How to Continue to Pursue the Life You Envision Despite a Cancer Diagnosis (or other major life-altering event)
Perform a self-assessment. What is my vision for my life? Write it down.
My vision for my life is to build a HAPPY and HEALTHY home and family together with my wife Ashley, and to have many fun and fulfilling adventures and experiences around the world with her.
Find/define your purpose(s) in life, i.e., your motivation to begin and continue fighting your disease. Write them down.
My purposes in life are to be the best life partner that I can possibly be to Ashley, and to inspire others who have received a life-altering GBM diagnosis.
Identify your goal(s). What goals did I have prior to my diagnosis? What goals do I still have now? Are there any new ones? Write them down.
I wanted to run the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, and take an African safari. I still want to do all of those things.
Declare your goal(s) and take your first action step! Mark them down on your calendar to reserve those dates. Only tackle one goal at a time if that is what is realistic for you.
I put the dates for the race and the Africa trip on the calendar -my first commitment (to myself), and first level of accountability.
Commit to your goals and put your money where your mouth is! Recruit/enlist others to join you.
I talked to several friends who run and recruited two of them to train for and run the race with me. Verbally, we agreed to tackle this challenge together – my second commitment and second level of accountability. I then went online and registered for the race (i.e., paid real money to reserve my spot – my third commitment and third level of accountability).
Garner social support from your partner/spouse/significant other, family, friends, co-workers, and community. Tell people about your goal(s).
I told my wife, family, friends, and everybody I knew about my goal to run 100 miles by blasting it out on social media – probably the easiest way to do this. This was my fourth level of accountability.
Attach your goal to a CAUSE; make it bigger than yourself.
In advertising my goal on social media, I declared that I was running 100 miles to raise funds and awareness for the Brain Tumor Center at Duke and brain cancer research, and encouraged people to donate money to the cause by making a per-mile pledge; my fifth level of accountability.
Do the work! This part requires a certain level of intrinsic motivation, mental toughness, resolve, and commitment to SELF.
I created a training schedule together with my training partners, organized training runs, and did all of the necessary preparation to be physically and mentally able to complete the 100 mile run on race day.
Tackle your “Bucket List” TODAY, because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. For travel/adventure goals, find travel partners, put your trip on the calendar, put down a deposit on the trip, and buy plane tickets (with real money!). As you can see, two big keys/themes to accomplishing my life goals and ultimately creating and experiencing the life I envision are COMMITMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY.