When is Pain Worth it?
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I had this awesome title decided on for today’s post and thought, “Why on earth, I AM writing about pain after all” – point being we all have likely experienced pain, on some level over our lives. Unless you’re a masochist then you’re likely no fan of pain and have found some way to cope with it.
As I shared at the beginning of the year one of the goals in our home was to become healthier. A bit of a nebulous goal, I know, but it essentially comes down to losing weight and getting in better shape. While it can be debatable about whether or not losing weight and getting in shape is painful it no doubt is causing lifestyle changes that I never thought I’d see myself make (which turned out great in the end as I lost 100 pounds on Nutrisystem!)
Case in point…I’ve always HATED yogurt with a passion. I don’t know what it was about it, but I always threw up a little bit in my mouth at the mere thought of it. Well, after some serious changes to how we’re eating over the past two or so months I find that I actually WANT yogurt. You’d think it was a Snickers bar with how much I’ve been looking forward to it most days, lol. The point being, what I thought would be painful, in the long run hasn’t really been painful at all. What it has required though is a change in my long-term priorities and shift in thinking. There are certainly other things in life that can be thought of in a similar way:
- Childbirth…or so I’m told 😉
- Job change – while it may be painful at first, it could set you up for a better financial future
- Exercise – tying back to the beginning is painful at first, but it’s a “good” pain, right?! 🙂
How does pain relate to money? Quite a bit actually…
Pain is Good When it Comes to Money
We live in a society, which preaches to us that it’s only natural to give in to our desires and buy whatever the heck we want. Essentially, we’re told that we can keep up with the Joneses and to heck with the cost of doing so. As someone who works in marketing, my wife and I see this all. the. time.
One problem (amongst many) with this thinking is that it gives little thought to the future. It puts emphasis on the current (and the brief pleasure that comes from it) with no thought to what will be needed in the months and years down the road.
So, this creates a situation which forces you to choose between short term pain now that hopefully leads to a profitable and better future or living like Scrooge McDuck now only to be in debt up to your eyeballs and having to work until you drop dead. As there are fillers in food that while they taste good, provide no nutritional value and can be harmful in excess, there are financial “fillers” that may fill a certain desire, but in excess can become a drag on the budget.
This is not to mean that we should all become financial martyrs, denying ourselves any want that comes up. Rather, we should train ourselves to achieve balance. No one is perfect, so it does take training, but the payoff is well worth it as long as you keep that long term view in mind.
The moral of the story today…instead of reaching for that “filler” or quick fix of something like junk food to fill your stomach reach for that piece of fruit, veggie or gasp (in my case at least 😉 ) yogurt and think how you can do the same with your money so it can be around when you’re older…thanks to a healthier lifestyle. 🙂
What is your financial junk food? What tricks do you use to keep your eyes on the prize as opposed to going for the quick “fix”?
Photo courtesy of: Bridget Mahan
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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