A little over a year ago my mom had major back surgery. Over the years her spine had become so twisted that it was squishing her internal organs in a way that was extremely uncomfortable, and would only get worse. Titanium rods were attached to her spine using large screws in hopes that it would force her spine to be straightened, improve her posture, and resolve some breathing and pain issues she had been dealing with for years. She is in her mid to late 60’s and the doctors advised that if she was going to have surgery the time was now, as she is in good heath and had a good chance of fully recovering. After much deliberation, as well as talking to other patients (names and numbers given by permission by the hospital) who had gone through the same procedure, she decided to proceed.
Since returning home from surgery, she has done everything the doctors have told her to do. Walking, specific exercises and stretching have become a part of her daily routine. She does have some back pain, which the doctors say may eventually subside, or she may have it for the rest of her life. But, the surgery has been a resounding success, as my mom can now breathe freely again, and does not have all the difficulties associated with a twisted and curved spine.
Recently she decided to call one of the patients she had talked to prior to surgery to see how she was doing. This particular patient had recommended my mother do the procedure, as at the time she was doing spectacular. The story has changed, unfortunately. The former patient was now in a lot of pain, and was in fact waiting for a call from her doctor for a new pain medication when my mother called. She told my mom that she was in constant pain, but wasn’t all that surprised because she hadn’t been doing her stretching and exercises as the doctors have indicated she needs to do every day. She went on to tell my mom that she’d love to garden again, but she’ll likely have to give that up forever.
Think about that for a moment, she would rather give up her dream of gardening than put in the effort to do the things that would allow her to do so.
This revelation stunned me, until I realized I handled my finances in the exact same way for years. I knew that to get out of debt I would have to communicate with my wife about finances and reduce our spending. But for a long time I gave up on making our lives better for the long run. I wasn’t willing to put in the effort because I viewed it as just too hard.
Not until we were forced did we do anything about our debt.
If you think about it, we are all in the exact kind of situation in countless areas of our lives. Do you want to get in shape and lose weight? Do you want to get out of debt, or save for the future? Do you want to learn another language, get a better job, or be a better parent? They take one simple thing: Effort.
The woman my mother talked to, at least for the moment, would rather give up her dream than put in the effort. I thought that sounded ridiculous. But if you listen to the excuses we make every day for not accomplishing our goals and dreams, they probably sound just as ridiculous.
What are you sacrificing right now because you’re not willing to put in the effort? What are you going to do about it?