How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? It’s a question we ask ourselves throughout our lives.

For IU Bloomington’s Linda Hunt, the answer comes down to three little words with a great big impact: persistence, determination, and self-forgiveness. These characteristics are present in every step she’s taken toward her personal wellness goals.

She decided she was ready to start living the life she wanted.

Hunt, Assistant Vice President, Capital Planning and Facilities, was a lifelong smoker and describes herself as “always a chubby little girl.” She struggled with trying to quit smoking and maintaining a healthy weight throughout her life.

Then, about four years ago, at age 60, she decided she was ready — to quit smoking, lose the extra weight, and start living the life she wanted.

Kicking the habit

The first thing on Hunt’s wellness journey was to quit smoking.

It would be her fifth attempt, and she’d planned a vacation to help her get out of the office and focus on her goal.

Quitting smoking is hard, but living with that struggling thought process is even harder.

But two weeks before her vacation, she found herself in a familiar situation — out of cigarettes, driving to work, and struggling with the question, should I stop and get some cigarettes, or should I try to make it without them?

“That kind of back and forth mental game is so draining. Quitting smoking is hard, but living with that struggling thought process is even harder. I was fed up with it, and that’s when I quit smoking cold turkey,” says Hunt.

Every time I went to the gym, I wanted to have fun.

Getting in shape

A couple months later, Hunt started her fitness routine. “I had a friend who I wanted to spend more time with. She’d had success at NGPT and Fitness, led by IU alum Adam Schaeuble, so I started going with her.”

From the very beginning, Hunt’s main goal was that, “Every time I went to the gym, I wanted to have fun.”

At the beginning, it wasn’t always easy. “So I bought some adorable, raspberry-colored shoes to wear during my workouts. They make me happy, even if nothing else does on some days. I joke that if you see me wearing my raspberry shoes, you know I don’t want to be at the gym,” says Hunt.

In the past three years, Hunt has made it her life’s goal to exercise regularly, fuel her body with nutritious foods, have a positive mental attitude, and hold herself accountable for her choices.

Going to the gym tires me out and seems to burn off worries.

She has lost sixty-two pounds, lowered her BMI to a low-normal range, and lost eleven inches around her waist.

Not only that, but she’s gained confidence (“I’m mindful that I like the way I look, and it makes life easier”), is sleeping better (“Going to the gym tires me out and seems to burn off worries”), and moves around a lot easier (“I consider my body to be an asset now, not a liability”).