Misdirect goal setting

7th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

Personal development is all about progression in any identified area in your life. Typically, the process of establishing goals is seen as an essential step towards achieving your goals. Now, bearing this in mind, I am curious as to whether my recent chain of thoughts have been misdirected. Basically, the entirety of my focus was to remain alive. If we were to break down the meaning of that goal, I think it is actually a rather harmful state of mind. It is not like I am scrapping for food, in need of shelter or avoiding danger. Really, my goals seem to reflect an underlying vulnerability. A superior approach would have been to be more specific. For instance, what do I want from my ideas/career, how do I want relationships in my life to look, what type of lifestyle am I seeking, how do I want to be progressing in my physical/emotional rehabilitation, and what do I want to be fuelling my body with. On reflection, my goals were once structured in such a way with timeframes underpinning each goal, however, I allowed myself to drift into the abyss of confusion and uncertainty. Ultimately, placing me back to a state of mind not conducive to really make the intended changes in my life.

How to balance self-improvement with a social identity

9th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

The yoga classes attended yesterday and today made me reflect on the time spent since my operation, particularly in regards to questions about whether I used the time effectively. I definitely allowed time for my body and soul to heal, however, I am uncertain if a degree of complacency was able to creep into my life throughout the latter weeks. I believe a feeling of simply being content in life was apparent, and ironically, it seems I have an enhanced ability at juggling multiple tasks when a greater number of activities feature in my day. Moreover, virtually all the tasks I wish to be completing when I make a return to my usual level functioning are undertaken on an individual basis. Consequently, sacrifices to the social component of my life are necessary should the life I thought I wish to strive for be implemented. It seems my previous planning centred upon the concept of self-improvement, and the planning resulted in a loss to my social connections. Therefore, it is essential to ensure I learn from my past, and still partake in all the actives I wish to complete, however, prioritise the space to regularly connect with friends and family in social situations.


2nd May 2014: Sydney, Australia

Temptation to past lifestyle choices is becoming an area requiring attention as time since my surgery passes whilst the side effects associated with my chemotherapy are seemingly decreasing. The actions last night are a perfect foundation to base the discussion on, and could be viewed as a shift away from the intentions established in my entries last year. Initially, I was in the same position, fluctuating between feelings of guilt, fear and regret, however, without justifying my actions, could the negative feelings be solely dependent on seeing myself as unwell or in a position of recovery? If so, it should be noted that I object to seeing myself as unwell or in a state of recovery. I completely accept the need to further develop myself emotionally and physically, however, the mental aspect of a Cancer diagnosis is often deemed one of the primary obstacles associated with overcoming the entire experience. It is for this very reason for reframing the context, and instead, viewing myself bound within a stage of preparation.

Undoubtedly, temptations are going to exist throughout my entire life, and not just in regards to lifestyle choices. Therefore, should I feel a level of guilt for socialising with friends on one occasion over some drinks or do I learn from the situation, finding a place for it in my life? Yes, I need to be mindful of what I put in my body, and how much sleep I have each night, however, attention equally needs to centre on connecting with close friends, and importantly the effects of finally feeling a degree of normality. I am not advocating a permanent change from the areas I deem essential to getting me to this level of health. Rather, placing the events from last night into perspective whilst recognising the benefits of social connection and unrestricted happiness.

To conclude, I believe an example can demonstrate the point above. Take for instance how pivotal the stage of preparation and training is for success, particularly in a sporting context. Now, say a professional sports team successfully applies a play or tactic in a real contest. It would be fairly accurate to hypothesis that more often than not, the play had first been developed in a less intense environment, i.e, a training session. Therefore, I propose similarities exist with our lives, with the underlying message relating to how we can be equipped to face future scenarios in my hopefully long and fruitful life. Of course, I will not make the right decision on every occasion, however, should I learn from the experience, it can still prove beneficial in the longterm. Regardless of whether people agree with what has been stated, reframing the events last night eroded any stress associated with my decision, and consequently, I am left in a positive mindset. I must note, I can definitely see I am trying to justify my actions, and possibly I am, so it would be interesting to hear feedback 😄

How to remain focused on my goals..

