Friday 11 January 2019

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ Goal setting and beginning the new year

“New Year, New You. Are you superwoman, taking on sky-high mountain-moving feats of hard work and courage? Or do you have quieter plans, just as newsworthy but less spectacular?”

In this week’s discussion, our first for 2019, we explored our relationship with goal-setting and beginning new years.

Our challenge, we agreed, going into a New Year is in dealing with the uncertainty that a breast cancer diagnosis of primary and secondary diagnosis brings. We want to do so much, to set goals and new year's resolutions like everyone else, but we can feel nervous about our long term goals as our anxiety about the future kicks in, and we worry about meeting expectations, those of others and just as importantly, our own.

New Year, New You. Are we superwoman, taking on sky-high mountain-moving feats of hard work and courage? Or do we have quieter plans, just as newsworthy but less spectacular. Others tell us we've been blessed with a second chance, or we surely want to make the most of it, after all, we're alive or we’re getting back to normal now?

Post-holiday blues are common after Christmas, and New Year is often an emotional time. Many of us are getting back to work, others are resuming treatment after a break. For those of us diagnosed at this time of year, our holiday is forever tainted with memories of the shock of finding out we have breast cancer. Whether we have primary and secondary breast cancer, there is gratitude in spending another Christmas with family and friends and to those of us with secondary breast cancer described anxiety for what another year of living with incurable breast cancer will bring.

Each of us has our own unique story to tell, and every plan is grand in its own way. Learning not to compare ourselves to others, and learning not to compare ourselves to who we were before our diagnosis, may be key in looking forwards and managing expectations. 

A common goal for so us, unsurprisingly, is to improve our health. This may mean eating well, stepping up our exercise, losing weight. For some there might be an end in mind - feeling and looking great for a wedding, or being fit for the arrival of a grandchild, for example. Others are aiming to complete challenges such as 5 or 10ks, half or full marathons, while others have set walking challenges or are doing dry January or cutting out meat or sugar.

Some of us are feeling cautious, taking baby steps on our road to healing. Others want to take more risks and even be reckless in throwing ourselves into life. Being present in our own lives, being here in the moment, whatever we are doing, and enjoying it, is a decision many women have made. Whether we are conquering Snowdon or resting in front of the TV, fully immersing ourselves in our lives may be a perfect resolution.

Some of us have gardens we want to tend, others have plans to move house or tidy up messy relationships.  Many would like to simplify and declutter. Treating ourselves regularly is another theme. Saying no and being kind to ourselves is something we strive for, we want to spend our time doing the things that make us happy and less time on our shoulds or musts. Goals might be to travel or it might be reading 100 books. Some want to study, to finish courses or take on new ones. New jobs may also be on the horizon.

Several of us mentioned acceptance, in the sense of coming to terms with our capabilities and our limitations. Perhaps looking into what 2019 will bring involves finding a fresh perspective, a positive one but not a falsely bright one as we seek authenticity and a strong streak of realism. We want to be able to have down days, to feel and express our sadness, we seek permission (perhaps from ourselves) to grieve - for the loss around us, for our old selves. If we treat ourselves with kindness, and embrace who we are now and who we want to become, we can achieve everything we choose to aim for, and more. And let's not forget that there is no failure, only learning.

'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.' (Marcel Proust)

If you are a woman living in the UK with a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to join our private group please send us a private message via the public Facebook page.

No comments: