It’s been a tough few days. Chemotherapy side effects have been hitting me quite hard and I’ve had significant pain and discomfort. I suppose it’s as good of a time as any, then, to start thinking about one of the main ways that I plan to take care of myself in 2018: by setting my goals for the year and developing mechanisms for tracking my progress. I will be writing a post next week about what to expect from this blog in 2018 and a good bit of my content will be somehow related to my goals for the year.
I have 10 main goals for the year, many of which will divided into smaller, measurable tasks. I will cover 5 goals today and 5 goals on Tuesday.
1. Make progress toward beating cancer.
I think it’s fairly obvious that this is my first priority in 2018. I was tempted for my goal to simply be “Beat cancer” but I don’t like to set goals that are unrealistic. Of course, it would be great if my six month course of chemotherapy was 100% guaranteed to cure my cancer, or at least force it into remission. Given that the cancer has spread, however, I’m trying to be realistic about the fact that I may need further treatment down the road. Given the side effects I’ve been experiencing recently, I feel like this could also be “Survive chemotherapy.”
2. Write as much as possible.
I am hoping that, within the next two years, I will be able to have a significant career change. I have several reasons for this. First, while I have a decent job that is moderately interesting, it isn’t the type of job that’s feasible to stay in for the long term (poor benefits, no pension plan, very high stress). Second, I believe that the best career move for me at the moment is to transition into a job that is more flexible and, preferably, location neutral. This means working from home. I think this is the best for me due to my partner’s career being on a much better path than my own (it would be great to be able to pick up and move wherever he might need to go) and also because my cancer may reoccur or I may develop cancer in another part of my body. A more flexible career would allow me to continue working during another period of illness.
During my time away from my day job, I plan to write as much as I can about a variety of topics and in numerous different formats, because I believe that writing is my best work from home skill. I will also be working to develop new skills that I think will be useful to me in pursuing this path, but I’ll talk about that next week.
3. Develop a healthy and relaxing nighttime routine that will allow me to disconnect, focus and rest well.
I am terrible at going to bed for a whole host of reasons, but mostly I just dawdle a lot. I scroll social media on my phone late at night when no one is posting anything, I watch YouTube videos that aren’t interesting, and I will often sit for 30 minutes just thinking about things. I plan to shut my devices off earlier and journal every night to focus my thoughts and make sure that I don’t waste time that my body needs for rest.
4. Maintain my low credit card balance and manage my spending according to my reduced income.
2017 wasn’t a great year for me. My dog died, I was diagnosed with cancer, and physically I just didn’t feel very well. I also struggled a lot to accomplish the goals I had set for the year and I did a terrible job of managing my free time effectively. The one aspect where I saw some significant improvement in 2017 is my finances. I did a lot of research about managing personal finances, paying down debt and saving money. Unfortunately, I didn’t end the year with much for savings, but I did end the year with way less debt. I plan to maintain what I started last year and, if I am able to go back to work, start saving a substantial emergency fund.
5. Take care of myself physically.
Physical self care is an important priority for me this coming year — not only because I am in treatment for cancer, but also because I’m bad at it. When things aren’t going well for me or I’m depressed, I often don’t take good physical care of myself. I skip brushing my teeth, I don’t apply my psoriasis ointment, I don’t moisturize my skin (which I desperately need to do because I have such sensitive skin) and I stress/binge eat junk food. I will need to manage all of this a lot better in order to keep myself positive and comfortable. My doctor has also recommended that I get 150 minutes of physical activity per week, so I’m hoping to stay on track with that as much as I can, though I think it might be a bit of a challenge on the weeks when I am recovering from my treatments.
Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post, where I’ll be discussing the rest of my goals for 2018! On Sunday I’ll be posting my new Media Round-up. Watch out for it!