The 40-year-old actor covers the March issue of Men's Health and reveals how his views on life have changed since the September car accident that left him with three spine fractures. Those injuries, his doctor told him, would have left him paralyzed if they had been a quarter of a centimeter in one direction.
"I’m not trying to get back to where I was before -- I want to be better than before," he says. "It’s a resurrection. That’s the best way for me to put it. I feel like the other version of myself died in that moment and this new version was born to understand and to do better. Sometimes you’re not going to get it when you’re supposed to get it. But when it comes and that light bulb goes off, holy f**k."
For Hart, that realization put everything in focus.
"It all boiled down to four walls. And in the space of those four walls was my wife and my brother, my kids and my friends, all on rotation," he says of his wife, Eniko, and his kids, Heaven, 14, Hendrix, 12, and Kenzo, 2. "And I got a chance to think about what matters, and it’s not fame. It’s not money. It’s not jewelry, cars, or watches. What matters are relationships. You know, the people that were helping me get up and out of the bed."
After someone told Hart, "You can't be married to your career and date your family," it made him adjust where he put his focus and how he spent his time.
"I’m addicted to the f**king work. I’d much rather that be my addiction than be strung out on crack, but now I have to struggle to find balance," he says. "That hustle is not going anywhere, but I want it suppressed and balanced so I can put the same kind of energy into my family."
"I’m on the road to becoming the best version of myself. And I thought I was on the right road, but something happened. F**k, I see now that I need to make a U-turn and go two blocks, then make a left," Hart adds. "That’s the road I’m supposed to be on. So I still have many of the same goals, but now I’m just going down a different road to get there."
Part of that road involves doing "a lot of little things" that he wasn't before.
"I’m sitting with the kids before and after dinner. We are doing taco Tuesdays, Mexican-food Thursdays, Chinese-food Sundays," he says. "We got movie night twice a week. Now I’m walking my f**king dog. I’m picking up dog s**t."
"I’m saying make sure you’re implementing the same amount of time and energy into being present for what matters," Hart adds. "Because when s**t hits the fan, you’re going to realize that the things that matter are all you truly care about. Nothing else f**king matters."
For Hart, a lot of his realizations and adjustments have been focused on taking responsibility for himself and his actions.
"In everything you do, you have an opportunity to make a right or a left or go straight or backward. I’m trying to make people understand that we’re in control of ourselves," he says. "It’s easy to assume other people have control or to give other people that control, but it boils down to you figuring out the way to be the best version of yourself."
In addition to more time with his family, Hart is working to get better physically, through daily workouts and physical therapy sessions.
"This road to my fitness matches my mindful progression. It matches my career and my approach to everything," he says. "I’m glad that it’s coming now. I’m getting older. I’m 40. You know, this is when I’m supposed to be realizing this s**t."
Hart counts the hardest part of his physical recovery as "slowing down and being patient," two things he had to put into practice immediately following the crash.
"I felt so hopeless not being able to do something that once was so easy," he says of initially being unable to put on his socks. "I’m telling Dr. Pat and Boss that I want to do two-a-days at the gym. And they’re like, 'Sit your stupid a** down and be patient. You gotta heal.' I get that now."