Many people shy away from things that make them uncomfortable so they sweep the issue under the rug instead of facing it head-on. 

The thing is, the predicament doesn’t go away. And by ignoring it, the problem can actually become bigger than it has to be. Aside from that, avoiding lingering issues forces you to miss out on the opportunity to overcome them and build confidence from the experience. 

So how do you avoid taking the path of least resistance? How can you learn to embrace challenges? 

I am Dr. Debi Silber and welcome to another insightful episode of A Dose of Dr. Debi.

Today, we will be tackling the mantra, “Hard Now, Easy Later,” and how you can apply this mindset to your daily life.  

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In This Episode

  • Understand the difference between “easy now, hard later,” and “hard now, easy later.”  
  • Discover areas in life where you’ve applied these mantras        
  • Find out how you can remind yourself to choose the “hard now, easy later” option


Hi there Dr. Debi here and here is another Dose of Dr. Debi as part of the From Betrayal to Breakthrough podcast. There’s a saying, and I’m not kidding, it’s my 30th year in business and this is a saying that I have been using for 30 years. It applies to every single topic in life, and I want to share it with you. I have a feeling if you embrace this mantra, you will see so clearly how you’re showing up and more importantly, what you can do to change what isn’t working for you. Ready? 

Easy now, hard later. Hard now, easy later. Take your pick, it’s going to be one of those two. 

So here’s what I mean and you can use it for anything. Let’s take weight loss for example. Easy now: “there are the cookies and I want them.” Hard later: “I can’t button my pants.” Or, hard now: “I really want those cookies, but I really want to feel good too.” Easy later: “Huh, look how great my clothes fit me!”

You see, it works with any topic. For example: “I don’t want to have that awkward conversation, so I’m just going to pretend that everything’s okay,” that’s easy now, hard later. Or: “Wow, this issue is still lingering” (hard now), “I don’t want to have that awkward conversation but I know I need to in order to clear the air” (easy later). And then after that conversation, “Wow, with a clearer understanding, we both understand where each other is coming from!”

I run The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute, and I see it so clearly within our Institute and it shows up in so many ways. Here’s the experience of easy now: “This is really uncomfortable. This is really painful. I just don’t know what to do. So I’m going to use food, drugs, alcohol, work, TV, keeping busy, or reckless behavior to numb, avoid, or distract from this pain that is so painful to feel or face.” Hard later: “It’s still there. My challenge is still there. The problem is still there. I don’t feel any better about my experience.” On the other hand, hard now: “This is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever faced. I am facing demons and slaying dragons and this is really, really hard.” And then easy later: “Wow, you know, by facing it and feeling it, I’m healing it! I’m moving through this experience, I’m seeing how strong I am. I’m seeing how capable I am. Things that used to completely derail me, no longer do. I’m becoming more confident. I’m putting boundaries in place that I never did before. And I’m seeing things so differently. And the more I extract myself from that situation, the more I remove myself from the experience, the more clearly I see it. And even though it happened to me it’s not about me.”

You see, we see so many things when we do the “hard now, easy later.” But let’s face it, that’s uncomfortable. And so many of us don’t want to be uncomfortable. So we just kind of get by, and we think: “Okay, well you know what, I’ll just move through this taking the path of least resistance.” If you’ve noticed, it doesn’t go away.

So what would it take for you to try the “hard now, easy later,” as opposed to “easy now, hard later”? Take a look at how you’ve handled things before. I remember a mentor saying: “How you are in one area is how you are with everything.” So, there may be many other areas of life where you chose “easy now.” And you’re sitting there with the “hard later.” This becomes a habit. And, what I see so often is that this mountain gets bigger and bigger to climb because as we’re avoiding these things, it’s just becoming too much to take on. Then it just becomes bigger and bigger and bigger, and then the fear of it just makes it bigger than it is. It makes it bigger than it needs to be. As opposed to when we opt for the “hard now.” This may sound something like: “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this thing. I’m going to go over, around, through it. But, I am getting to the other side.” And, whether that means chipping away at it ever so slowly, that’s okay. As long as you do something, incrementally, every single day to move you in the direction you want to go. At least you’re challenging this big obstacle that in the past may have completely derailed you.

Like I said, this could be for health, it could be for relationships, it could be for business. Any topic you choose, you can apply this. But what I see so often is, so many of us, opt for that “easy now.” And yes, it may make the moment a bit easier, but if you notice, things don’t change. That issue doesn’t go away, and it also erodes our confidence.

