Something To Look Forward To

There was a time when, at the start of every month, I would set a list of goals to accomplish over the course of the following 30 days. As a personal trainer, I know how important it is to establish things you want to finish, write them down, and then work hard at following them through.

But then my life went to shit.

Somewhere between shattering my arm and getting cancer, the idea of making nifty little goals every month seemed like too much of an extra burden. Some days are hard enough to get through without the additional demands we put on ourselves, so I stopped making these somewhat trivial goals. “It’s okay if I didn’t read more books this month, today I just want to survive.”

With that said, I do think goals have their place. Without them, I probably wouldn’t strive to do better in my every day life. I would coast along comfortably and not challenge myself. If life is all about living, why not set out to actually do some things?

After yesterday’s depressing blog post, I realized that in order to see myself through to the end of this cancer ordeal, I have to actually look into the future. I know it’s important to be present, but the ability to even think about a future is a luxury I think many of us often forget.

It’s hard to set “micro” goals when I honestly can’t predict what kind of physical and mental shape I’ll be in tomorrow. But I think it is very much within my scope of reason to set “macro” goals for myself. In other words, things I would like to do over the next year while I receive treatment and enter remission. It will be something to work on, something to look forward to as I go through the motions of getting better. Now is a good time to think about it too, as we put the lazy days of summer behind us and enter the fall months.

1. Write an outline for a book.

This is hard, because as much as I love to write, you can’t write without a stellar idea. This is something I need to chip away at rather than just waiting for it to smack me over the head.

2. Travel somewhere in North America.

I can’t fly until I’m done treatment, but as soon as I’m in remission I’m cashing in my flight credits and hopping on a flight somewhere.

3. Bake croissants and bagels.

I’m already scared.

4. Get a dog.

Permitting everything falls into place!

5. Run.

Preferably without a huge cancerous mass in my chest. That would be awesome. I can jog while on treatment, but not safely until the mass shrinks around my heart.

So there ya go, five things to look forward to, not to mention a mini-adventure I am taking with my mom today. But that is a post for another day…

What are your “macro goals” for the next year? They have to be fun!

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Posted on August 24, 2011, in Goals. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. north america?! no way, come over here, we’ll go to scotland!

    • My flight credits are for an American trip with an American airline! Scotland is my first international trip though. My mom and sisters and I have been talking about it forever.

  2. greensandjeans

    How about a road trip to Philadelphia? Or maybe I just meet you in Nova Scotia for some one armed biking?

    • I would be up for a road trip! To Maine even? It will have to be on a unicycle though – my lymph node surgery has left me gimpy in both arms now

  3. I’ll outline your book if you train me. Superdeal.

  4. Now the important question is with respect to the bagels: New York or Montreal style?? (I’m obviously biased toward the latter)

  5. I’ve been reading you lately, found via Fitnessista :)
    I think in this situation, you are absolutely allowed to have depressing days.

    I also think your list of goals are awesome.

  6. I would prefer that you combine the bake croissants and bagels and the fly somewhere goals into one goal and bring me these homemade goods :P

  7. These are great, achievable goals!! Hmm…one of my fitness goals is to learn to swim. I know, I really should know how, but I don’t. Another one? Travel abroad. I’ve only traveled in the US, Canada, the islands. Must branch out! Glad you are feeling a little better today. ((hugs))

  8. you are more than welcome to come to Brazil! =)

  9. I love your macro goals – and it’s encouraged me to think about mine and WRITE THEM DOWN. I’d say without giving too much thought would be: 1) lose 50 pounds by eating healthier and working out regularly, 2) travel somewhere fun next summer (Glacier National or Maine are my two favorites now), and 3) learn how to swim – like really swim (one problem is I wear glasses so seeing anything with goggles on is out of the question (I’m so blind)….so I have to work around that. Somehow.

  10. New York, New York!

    best time to visit….in winter!Seriously!!

    You can see a Broadway show or a concert,wander around the
    fab city leisurely and a foodie’s heaven!

