Long-Term Pain for Short-Term Gain

My workouts suck. They’re hard as hell. Sometimes they only last a few minutes. They scare me.

My wife knows the days when I haven’t had time to do my workout before we both get home in the evening. She can tell because I’m scared, nervous, and jittery.

Last night my workout took me only about eight minutes, but today my bones are aching.

I’ve written about my exercises before.

After running my first half marathon last September, I took a few months off from my daily fitness routine that I had been following for over a year. I think I gained about 10 pounds during my winter hibernation.

Within just over two months, I’ve been able to get back down to my pre-marathon weight and fitness level. I’m stronger and in better shape than ever before.

Accomplishing that was easy in one sense, but hard in another. There was an extreme amount of short-term pain associated with getting back into shape.

Short-term pain means actually starting my workouts and pushing myself.

It means skipping pizza, burgers, and beer on Friday nights.

It means bringing a healthy lunch to the office instead of eating out.

It’s short-term pain, but the gains in my health and general well-being are long-term.

But what about long-term pain for short-term gain?

This is the equivalent of slugging it out in a situation you’re not happy with in hopes of one day experiencing short-term gain. The relationship has been bad for years, but it’ll get better one day if I just stick it out, right? The boss treats you like crap and criticizes the work you do, but one day she’ll be nice and realize how important you are to the organization, right? Right???

If you’re dreadfully miserable in your work or your day-to-day duties, but the pay is good and you’ve been promised that by accepting the pain now, your life will get better later, was it really worth it?

I’d much rather experience some short-term pain now.

The short-term pain associated with taking risks and chances is hard because it’s scary. Of course, over the long run, a little bit of pain might actually be worth it.

I believe that we’ve been fooled into believing we’re actually engaged in short-term pain for long-term gain. We’ve been fooled into believing we have to slug it out because in the end, the good years are the long-term, worry-free retirement years awaiting us at the end of our careers.

Suck it up. Don’t ask questions. Work hard. Aim for retirement.

That’s all fine and dandy, if you’re lucky enough to maintain both your mental and physical health into those later years.

Spend a few minutes this weekend thinking about your situation and what cycle you’re in.

Think long term….even if it hurts like hell.