by Bekah Wright
New Year’s Resolutions for Those with Cancer
’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. And while there’s no penalty for skipping them altogether this year, they can serve as a motivating springboard. New Year’s resolutions are your chance to institute some healthy new habits.
If you’re battling – or have battled – cancer, wellness is probably at the forefront of your mind. Typical resolutions (lose 10 pounds, fit into your high school jeans) won’t make a lot of sense for you now.
Instead of focusing on the superficial aspects of health, concentrate instead on commitments that will actually make you healthier. Eating more vegetables and cutting back on red meat are much more important now than cramming your rear end into a pair of pants you haven’t worn since the Nixon administration. Furthermore, some resolutions, like quitting smoking, should definitely take priority.
Having trouble thinking of a New Year’s resolution? Just remember the three Fs: family, friends and fun. Putting your focus on the “Fs” can be far more fulfilling for someone who’s trying to get well. Adding something to your life (like fun), is usually better than taking something away (tabloid television).
Resolutions don’t need to be tied to a specific timetable. But they can, however, make your treatment schedule more bearable. Schedule trips and visits for times between chemo when you know you’ll be feeling well. And there’s nothing that can get you through treatment more effectively than an upcoming vacation.
Cancer has a funny way of straightening out your priorities. That upcoming PTA meeting seems suddenly less important than, say, learning to Salsa. Why not use your resolution to learn to do something new? Take a stand-up class, learn to walk in cowboy boots, take a flying lesson. Take baby steps toward becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Survivors of cancer may also want to “pay it forward” with resolutions like volunteering at a hospital where cancer is treated, working at a soup kitchen or reading to the visually impaired.
Regardless of your resolution, remember to approach it like you would a goal at work: Set out a game plan and work every day toward achieving it – even if that goal happens to be eating chocolate every day for a year.