  11. I’ve thought this since day one when you started to write about your cancer diagnosis…Turn your blog posts regarding your treatment and recovery into a book. It’s really compelling and I think it would help a lot of people!

  12. all great goals :)

    i want to make bagels, too! they totally scare me.

    if you ever want to come to Virginia, you’re more than welcome!

  13. Great goals – I made bagels recently, they were a little smaller than I liked but tasted great!! homemade croissants would be incredible too. Plus getting a dog – yay!

  14. I love this list. Making goals always cheers me up. I always need to have something to look forward to. My list?

    1. Get a job that I love.
    2. Finish the New Rules of Lifting for Women program.
    3. Save up $$$ for Ireland and go to Ireland!

    I want to try to make bagels/pretzels too! But they’d have to be gluten-free!

    • I did New Rules of Lifting for Women too! About two years ago. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t quite get the “physique” I wanted from it, but it’s a solid base for weightlifting. From there I was able to get into more specific lifting that I couldn’t have done without NROL first.

    • Regarding goal #3: look me up before you go. My family is originally from Monaghan/Armagh (Republic/North so I’ve got it all covered!) and I’m heading back for a visit in a month (it’s my eighth visit in 31 years plus I lived there when I was 16 and 19). I love to talk about Ireland so if you have any questions, fire them off :)

      Slan go foill!

  15. I’m pretty sure after movies like Wrong Turn and The Wild Wonderful Whites of WV a Canadian would be crazy to want to visit my state! ;p However if you should choose to visit D.C. I’m overdue for a visit there myself! Then I could meet my goal of meeting an internet friend in person! lol!

  16. Yay for goals!!! I love the macro approach to goals myself. You will do all these things, Susan. I just know it. And I would SO read a book of yours no matter what it was about. :)

  17. come to new york! we’ll go running in central park once this is finished for the both of us! stay positive xxx

    • Wouldn’t that be fantastic?? I’m scared to make to many “remission goals” in case it takes longer to get there than planned. But the idea of it certainly puts a smile on my face :)

  18. Hi Susan, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and this is the first time I’ve commented. I love this post, for a number of reasons. First, I totally agree with your take on the difference between mirco and macro goals, and their varying importance in the grand scheme of life. Why get bogged down and stressed about the little things? Secondly, I applaud you for setting macro goals for yourself at this point in your life. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness six years ago. While it was not literally life threatening, it did threaten the carefree lifestyle I was leading. For a long time, I didn’t make any goals because I was so focused on recovering and dealing with the long-term implications of my illness. I’m glad to say I’ve moved past that now, but it was a long road – one which I wish I would have examined and tackled earlier. Anywhoo, just wanted to reach out and say that I think you’re great, and I’m going to continue reading and rooting for you, lady :)

    p.s. Making bagels really isn’t that hard! The trick is to boil them before you bake them.

  19. My three macro goals for the next year would be:
    - Find a job I actually enjoy.
    - Move to a new state (goes with #1!).
    - Suck it up (I’m cheap, don’t do a lot for myself) and buy myself something expensive (digital SLR probably – to allow myself to do something I’m passionate about).

  20. Yay for goals! Getting a pet is SO therapeutic. I’m so glad you have your dad’s pets around you during chemo–there is nothing more comforting than a cat purring next to you, or a dog keeping watch.

    My macro goals are to buy a house and get pregnant in the next year (preferably, next six months). Whoa.

  21. So while we’re all putting in our votes for your travel plans…San Diego is lovely all year round. And I have a dog you can jog with to your heart’s content! Justsayin’

  22. Your goals are awesome! I’m very much a goal oriented person, if I don’t have a goal, I have no motivation! GOOD LUCK!

  23. Fly out to California and I’ll drive up the coast with you! ;)

  24. I’ll buy your book…where do I sign up? ;)

  25. I think that seeing as how you were so goal-oriented before the C-word, setting goals now will make a huge difference in your mindset- good call! :) My goal for the next year is to be more fulfilled at work (in a big way- whatever that might mean) and to go somewhere warm to get out of the Chicago winter! I’m not ready!