8th April 2015: Sydney, Australia

I view attention to rest as concrete evidence of the dawning of a new reality present in my life, particularly when bearing in mind the area was overlooked prior to being forced by the discovery of Cancer to review my behaviour and actions. A key point to highlight from the entirety of this Cancer journey is the opportunity to fully focus on myself, including the scheduling of rest into my life whilst also not allowing a stance to be adopted whereby the period is viewed with pity, regretfulness and loss. Admittedly, ample entires document the varying thoughts circulating throughout my mind, some far from positive, however, the fluctuating thoughts appear essential to create a narrative about the experiences I continually face.

Personally, the whole situation needs to be looked at with perspective, and most importantly, it is imperative to create new scripts to block old patterns from rearing a presence in my life again. I acknowledge many more challenges await, and similar to any other person, the obstacle for me entails remaining focused, driven and motivated on my goals. A factor holding more weight when the rigours and demands of everyday life demand greater attention. To conclude, I must say, with all the feelings and emotions attached to the circumstances endured, I would deem myself to be relatively happy. Therefore, my motivation, focus and drive needs to centre upon achieving greater happiness in all areas of my life, completely unrestricted by any diagnosis, fears or factors associated with having Cancer.

Exercise… How to stay motivated, prevent injuries and achieve the goals you want!

22nd March 2015: Sydney, Australia

The week of rest scheduled into my life will cease with all usual activity commencing tomorrow. The purpose of scheduling rest into my life is mostly associated with optimising my physical capacities, namely reducing the chance of injury; maintenance of the immune system to prevent temporary illness; psychological benefits from having a break, and the opportunity to implement a varied range of movement to eliminate stagnation. Ideally, I am looking at scheduling rest approximately every 10-12 weeks, and during the week, the idea is to completely remove movement from my life. Instead, introduce a routine of activity that still keeps the body moving, yet, is much less intensive. For instance, over the past week I completed three yin/restorative yoga sessions, two gentle swims and an extremely modified version of my usual exercise routine.

I have noticed rapid changes in my weight and physique. No evidence supports the supposed changes, however, I did feel a lot slimmer and less defined over the week, possibly leading me to complete the second swim, an activity not planned into my week. In regards to the outcome, there is a noticeable shift in my mind-state to once again work on building strength and regaining the remaining lost weight. Furthermore, the break has allowed the creation of a tailored plan to be implemented when exercising whilst also refreshing the motivation to strive towards the very initial affirmations made when informed of my diagnosis. Therefore, it appears the concept was successful. The results will be shown over the coming weeks when a more intense schedule re-commences.

New Years Resolutions??????

1st January 2015: 2014
The New Year is usually associated with future projections and planning. The way I have framed questions this year has been in the context of, “what do you wish to achieve”. I believe the frame is more powerful than just asking about a resolution, a phrase that has been overused, with a somewhat acceptance of the ordinary being acceptable. Although the question is a topic of curiosity for me, personally I am unsure if I am able to conjure any further measurable outcomes for the year. It appears I am still stuck on my narrative of building strength, power, intelligence and evolving in every-way possible.

If the basis of my goals are to develop a narrative for my life, then the question surely needs to follow on from the previous paragraph, namely, how I will be able to measure success? Admittedly, a point I am yet to be able to answer. It seems prior to moving on, an explanation on my developed narrative seems essential. Simply, the collection of words are used like a mantra throughout varying times in the day to help in reaching my desired goal. It must be acknowledged that an ambiguity exists in executing the collation of words to bring my narrative to reality. It seems a missing link to resolving the ambiguity seems to result from a sole reliance on past experience, actions and behaviours. So, if my only reference point for future progress is dependent on past actions and behaviours, then how will I have the mental imagery required to cement a more enhanced sense of self? Furthermore, should I not be able to cement images in my mind then how will my body be able to perform such functions? Therefore, external inspiration is essential to providing motivation whilst expanding my awareness of the available possibilities to cement pathways to obtain my desired goals.

Arrogance, the child of Cancer..

