Activate Your Plan with Goals

Setting Goals
By Roger Holzberg

The R131 radiation process is one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had. I was handed a pair of horse pills filled with radioactive iodine by a guy in a lead lined suit with lead tongs that said, “Swallow them both and then drink this pitcher of water”. My brain is shouting, “What the heck is wrong with this picture?!?!”, as I gag the down the radiation filled capsules and drink the full pitcher of water. And then I was literally locked in a lead lined room until I was “cool” enough to interact with people who weren’t wearing lead lined suits… That was over 5 years ago. Before the horse pills my endocrinologist said to me, “While you’re waiting to sweat out the radiation, set three goals for the next year, goals are good”. I had no idea how important those words would become to my future.

“Goals are good”. Ok, great. Why? What would my goals be?

I knew a bit about setting goals at work, but for my health? I was speaking to my partner at work, a former college athlete, from my lead lined room. “What should my goals be?” Without hesitating she said, “The Malibu Triathlon should be one.” “Why?” “Because you’ll be able to. Because you are a survivor. And because raising money for pediatric cancer research by doing the race will feel really good.” Ding! The light bulb went off in my head. “And how about the other two?” Again, without hesitation she said, “The Lake Arrowhead and Camp Pendleton triathlons.” Before I could get out a “huh?!” she added, “Because a lot of people in Arrowhead lost their homes in the fire last year; and Pendleton? We can spend a billion a day on the Persian Gulf War but can’t educate the kids of the marine’s fighting it? What’s wrong with that picture?!” Ding!
And why are goals good?

It wasn’t about the fact that my goals were triathlons, the triathlon part was incidental. One of the first books I read after my diagnosis was Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s not about the bike”, and he was right it’s not about the bike.

In retrospect I learned a few important things during the coming months and year:
• Setting goals meant that I was acknowledging a future – my future
• Setting health and wellness goals meant I was envisioning myself in a much healthier place, and I was making a firm commitment to get there
• Setting goals that resulted in “giving back” meant that I was rewarding others, as well as myself, and that strengthened my soul
• Setting goals meant I was embracing the fact that I was a survivor, that this life threatening challenge would be behind me

It is said that every journey begins with a first step. Your goal is the direction of that step.

For me, my Community became my coaches and mentors.
I kept my Diagnosis goals very simple. “Find a great surgeon” was one of them. And my step-mom, also a cancer survivor said, “Meet as many as you need to, until you know that you’ve met the right one, you don’t have to use the first surgeon your GP refers.” And four surgeons later I met the Dr. that I knew I could trust my life too. She helped me tune and then accomplish that goal.

So gather your core community, and set some simple goals for the Phase you are in, and run those goals by your community for feedback and tuning and help along the way.

From Diagnosis, to Treatment, to Healing. By the time you have achieved your goals in the Wellbeing phase you will have created the foundation of a lifelong wellness plan.