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Question: Why is it Important to Set Goals and What Are the Benefits for Cancer Patients and Survivors?

Goals are what take us forward in life. They are the oxygen to our dreams. After a cancer diagnosis, however, your goals may look different to you. Life balance, what is important to you and visualizing what that might look like can, and many times, does change during and after cancer treatment.

Goals are the first steps to every journey we take and also our last. Contrary to popular belief, goal setting was not invented by self-help books. People have envisioned their desired results from the beginning of time, and it’s only natural that they still do. Be they big or small, objectives are a way for you to design your future, instead of leaving it all up to chance. You are the only tailor of your destiny. Setting a goal creates an action plan, a propeller to the steps needed to create your own personal future.

Goals give you control. If you envision clear goals, you are being proactive about it. It’s up to you to take control and work towards your aim. This can be very helpful for cancer survivors who may have felt lack of control after their cancer diagnosis.

Goals give you focus. Goals give direction in life and they can narrow your focus so that everything you imagine can be realized. Our talents and abilities are what define us, but they are of little purpose if wasted on random choices.

Goals keep us motivated. It’s nice to have something to look forward to and get excited about. In itself, having a meaningful goal to think about and envision reaching can be very motivating. Even the smallest actions on a daily basis add up to big results over the course of a year.

Goals transform insurmountable mountains into walkable hills. Never hesitate to shoot for the moon, at least as long as you understand that you can’t get there overnight! You can break down your aspirations into smaller, more achievable stepping stones if need be.

Goals allow you to measure progress. Not only is every milestone a step closer to the goal, but it is also a tiny victory that motivates to keep you calm and carry on.

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Goals help us discover who we are. We set an objective, succeed or fail while reaching it, and then adjust and improve. While doing so, we are able to learn and grow from our mistakes. Even the smallest actions on a daily basis add up to big results over the course of time.

Goals help us live life to the fullest. Goals make us stay committed and productive in the process. There is something about deadlines that can make us cherish our spare time more, living it to the fullest instead of wasting it away. The more you accomplish, the better you feel about yourself. By taking the time to reflect on who you are and what you want to accomplish throughout your life, your purpose can be discovered. Goal setting can help you to look forward to waking up to see what each new day brings.

Join us on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. to learn more about the importance of goal setting from Lisa Murray, Board Certified Life Coach, who will share her valuable insights. The program is being held at the Mission Hope Cancer Center Conference Room located at 1325 E. Church Street in Santa Maria. Reservations are required so please call 805.219.HOPE (4673) to reserve your seat.

HAVE A QUESTION? This weekly column produced by Marian Cancer Care invites you to submit your questions to “Your Cancer Answers” at the following email address: mariancancercare@dignityhealth.org.

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