New Year's Resolution Thoughts for the Cancer Patient


Last updated 1/9/2015 at 9:37pm | View PDF

As the year 2014 comes to an end and you think about next year, it is only natural to consider your resolutions. What will you do to better yourself? Your life? Your finances? Your family? Your health? So many times we think of very specific resolutions, such as this year I really will lose those 20 pounds. Let me offer a different way to consider resolutions.

I discovered this approach while I was going through my cancer. I read about it in an airline magazine, while I was on a business trip, just a week after my fourth chemo treatment. So, while I cannot take credit for the idea, I can offer how helpful this approach has been for me.

The suggestion is that instead of developing particular resolutions, identify a word that will be your word of the year and weave its spirit into everything you do. What I loved about this idea is that it was simple. I could do this. Especially when it seemed that my cancer-filled life was so full of complexity.

With this idea in mind, I offer words to you that may be the foundation for your resolution this coming year.

Invigorate: This is the word I chose for my first year post cancer treatments. I wanted to invigorate my health, invigorate my relationships, and invigorate my finances. That word through the year reminded me to breathe life back into my life, to live out loud and get every part of my life active again.

Glow: Last year, three years out from diagnosis, I chose the word glow. I wanted to glow from the inside out. Let my faith shine through. Encourage my spirit to shine through as I finished my book. I wanted to physically glow – from the old adage: Men perspire, women glow, horses sweat.

Radiant: Being radiant, especially as you go through cancer, can be very empowering. Can you use this word to help you find a smile, even while your body aches? Can you use the word to encourage you be your best self, to share your unique inner spirit? Perhaps this word reminds you to work out, or drink your water, so that you can be radiant on the inside and out.

Flourish: The idea of flourish is to be the best you can be in the moment. Your friendships can flourish, your spiritual life can flourish, physically you can flourish for that day and the next, and the next.

Hope: The word hope is used so often in cancer messages and with good reason. It encourages you to look forward, think of the best outcome and have faith in the possibilities.

Whatever word you choose for yourself, use it to inspire, to motivate, to encourage you to approach this New Year vibrantly.

St. Louis writer Donna Heckler provides more practical tips on living your best life while living through cancer in her new book Living Like A Lady When You Have Cancer. Or visit


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