New Year’s Resolutions: How I Set Goals as a Cancer Survivor

Cancer & Caregiving

I know you have heard this phrase a thousand times: “New year, new me.” It’s turning into such a cliche, in my opinion.

I’m a peritoneal mesothelioma survivor. When my doctor told me I was cancer free, that’s when I thought, “Wow, this is the new me, I’m cancer free!” You really have a new perspective on life in general, on your overall health and reaching your goals.

When you’re first told you have cancer it is such a scary thing. So many thoughts are running through your mind. Going through treatments, surgeries, taking different types of medication – it’s an ordeal. So making it another year is a huge blessing.

Turn Those Resolutions into Goals

Before I even knew I had mesothelioma, I would come up with different slogans and think of things that I needed to do to create the “new me,” such as loosing weight, eating healthier, exercising more – you get my drift, right?

Being a mesothelioma survivor has made me change the way I look at New Year’s resolutions. Each year around December I look back at how far I’ve come, look toward the future and set my goals accordingly.

I am also not as hard on myself because I’ve come such a long way.

Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma just after giving birth, and the same year I had major surgery. I’m grateful to be alive.

So now I don’t look at them as resolutions, but goals – something you want to do that will get you further than where you are now.

Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be something huge. Start small and build your way up.

Goals Are Important for Cancer Survivors

As a survivor, goal setting is important to me. When I was going through my cancer journey I would create different goals as milestones. Surgery was a milestone, being able to walk a couple of steps after surgery was a milestone, coming home from the hospital was a milestone.

There’s a saying that says, “It’s the little things that make the biggest impact.” This is so true because things such as walking a couple of steps may seem small, but they add up.

Here are some tips that I came up with to help you set your goals:

  • Know that the small things will add up to something big.
  • Give yourself grace. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t meet your deadline.
  • Make sure it aligns with your plan and where you’re trying to go.
  • Don’t jump on the bandwagon. So many people fall into the trap of following behind others when it comes to resolutions. If you don’t need to lose weight, why make that a goal?
  • Consistency is key. Remember when you were consistently going to your treatments, doctor appointments and taking medication? Keep that rhythm when it comes to your goals.
  • Don’t overthink it. When you overthink things it causes so much unnecessary stress. And we don’t need that, do we?

So, as we embark on this new year, let’s just pause and take on the spirit of gratitude because we have all made it this far.

Set your goals for the year and take it one step at a time and one day at a time. You will eventually get there.

Happy New Year!

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