We have all experienced those moments in our lives, where it’s no longer about “just trying,” or “giving it our best effort.” There comes a time in each of our lives where we make the decision that today is going to be the day I make a change. Sometimes it’s a crazy situation we are thrown into. Sometimes we reach this point because of circumstances we have no control over. And sometimes, it’s a matter of simply reaching a breaking point and deciding we need to change.

For me, my game changing moment came when I realized everything I thought I wanted; everything I had spent years chasing after, all of it had made me a person I despised.

As I ran across the wooden bridge that ran parallel to the overgrown marsh and felt the burning rays of the afternoon sun beating down upon my skin, I was suddenly consumed by emotion I had never experienced prior. I felt my chest get tight and quickly discovered I was clenching my fists so hard that my knuckles were turning white. I picked up my pace, a surge of frustration, anger, and sadness, quickly rushing through my body. I kept my eyes focused on the path. I tried to stop thinking, to allow my mind to wander off to some distant place where I could find peace and rest, but instead, my thoughts raced. I ran harder, desperately trying to outrun all of the pain that had suddenly overtaken me. Then, I stopped running. It was as though someone had yanked my shoulders back, abruptly rendering me still. I felt tears fall from my eyes, and for the first time in a very long time, I actually allowed myself to feel the pain.

I had spent the seven years prior, staying up late to earn good grades, taking extra classes so I could reach my goal of becoming a doctor, while picking up the pieces of my family that had fallen apart, trying to maintain a relationship that was turning me into someone I never wanted to be, and exhausting myself, by running every day to try to stay in shape and maintain some ounce of sanity. As I walked along the path, slowly regaining a steady heartbeat, I realized I was so unhappy.

My game changing moment wasn’t a moment that prompted an immediate change in my life, but it sparked the realization that things in my life had to change. At that moment, during that long run, I was hit with the understanding that everything I was working to obtain was slowly killing me, and the lifestyle I was leading was not sustainable.

My life didn’t change overnight, but in the year following that day, I became a new person. I stopped trying to reach the image of perfection I had set for myself (both physically and mentally). I finished college and decided that I did not want to be a doctor. I broke up with my boyfriend, who had for far too long treated me poorly. I stopped trying to fix my family and learned to love them in spite of their brokenness.

So what has it been for you? When was that moment when you said, “Okay, today is the day I need to change?” Maybe it’s your attitude. Maybe you need to make a change in your diet and exercise, in order to lead a healthier life. Maybe it’s a career change, or change in goals. Whatever it may be, just remember, you can change your situation. It starts with recognizing your own capability.