Is It Important to Set Short and Long-Term Goals?
Last updated: December 2020
So, why in my current position is this more poignant? I've just come through what was one of the toughest 6 months of my life. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally I have stretched myself beyond expectations. I'm still not out of the woods, but in that period after treatment waiting for my next biopsy to establish if my cancer is non-active.
Life before cancer made pretty good sense to me. I didn't really look any deeper than the position I created for myself amongst family, friends, work colleagues and the general public. Whilst growing up I prided myself on being a free spirit and determined not to be held back by societies constraints and conform to the status quo, which to me was job, marriage, house, kids, death. I was very spirited when young and also very naive as years down the line my life became exactly what I planned to rebel against.
Whilst this is a common encounter for many people I've been given an opportunity to re-evaluate my current existence. We all know that time is precious, but we meander along getting caught up in life's agendas and can lose sight of what’s important to self. I’m relatively young at 50 and have a wife, children and grandchildren, so compromise comes without question. However, I was sent a reminder with my diagnosis, warning me that time to create, achieve and fulfill dreams is not a given. So, I've took to setting personal goals.
Is setting personal goals important or a selfish act?
My dilemma with this question is that my journey through this illness effects not just me but my family and friends. They have suffered along with me, maybe not physically, but mentally and emotionally and at no point during my cancer journey have they isolated me.
My wife and children have had to make sacrifices over the last 6 months for no other reason than to look after my best interest. I couldn't have got through this period in my life without them, but yet here I am looking at setting goals that are personal to me, that doesn't involve my family or friends.
Is this not a selfish act? I am completely convinced however that keeping my mind strong by having positive things to look forward to, that are important to me, is integral to my recovery. So, I plan to go ahead with my personal goal setting and hope that this will have minimal impact on those closest to me and where possible involve them if I'm able.
How do I benefit from setting goals?
My goals being set are all relevant to the state of my health. In between treatments I made it a personal goal to always have something to do or someone to see. It was always easier to put off doing anything when in treatment. The pain or the tiredness was a great reason not to do anything but sit in front of the TV allowing the world to pass me by.
I took to setting simple goals when I was able to function properly, like doing the garden, going to the gym or a bike ride. Making time to visit friends or taking in a show or a meal. These simple activities allowed me to feel like I was still a part of society and not victimized or a slave to the illness. In truth it just made me feel normal again.
For the future I've set myself two huge personal goals, which is giving me the opportunity to plan ahead in order to complete the challenges I have set for myself. This is bucket list stuff, but the excitement that fills my heart when looking forward to doing this leaves me in no doubt that I will get through this. The way I see it I have two options. I can either plan for my death 'BORING', or plan to live and fulfill some of my life dreams. I think in this instance I will opt for the latter of the two options.
Has cancer impacted your mood during the holidays?