I can’t. Two words that I hear all too often. I can’t find time to exercise. I can’t run farther. I can’t push harder. I can’t eat healthy. I can’t try.

I was training a client the other day and when I was attempting to get them to push themselves harder, the first words out of their mouth when it became difficult was "I can’t". So I ask them, “You can’t? Or you don’t want to?”

That is a very important question that we all need to ask ourselves when we are facing adversity. Saying I can’t and walking away is easy, but 9 times out of 10 it is simply us giving up. It is a reason for it to be ok to stop trying. It’s an excuse.

There are many times when I don’t want to do something, such as waking up on a Saturday morning after one too many glasses of wine and having to meet friends for a hike, because I had committed to do so. Or going out for a run after a long day at work, when all I want to do is sit on the couch with a good book or Netflix. Or go for a long mountain bike ride in the pouring rain when I would rather meet friends for brunch. In all of these situations we could all easily say, I can’t because I’m too exhausted, or too hungover, or too busy, but really we can, we just don’t want to.

How do you move past this idea that we can’t do something? We acknowledge that it is because we don’t want to and then we focus ourselves on the goals that we are trying to achieve to change our attitudes.

My friend Don has every right to say I can’t, over and over and over again, except I don’t think those words exists in his vocabulary. Don was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 48, and has fought every single day since to never allow himself, or anyone else (including his doctors), tell him that he can’t do something. He has proven to himself, and everyone who is blessed to know him, that he can and that he will. Since his diagnosis he has found himself at the start line of countless 10k races, marathons, fondos and triathlons and just a few weeks ago he found himself at the start line of Ironman Canada, one of the toughest events I’ve ever done. 

Sure, he could have said he couldn’t do it, but he trained and he worked hard, everyday telling himself that he could. And the day of the race he found himself battling some of the worst weather conditions I have seen in an Ironman, presenting more reasons to say I give up, or I can’t, except he pushed and took it one step at a time, placing 21st in his age group with a time of 11 hours and 50 minutes (nearly an hour faster than my best time!).

Next time you wake up and say you can’t work out today, or you can’t eat healthy, or you can’t achieve the goals that you have set for yourself, watch this video because this man is all the proof that you need that you can.

Attached - Ellie Goulding leaving the gym after a workout the other day.