  26. Oooh, great post

    In the next year I will
    1) learn to eat a pretty balanced diet without dieting/counting every calorie
    2) Run a half marathon
    3) Read more often than I watch bad tv

    And just saying… Alberta is a beautiful place to visit in the winter. (I’m a Calgary girl)

    • I went to Calgary, Banff, and Lake Louise last June and I would looooove to see it in the winter!! I’m not much of a downhill skier though, so I’d probably just stick to the lodge drinking beer ;)

  27. If you make bagels, I am there! ;-) Love your goals! Me, just keep going as I age & keep lifting weights!

  28. I can’t wait for you to get a dog! You are going to make a great mutt mom!

  29. For your book, just bind up all your blog posts and there you go.

    My macro goals for next year?

    - Disneyworld! We actually bought the plane tickets for late January :D

    - Sourdough bagels.

    - Repaving the driveway. That doesn’t sound fun, but it is a big present I want to get for us and will make me so happy!

  30. Love your macro goals.

    Can’t wait to read your book :)

    Croissants are not that hard. You can totally do it.

    YAY PUPPY!!! (Some day…)

    I just wrote a new macro goal for next year. My New York family officially extended an invite to their Cape Cod home and a friend just moved to Maine… Eastern Seaboard Road Trip!!

    PS. Regarding Scotland plans: did you know you can get to Belfast from Scotland in 3 hours or less by ferry? ;)

  31. Hmm Macro Goals
    1. Finish writing my book!
    2. Increase the size of my organic garden by 50%.
    3. Learn constantly to live a full day!

    My pick for your trip a swing thru NY for bagels a few days on the Maine coast and while you are there, looking out on the incredible coastline eating a Montreal style bagel, inspiration to outline that book!

  32. Hi Susan… I found out about you from Jayme at Runner-n-Spice… too late to participate in your auction, but I’ve been stalking your blog ever since. I appreciate your honestly and integrity in writing about your journey and your daily life, and I am very glad I found you. I definitely have something to learn from your optimism.

    In answer to your question, I think macro goal #1 is to find a good alternative to a 9-5 existence. I’m thinking that’s going to inform the rest of my goals.

    Have a wonderful day!

  33. I’m not sure what my goals will be… it is something I have been thinking of for sometime. Get writing… I love your style, and look forward to a book!

  34. May I suggest a trip to Seattle?! :) You can stay with us and get some free poodle love to boot!

  35. As soon as you get off chemo, you are going on vacation. You deserve it!

  36. I love all these things–but ESPECIALLY the dog one. Um, puppy blog posts?!?! Squeal!

  37. I kind of have a love/hate relationships with goals and to-do lists. While they keep me organized and focused on what’s important, sometimes I think what’s important is not looking too far into the future. Just take it day by day, sometimes even hour by hour. I know you understand what I’m saying.

    This list is excellent. The biggest reason is because it inspires hope, and I believe that hope is such a gift, but we can only give it to ourselves!

    Adore you!

  38. I love this post! I feel like having cancer has taught me that I can’t be perfect and it is okay when I don’t get to everything that I have on my to-do list. I was so hard on myself before my diagnosis and now it is all different. I am thankful for that. When I am healthy again and in remission, I want to travel alot! I miss the ocean and I also want to go back to Ohio to visit my extended family that lives there. I also want to get my pilot’s license sometime. My husband is a private pilot and I was never interested in learning until now. I also want to keep on with my quest to be able to run a 5k! I was really working on this hard before my diagnosis. I also want to get my little business up and running on etsy.com. Creating puts my mind in such a wonderful place. Meditation is also on my list, but like you said..I always struggle with it. I love your list and can’t wait to read about you doing each of these things.

  1. Pingback: Resolved To Be Healthy « The Great Balancing Act

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