1st December 2014: Sydney

The past few days I have been thinking about two particular points. Namely, my personal narrative and a look to the year ahead. Firstly, focus will be on the narrative I seemed to have created for myself. I have frequently made reference to the underlying theme of negativity seeming to be the DNA of these entries, and it has made me consider whether the focus on negative aspects within my daily life has made me more inclined to draw on these times when talking to people about how I have been. Could the journal in itself act as mechanism for highlighting my down-days, resulting in the benefits being outweighed by the advantages found in writing about my feelings? It seems plausible to hypothesis that so much focus on the nausea experienced leads me to be more inclined on such times. Consequently, resulting on me not accurately reflecting how I am progressing whilst also overlooking all the positive aspects in my life. In saying that, maybe it just demonstrates the supposed research stating a criticism stays with us longer than a praise. It may seem another week is needed where only positive entires are made. Again though, is that then a contradiction to the nature of the journal whereby it is the created space to put my thoughts and feelings into a safe place?

The second point is the imminence of 2015 commencing and the meaning this has for me. In some ways, I have able to achieve my health and financial goals for the year. In addition, I was able to remain focused on maintaining several points established throughout the year to help with my recovery, i.e. lifestyle options, nutrition and the writing of the journal/project. Now the new year is approaching makes me feel the necessity of ensuring my initial goal of total self-improvement continue. In the beginning of this phase of my life, I was determined to start back at work in May, however, the unexpected and completely outrageous withdrawal of my job made this decision delayed till July (I received an email whilst in hospital from the director after no communication had been made to comment on my condition). Next it was be in some form of work again in Australia by October, then December, and now honestly my only motivation is focused on the project and another idea planned. The question then becomes when will I be ready for full-time employment, and how can I retain the ambition that was so evident prior to my diagnosis?

I have a month to consider my options and definitely goals are essential because there is no chance I am going to stagnate in my life. The arrogance in the following statement may be criticised, however, I do have a belief in self-improvement and it is something I wish to continually strive towards. Broadly speaking, I want to excel, grow and have no conscience about any of my decisions, actions or behaviours made. I recognise the need to break down these broad statements and create avenues to bring my dreams to fruition. I guess, one important piece was the emphasis on advancement rather than just focusing on life and living. Again, could easily set myself for criticism as it seems such a juxtaposition to state an appreciation for life yet not be satisfied with simply living?

Personal accountability

9th October 2014: Sydney, Australia

Today, a cross was put through an imaginary calendar. The mental cross is a tool used to encourage rest at varying periods. It was applied today to assist in the process of improving my health back into a position enabling me to overcome the lingering flu symptoms experienced, particularly in regards to the level of movement in my life. The mental cross is one of the many tools included within the plan designed directly following my discharge from hospital. The plan was basically notes containing information from readings, past experiences & discussions with others.

A comparison from the period of planning and implementation to the present day would show the only exception is designated space within my daily routine to work on furthering certain ideas, especially in relation to further the content based upon the mentioned Sunflower Framework. The matter of holding groups and the associated factors involved in bringing the idea to fruition links directly to my motivation and accountability. A quick snapshot of the week clearly indicates no further progress has been made on the content developed from last week. Yes, I have not been feeling well and a degree of balance is crucial to making a place for Cancer within my future life, however, the question I ask myself relates to how this would be viewed in a different environment, such as the workplace? The answer is simple, and reinforces the need to set timescales for myself whilst also recruiting the assistance of someone to oversee my idea, ensuring I am accountable to timeframes rather than allowing the idea to drift into the abyss of past failed ventures. The role of a friend will play exactly the same as performed by a manager or coach within a working environment. The person or persons I seek for support will be imperative. The individual or persons involved need to be supportive whilst also providing constructive feedback, and importantly have knowledge in the specific area of interest. The value of seeking assistance on a matter such as plumbing from an accountant with no prior knowledge about plumbing may be a useful reminder when thinking about who is best to recruit in my future journey.

I don’t have the capacity, energy or focus required to further write, especially as mentioned the day has been crossed out in my imaginary calendar. The topic just brings to the forefront of my thinking about the importance of accountability, and a matter needing to address either tomorrow or the following week.

– What areas in your life may require a degree of accountability, and if so, how will you go about setting timescales for the completion of individual steps needed to achieve your goals?
– Who in the network of people around you can be called into your personal plans to hold you accountable?