose to focus on the positive. Of course, I recognize the situation and its seriousness, but I am not focusing my energy on it. Instead, I decided to undertake a new challenge that was guaranteed to change my life, my business and my outlook.

It’s called 75Hard, and it has a lot to do with GRIT. What is Grit and what does it have to do with life and business? Grit is doing the same repetitive thing over and over without seeing instant results—but pushing through knowing they will be there long-term.

While I don’t want to talk about the program in detail—so we can focus on the lessons I am learning from it—I do need to give you a quick overview. In a nutshell. 75Hard basically is designed to promote “mental toughness.” For 75 days you work out two times a day, 45 minutes each time. One workout has to be outdoors. You can pick a diet or your choice, weight gain, weight loss, energy, carb, no carb—but you don’t waiver and no cheat meals and no alcohol. You take a picture of yourself every day and read 10 pages of a nonfiction, real-paper book every day. I am choosing self-help, inspirational topics. If you mess up, read only nine pages, workout 43 minutes, forget a selfie—anything—you have to start all over.

So why did I undertake this challenge? The same reason people climb Mt. Everest—because it’s there. This is something that I wanted to prove to myself I could do and would hold myself accountable. It teaches or reinforces paying attention to the little things, like taking a selfie everyday (I almost forgot that one the other day; just not used to doing it).

It also brings out the two voices in your head. One that always goes, “Oh start this next Monday. … It’s only one ice cream; you did two workouts today you deserve it. … Only do nine reps and your tired. Just take two selfies tomorrow; no one will know.” You all know that voice, especially if you have ever tried dieting or working out. It usually is the louder of the two, so it is the one that we listen to most often.

But then it also unveils another softer, deeper ancient voice that says, “No—you got two more in you. … Don’t chat with that ice cream, you will feel bad later. … Yes, you worked hard but so did everyone else; do you want to be like the masses or be different? … You will know if you don’t take that selfie.” THAT voice is the one I am training myself to listen to. That voice is the one that will help me in my business, help me in my relationships, strengthen my marriage, and keep myself in line with my goals.

Now you don’t have to do something as extreme as 75Hard (and check with your physician first before you take on a new diet and/or exercise program), but you can start training yourself to master grit, keep promises to yourself, set goals, and listen to that inner true voice.

Some of the best ways I have found and taught over the years are to:

  1. Dream BIG dammit! When we were kids we had huge dreams: astronaut, president, scientist, doctor, pro bass fisherman (that was mine), and most parents supported them. “Sure, Johnny, you can be anything you want to be.” But then later those same people oftentimes became our doubters and the world seemed to close in and shut down those dreams. Now, as adults, I think many have forgotten that ability to daydream and think BIG.
  2. Write your BIG dream down and create a plan. Otherwise, it will always be a dream. Design a goal with a outcomes, set amounts, dates, etc.
  3. Create vision boards. Go see that new car and take a test drive, smell the inside. Look at that lake house and get the feeling. Emotions are so much stronger than pictures to our minds.
  4. Create an anchor promise to yourself. How how many have started a diet or workout program and within a couple weeks stopped? I have had so many clients over the years struggle with this and other goals. The problem is they lack integrity. Yes, you lack integrity. Not with me, not with others, but with yourself.

InteGRITy meaning being honest, having strong morals, strong character. Have you lost this with yourself? It’s time to stop listening to that other voice that lets you slide every time and talks you out of doing what needs to be done.

So I want you to create an anchor promise. Start with making a promise to yourself that no way in hell are you going to break. It can be as simple as brushing your teeth every day. Something that you know you will not break. This sets the foundation.

Next, do something a bit harder, say drinking eight glasses of water every day for one week. Or doing a random act of kindness every day for two weeks. Whatever it is: DON’T break that promise to yourself. After doing this and increasing the promises, you will reestablish integrity with yourself and build up your grit muscle. Then, after a while, you will know deep down there is nothing you cannot do if you make that promise to yourself. You know you will hold yourself accountable, follow through and execute.

If you end up breaking a promise, don’t beat yourself up. Get back up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. Now you know how it feels to let yourself down after you have established integrity with yourself. And believe me it feels like crap! I have done this, and man was I ready to get back in the ring and prove to myself that I am better than this and look out world.

In these challenging times, we can focus on what is going on in the outside world and get caught up in the drama, or we can choose to be aware of global developments but truly focus on ourselves to develop our character, reignite our dreams, and create something new and fresh. The choice is yours. You can be a thermometer that is subject to the environment or a thermostat that is aware of the environment but can control it.

Be well, I’m off for my second 45-min workout of the day. Oh as of writing, I am on day 15 of the 75. Good luck all.

Dr. Bryan is a published author, national speaker, and personal growth consultant. He also owns an online digital marketing agency and has created a simple online course on digital marketing to help other coaches, and authors break out into the world and reach audiences. You can find out more on his website or email directly at

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