Sacrifice is a tradeoff. It’s one thing for another. It may hurt more or less, but it’s the same process regardless. So at the surface level, is sacrifice truly necessary to achieve your goals?
But that’s not your real question.
Your real question runs deeper. What you actually want to know is if you need to give up who you are in exchange for the person you want to be.
Don’t trust the movies
You watch the movies about Wall Street and see them abandon their families, their integrity, their creativity in exchange for money. Maybe there’s some backstabbing involved. Maybe there’s a cliche about breaking a few eggs to make an omelet.
And you’re sitting there, watching the movie, wondering to yourself what eggs you will need to break in order to get to where you want to go.
Well, I have good news for you.
You can leave the eggs in the fridge where they belong. There will be no omelet making today.
The harder the goal, the larger the sacrifice
Yes, whatever goal you set will require some degree of sacrifice. But it’s generally gradual and it’s generally for the better. It doesn’t require you to tarnish your dignity or destroy the person you are today.
Not to mention, you can always reverse course if the sacrifice begins to loom too large.
There is no point of no return. You can always turn the ship around.
But do know this – whatever goal you aspire to, it will require some form of sacrifice. You will need to give up one thing in exchange for another.
From cals to carbs
A few months ago, I completely changed the way I eat. I went from calorie-restriction with a couple of cheat days each week, to carbohydrate-restriction with no cheat days.
For me, that’s a serious exchange. A big sacrifice.
Because I’ll tell you what, I like my sweets. I also like my breads. And I really love my sweet breads (ie. pancakes and donuts).
That said, carb-restriction hasn’t been much of an issue for me most days. I actually like the food much more than when I was calorie-counting. But I do miss the cheat days. Especially right now as the holidays near and the ovens are warm with freshly baked cookies.
When it’s worth the sacrifice
I’ll be honest… it’s tough right now. It’s a very real sacrifice. I’m giving up the foods that taste good in exchange for a healthy body that feels (and looks) good. It’s a tradeoff. But it’s worth it.
At least for this moment in time.
Now, I’ll surely break from the carb-restriction for a couple days to enjoy the treats that are only found once a year. But other than that, it’s back to the sweet-free life. It’s my choice though and the sacrifice is worth the upside. So I’m ok with it.
And that’s the expectation you need to set for yourself as well.
They’re not all major sacrifices
Whatever goal you desire, some form of sacrifice will be necessary. It may not be large, but it will be nonetheless. For example, one of my goals is to complete two books a month (either physical or audiobook).
In exchange for this goal, I’ve sacrificed:
- Listening to music in the car in lieu of an audiobook
- Watching TV at night to instead read a physical book
But, these were things I didn’t care about anyway. So, to sacrifice them in exchange for this goal that really excited me was simple.
There was a sacrifice, but it was minor.
Ease your way into sacrifice
Earlier I mentioned that sacrifice is gradual. Generally, that is the case. At least, that’s the way I recommend going about it. Because when setting difficult goals for yourself, it’s much easier to stick with them when you move with ease.
For example, if I elected to go carb-restricted seven days a week right from the beginning, I wouldn’t have lasted. The initial sacrifice would have been too great.
So instead, I eased into it.
As I mentioned, I’ve been doing this for a few months now. In the first month, I made it really easy for myself. In the second month, I made it harder, but still manageable. Now in this third month, it’s at a more difficult level.
But I’m not concerned about quitting because I’ve had plenty of time to work my way into it.
How to prepare for the inevitable sacrifice
I also mentioned that sacrifice is generally for the better.
Let’s look at my reading goal again, for instance. I gave up mindless TV in exchange for reading books with vast learning opportunities. I gave up listening to music in the car, which was generally boring and made me antsy, for audiobooks that captured my interest and made driving more enjoyable.
My life has improved because of what I’ve sacrificed.
Often is the case that change is tough, but so long as you are deliberate about the:
- Expectations you set for yourself,
- Understanding of what you’re giving up (and what you’ll get),
- Plans for making your goal a reality,
- And actions you’ll take in that respect,
The tradeoff will be worth it.
No sacrifice is permanent (if you don’t want it to be)
And if by some means the sacrifice isn’t worth it, you can always turn things around.
If my carb-restriction started to damage my mental or physical health, the sacrifice wouldn’t be worth it. In that case, I could easily stop and resume what I was eating prior. Or if listening to audiobooks made me feel like I was having too much fun on my boring drives, I could simply end the goal and return back to the dullness.
You have more flexibility than you think. Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean you need to stick with it if it’s making you miserable. Change it, get rid of it, ease into it. You have options. Always.
Will attaining goal success require sacrifice? Yes. It’s worth it though.
Have some cookies for me.