Military service members, veterans, and their families are celebrated for their commitment to service of our nation and the sacrifices that come along with that commitment. The sentiment “thank you for your service” Is synonymous with “thank you for your sacrifice”. During our time of service we likely grew into warriors but we did so at the risk of not being mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers to the families that we left behind. And while some people sacrificed time with their loved ones others sacrificed everything.
No one gets anywhere without sacrifice. The very nature of time, energy and attention is that where we direct it will likely grow and see progress. As a result of turning our resources toward something it naturally must come away from something else.
In the civilian world the stakes are often lower. It’s not life or death though it may feel that way. Perhaps the best any one of us can hope for is to align our limited resources of time, energy and attention to the things we value most. Thus allowing the sacrifices to be in areas that we value less.
Where this becomes a problem in my humble opinion is when the thing we sacrifice is our health for health is the very thing that we draw our energy to serve from. Lose it and we have nothing to give.
What are you sacrificing? If your answer is nothing either you’ve either fooled yourself; justify the sacrifice; or are simply unaware. Which one is it?
Fool yourself and you will likely say something like “my time, energy and resources are aligned perfectly with my values” or perhaps “this is an impossible riddle”.
Justify and the voice inside your head may tell you “the things you’re missing out on have no value to you”. If that’s true… that sounds lovely.
If you’re unaware I fear you may be settling for sacrifices that may not need to be made at a costly expense. Again if it comes in the way of your health I worry that you are under cutting the very source of energy that could provide for you and your loved ones. Killing the fabled goose that lays the golden eggs.
Health is a precious commodity and is available to us all for a limited time. We may test it and push it lower on the priority list for only so long before we can not reclaim it.
I do not write this to pass judgment on you for how you live your life. Rather I write them as an amplifier of the voice of health and happiness that may loom in your subconscious. Check in with these voices. I hope they lead to sparks of curiosity and consideration in those who may not have sat with these questions.
I am by no means the standard bearer. In retrospect my own resources used to be 180 degrees from my values. Today after some realignment I’m on course and can now accept that my sacrifice has come in the way of earning more money. I have turned down opportunities to earn more so that I could remain flexible to be with my family and friends and to follow my heart‘s passion when the opportunities present themselves. My values are family, service to others health and personal freedom… in that order. I would sacrifice my life for my girls but everything else must fall in line behind them.
Do what you will with your time, energy, and resources but do so conscious of the sacrifices you make each day. I challenge you to ensure that your commitment of resources aligns with your values and that your sacrifices are not made needlessly. For evaluation of your own values and resources try the viacharacter.org survey. It will take you about 15 minutes but may save you years of needless sacrifice. For help aligning your actions contact me at .
Garrett Stangel, MA,
ACSM EP-C, ACE CMES/HC
Health, Performance and Lifestyle Coach
Balance Fitness / 9 Round Fitness