Most decisions come down to two factors… time and money. Do we have the time? And do we have enough money? These two factors are heavily weighted when it comes to health care choices.
When a new patient comes into our office, our first step is to find out what is causing their problem. Once we figure that out, the next step is to determine if we can help correct that problem. If the problem is beyond our scope of practice, we refer them to the best, most appropriate person or facility that can address their problem. If we can help them, we lay out a plan of care and get started right away.
The reason we lay out a plan is because it helps patients understand the course of care required to correct their problem. The two things most people want to know are how long will it take, and how much will it cost. For some, time is a big factor. Depending on how far away they live from the office and their work schedule, we have to make sure that they can get to the office and keep their appointments. For others, cost might be the bigger factor.
The truth is, any and all health-building endeavors take time and money. If one does not commit to putting in the time, full, long-term, corrective changes simply cannot be made. And although our current healthcare system continues to push the idea that health comes in a pill, a shot, a cream, or a gel, the healing, growth, and health optimization strategies that have the biggest impact require time.
The second factor, cost, is what I want to discuss here. Obviously, almost every health care initiative, product, or service costs money. When confronted with the cost of health-boosting goods and services, you might be inclined to think you can’t afford it. The trick is to differentiate between a “can’t” and “won’t.” Obviously, there are many people who cannot afford what they want or need to get healthy. But most people fail to prioritize their money, giving the illusion that they can’t afford particular health interventions. They may continue to go out to restaurants, go to concerts, buy new clothing, or make purchases that are above their means.
I’ve watched patients understand the magnitude of their health problem, commit to doing what is necessary to get well, reorganize their spending, and ensure that they allocate the money necessary to get what they need. At first glance, it appeared that they could not afford a product or service, but it was merely a matter of recognizing the bigness of the need and sacrificing non-essential wants to free up the money for the greater need.
I want to encourage you to allocate money for the most important asset you have… your health. We commit so much of our money to our homes, cars, clothes, and other luxuries. We forget that these are all replaceable, while our bodies are not. We often even understand the idea that spending money on our homes and vehicles can help prevent more catastrophic issues down the road. This is why we get oil changes, rotate out tires, have our gutters cleaned out, and change air filters. We invest the time and money because we know in the long run, our homes and cars will perform better, for longer. Yet, when it comes to our bodies and health, we dismiss the maintenance and prevention, putting off the life enhancing, life extending, and even life saving measures we so desperately need.
The next time you are faced with a choice that involves being proactive with your health and catch yourself saying that you can’t afford it, think about how you could rearrange your spending to make it work. And if you still think you can’t afford it, take a moment to realize that you can’t afford not to do it.