Good habits will be created, bad habits will be destroyed. Personal and financial goals will be set as others aim to improve health and lifestyle. With every great intention of keeping resolutions, it seems that so many of them fall by the wayside before the first month has even come to pass. This year I plan to apply the same philosophy to my resolutions and goals that my family implemented during my battle with breast cancer: an Attitude of Gratitude!
From the moment I was diagnosed with cancer my family knew that there was no room left for error. This was a full blown fight for my family. We all, without a shred of hesitation, chose to believe that I would be healed, put our faith in God, and called on family and friends for their power of prayer. We also established our Attitude of Gratitude rule: No matter what the circumstances, we would find a reason to be grateful! We would give thanks for everything we could and not focus on anything negative.
The more you focus on an attitude of gratitude you will naturally find a positive attitude surrounding even the worst of situations. I know it sounds an awful lot like the “Glad Game” from Disney’s Pollyanna movie, but just as the characters in the movie become happier, more positive people, the truth is – the concept really works!
Another key to implementing this philosophy is team work. I was not going into this battle alone! We understood that this fight would take a team effort, and this meant that everyone would have to adopt the newfound family attitude. Cancer, without a doubt, has its terrible times and nobody is perfect. If at any given time I began to falter or begin to plan a pity party I relied on one of my family members to quickly remind me of a reason to be grateful. Even on days when the pain was unbearable I remained grateful that the pain would soon pass and that I was one treatment closer to being finished. I would also remind myself how grateful I was that I found the lump and that I was receiving excellent care from the doctors. The situation could have been a lot worse!
My ultimate goal was to get rid of the cancer. From the time I was diagnosed I was told that the process of surgeries and treatments would last about a year. While we all focused on the cancer free goal, we found as many reasons to celebrate the smaller milestones along the way. When chemo was completely through my family held a celebration for me with an ice cream cake that literally included the phrase, “Happy Chemo Is Over Cake.”
The latest and greatest of milestones that we celebrated was my final day of radiation. With the completion of thirty-three rounds of radiation it was time to relish in the fact that I had completed the final phase of treatments. The staff from the Radiology Center of Snellville cheered and gave me congratulatory hugs. They presented me with my certificate of completion and asked me to sign a quilt completely filled with comments from everyone who has completed their treatment before me. While I am going to miss everyone at the clinic, I was quite giddy as I skipped to my car shouting, “Whoo hooo!”
The best part of my final treatment was coming home to the best surprise ever! Courtney Mulkey, our unofficial, unpaid Nanny, had secretly planned a full blown celebration! They had put up paper streamers all over the house and had signs hanging up EVERYWHERE! We even sat at the table covered in messages from the kids with plastic purple champagne cups filled with water. We went around the table and each gave reasons of why we were grateful and ended it with, “To no more radiation!”
So whether you are battling cancer or simply setting up your New Year’s resolutions, first you must believe you can do it! Once you truly believe, try living with the Attitude of Gratitude! In any situation, no matter how big or small, there is always a reason to give thanks. Don’t forget to celebrate even the tiniest of milestones along the way! After all, life is an adventure – not a destination! It is the journey that you embrace that will get you to your final goals!
Here’s to wishing each and every one of you a wonderful, exciting, adventurous year!
Cheryl Copeland is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about life’s lessons and her personal adventure with breast cancer.