Anything Worth Doing is Difficult and Requires Sacrifice

by Kevin on May 28, 2009

I’m slowly starting to dig myself out of the funk I’m in. Sacrificing is hard and although I’m a big proponent of it, man, it can be tough sometimes.

I’m inspired to continue putting one foot in front of the other for several reasons:

  • my wife is totally on board with our budget and our plan — whenever I falter, she is there to prop me up, encourage me, and remind me of why we are sacrificing
  • it’s the smart financial thing to do — we all have our moments of weakness. This past week I had one myself. A big moment, but luckily it didn’t cost me any money. I’m getting my head back in the right place and we’re pressing on.

If It’s Worth Doing…

  • getting out of debt
  • running a marathon
  • blogging full-time
  • paying off a home mortgage
  • starting a business
  • investing for the future
  • fixing up a house

…It Isn’t Going to Be Easy

  • cutting back on expenses, not going out with friends, missing out on events
  • training for months full of sweat, burning muscles, cramps, and tears
  • months of hard work at night and on the weekends, mixed with a lot of luck
  • focusing on a specific debt, cutting back to accelerate how quickly it is paid off
  • having an idea, having start-up capital, dealing with the frustrations and failures, staying dedicated
  • setting aside things you could do today (big screen TV, vacations) for a solid retirement
  • tools, trips to Home Depot, sweat, cuts, living in an incomplete space

Sacrifice Sucks

Let’s be honest. Sacrificing today for tomorrow isn’t usually fun. I’ve struggled to get on an exercise plan. I’ve been trying for months. I just don’t want to do it.

But the alternative is dire — living unhealthy today will lead to massive and expensive health problems in the future. I really need to get on that.

Financial goals are the same way. Yea, I wish we could go on three, week-long vacations per year. But that would be sacrificing our future, our kids education, and our ability to pay off the house. That’s sacrifice done wrong.

So if you’re struggling with sacrifice today feel comforted. I’ve been right there with you all week. Go find your goal list and go over it again. Remind yourself of why you are doing the things you’re doing.

And keep at it.

{ 2 trackbacks }

The Strump
May 31, 2009 at 3:00 am
Personal Finance and the NYC Marathon
November 6, 2009 at 6:56 am


Roger May 28, 2009 at 8:55 am

A nice reminder of the importance of sacrifice in meeting our financial goals. I’m glad you got past your moment of weakness without doing something you will come to regret. I’m sure we all have moments where we lose sight of our goals and the long term consequences of our actions, and want to spend frivolously.

CLB May 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

I tend not to think of it as sacrificing – that term makes me realize that I am missing out on something. Instead, I remind myself that everything is a choice… Big screen tv or child’s education? Save for a 3 week vacation now or early retirement? I know that I will choose my long term goals 99% of the time and those few times that I opt for short term gratification make it possible for me to stay the course for the long term. It’s when I try to pretend the short term can be obtained at no cost to the long term that I run into problems.

Do You Dave Ramsey? May 28, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hang tough Kevin. You’re on the right path. Keep up the good work.


Lucy May 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

You said it, sacrifices DO suck. I miss going out with my friends every weekend and my husband taking me out to dinner. Eating home cooked meals just are not the same–especially since I just recently learned how to cook! I think I may have accidentally served my family undercooked poultry and beef one too many times in the past few months. However, in the long run it will pay off when I can finally say I am debt free.

Corporate Barbarian May 28, 2009 at 10:50 am

Don’t call it sacrifice – call it sticking to a plan. Break your goals down into small, manageable units that you can complete, and then check them off as completed tasks. It’s good to see some progress, and writing it down keeps you motivated to keep accomplishing more. You’re doing a good job with #3, by the way.

Kelly May 28, 2009 at 10:58 am

I understand how you feel. It can be tough sometimes.
But getting through this tough spot will only make your resolve stronger, and soon you won’t feel like you are sacrificing anything, it’ll just be a way of life.

I tend to cut back too far, so I’m working on finding balance.

Karyn May 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Sometimes it helps to remember that giving up stuff allows for other things to enter your life. We cut back on a lot of kid activities and I was feeling guilty. But the other day, my son came inside and described all of the beautiful things he explored and observed. We didn’t have time for such “nature study” when we were running around from soccer to art class to karate.
It might also help you to remember how much you are helping all of us with your example.

TStrump May 28, 2009 at 11:06 pm

That’s why most people are broke – they can’t sacrifice and won’t give up some of toys they’re used to having.
There’s so much temptation, though, and I have to admit, I sometimes fall off the wagon, but I’m sticking to my plan too!

hustler May 29, 2009 at 1:36 am

I’d say the sacrifices are what make the milestones so rewarding. When you think of all the hard work you put in to get where you are, it’s a very good feeling.

Denise May 29, 2009 at 4:33 am

Two thoughts on your post: maybe you need to step up the “fun” quota in your life and the word “sacrifice” could be replaced by the word “choice”. For fun, maybe you could find fun, frugal things to do with yourself, your wife and with your friends. I think that this is really important, to socialize with others that share your lifestyle goals or at least will support you. When I feel deprived, I remember that I chose to do this and then I remember to spend my allotment of “mad money”.Good luck to you.

Steve May 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Short-term pain = Long Term Gain
Short-term ease = Long Term Pain

Short-term perspective= Poverty
Long-term perspective = Increased Chance at Wealth

Thanks for the great post! I’m running my first 5K June 6, 2009, and working my way up to a marathon in the next year 🙂 And, in the process, will work on my No Debt Plan 🙂

Kevin June 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for all of the great comments on this post, readers!

@Roger: Yea. Every now and again your heart… or wallet… strings get tugged on. Can really be hard to get by.

@CLB: Great point! Success is sticking to the plan. It’s all in your head!

@DYDR: Thanks man.

@Lucy: You know being debt free is such a unique thing in society. Imagine all the things you and I and everyone reading this can do once we are debt free.

@Corporate Barbarian: You make a similar point to CLB. Good point with the breaking down to little chunks, too.

@Kelly: Balance is so hard. Why? Why? Why?! 😀

@Karyn: Still waiting for that “ah-ha!” moment to hit us. Of course we don’t have kids. I suppose our dog can “tell” us somehow!

@TStrump: It is unique. Most of our society is going the opposite direction.

@hustler: I’m still looking forward to that moment of looking back (from our bajillion dollar lake/beach house). 🙂

@Denise: Yea, we try to get together with folks fairly often. Still isn’t easy!

@Steve: Well put. I like it. 🙂

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