I have found that most of us do not want to do the hard work. We are impatient and want instant gratification. We want the quick fix and as soon as our symptoms of distress are alleviated, we regress right back to what we were previously doing…despite evidence to the contrary, despite knowing what got us in over our head in the first place.
Take some examples:
How many of you take your antibiotic prescription AS PRESCRIBED for the entirety of the recommended prescription? A lot of people quit taking it about 75% of the way through the recommended course. A large percentage of these people also get mad when their symptoms return (with vengeance) and they need another doctor appointment and stronger medications the second time around. Furthermore, not taking antibiotics as prescribed is one of the top 5 causes of the antibiotic resistance we are seeing in the medical field.
How many of you like commercial breaks? I remember when commercials would come on network TV during childhood (before DVR!!!) and it was NO.BIG.DEAL. Yet now…how infuriating are the 30 second ads on Youtube or Hulu! We can’t handle having to wait. Fun fact: a study by Nielson found that 45% of DVR recorded commercials are still watched.
How many of you would say you were a good driver when you started out? Always vowing to fill the car with gas when it hit ¼ of a tank, always wearing your seatbelt, never texting when driving, always abiding by the speed limit? And on how many of those things have you slid back from? According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of deaths from distracted driving has been steadily increasing, up to over 3400 in 2015.
How many of us have a “bedtime”, a “diet plan”, a “workout routine” …and how many of us keep them? The amount American’s spend on dieting each year continues to rise, up to $65 Billion in 2010 and 90-95% of dieters regain all of their weight. We reach for and pay for a marketed quick fix and (shocker) it doesn’t actually work, we never change our core habits related to our physical health and thus end up on a viscous cycle. If you actually want physical health, you have to live a physically healthy lifestyle every day.
As a culture, we have grown pretty lazy and entitled! We want all the results without the hard work! We want what we want, when we want it! Part of real therapy (the kind where you truly get better) is a willingness to do the hard work and a willingness to hear the hard stuff from your therapist without heading for the door. I am asking your, begging you rather, to do some self-exploration on this topic. Are you willing to delay gratification and learn to tolerate being uncomfortable for the betterment of your future?
GOALS THAT ARE WORTH REACHING TAKE WORK. HARD WORK.