How is confidence built? It’s built by having a challenge, taking it on, and then you look back and you’re like: “Oh, look at me! Look what I just did!” That gives you the confidence to try something else because now you have that example of: “Wow, that was something I didn’t want to do and I did it!” Whether it was having that difficult conversation, making that phone call, not having those cookies, whatever it is. When you do it, you see you’ve survived it, and you notice how you feel. You probably feel a little bit more confident. You feel more self-assured. You feel like: “Okay, you know what? I can do hard things. I can do challenging things. And when I do, I feel better. I feel a sense of relief.”

Typically, it’s not as bad as what we perceive in our minds. Our minds can go crazy, where we build something up so much bigger than it needs to be. Have you ever experienced this? I mean something as simple as, maybe, there was a dessert and you just were imagining what it was going to taste like. You were trying so hard to control yourself. Has it ever happened to you where you go ahead and you have a taste of that dessert and it wasn’t even as good as you thought? By trying it, you realize: “Wow, it’s no big deal.” Well, so often that happens when we take on those challenging things. We have that conversation, we make that phone call, we don’t run from that situation, but we move towards it.

Here’s also where we need support and I caution you that you want support from the right type of people because the wrong type of support does more harm than good. We see this within The PBT Institute all the time. Well-meaning, or not so well-meaning, people may try to help you. But what happens is, they’re coming from their own lens. They’re coming from their own set of experiences. And do they have a hidden agenda why they may want or not want you to do something? That’s likely. So, I always caution that when you’re looking for that additional support, see where that person stands. What do they have to gain or lose by being completely objective? And that’ll give you a hint for who may be a good person to reach out to when you’re in need.

But most importantly, really what I wanted to cover today was: “Hard now, easy later. Easy now, hard later. Take your pick because it’s going to be one of those two.” And I really invite you that as you go through your week, and as you’re moving through your day, and here comes that challenge (and it will show up, it always does), what’s your go-to? Is it “hard now”? Is it: “Alright, here we go,” which builds confidence and you feel more empowered, self-assured. Or is it “easy now”? With that, you say something like: “You know what, forget it.” Now, it’s one thing when you’re just easygoing and it doesn’t matter to you, then it’s like: “Oh, who cares.” For example, if a bunch of people are going out for dinner and they say: “Where do you want to go?” And you say “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter to me.” So that’s where it’s like that, whatever works for everybody else. But, when it’s something important, that’s when you speak up, that’s when it’s “hard now.” You may say something like: “Yes, this is uncomfortable (who likes confrontation?) I don’t like it, but I’m going to speak up, I’m going to say what’s on my mind. I’m going to have that difficult conversation because I need to set my own boundaries. I need to be true to myself.” That leads to “Easy later.” Now you feel: “Now it’s clear, it’s clear what my boundaries are, it’s clear what I’m willing to accept and not accept.” Do you see?

So, for this week, I would say put a rubber band on your wrist and snap the band. It’s not to hurt you, but to remind you when you find yourself opting for the “easy now.” I would say go for the “hard now,” which leads to the “easy later.” And I’ll just give you one analogy, you know I love analogies. So, I may have shared this in the past but it’s just so clear. Let’s say you have a messy room, messy garage, and there it is. You just avoid it at all costs. Who wants to be in there? It’s a big ol’ mess and you think it’s not vying for your attention. Oh, but it is. You avoid it all you can. But then, think about it. That’s the “easy now.” And then there’s the one day where you say: “You know what? That’s it, I’m going in.” Think about what happens. You roll your sleeves up, you grab your garbage bags and you’re like: “Ok, here we go.”

And actually, if you think about it, in the beginning, it’s worse. It’s worse because things were all over the place. You go: “I’m going to donate that, toss that, fix that.” And then you put everything back, that’s left. And you stand back and look at how great it looks! You want to call everybody over and say:  “Look in my garage!” You’re so proud of it. That was the “hard now” leading to the “easy later.” Think about it, you have this sense of pride and empowerment that you couldn’t have had unless you dove in and did the work. Now because you dove in and did the work, you feel good, that’s the “easy later.”

So again it’s: “Hard now, easy later. Easy now, hard later. Take your pick. It’s going to be one of those two.” And I would love to hear from you to see. Did you notice you were opting for more of the “easy now”? And has it been leaving you with “hard later”? Or, have you chosen something that could potentially be “hard now,” leading to the “easy later”? I would love to hear from you to find out how that goes for you.

If you are enjoying this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review. Tell your friends, tell everybody you know, And my book: Trust Again: Overcoming Betrayal and Regaining Health, Confidence and Happiness is available if you want to give it a try. You can download your free chapter here.

Thanks so much, I’ll see you next time. Bye.


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205: Escaping Emotional Abuse w/ Beverly Engel