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Setting attainable goals


Our friend who is dying of brain cancer is declining. The end is in sight. His wife won’t put him in hospice yet because they will stop giving him steroids, which are the only things that keep him going. He knows it, and he agrees with her decision. Because he has a small, attainable goal. He needs to live until the middle of January. That’s when an annuity from a long-ago accident settlement begins paying out. He wants her to have it, and living another two months will ensure that she gets it.

He’s come up with other things that his surviving until January will help with, financially. Insurance deductibles. Social Security payments. Trapped in his damaged and failing body, he spends what little time he has left, thinking up ways to make his wife’s life easier after he’s gone.

She appreciates it. It’s one of the few things he can do to take care of her, while she spends their last days together taking care of him.

It’s good that he’s using his remaining days productively. I would be selfish… I would want to abandon my failing body immediately, and that would not leave time to settle affairs and plan for my partner’s future without me.

I admire his dedication. And his ability to set small, attainable goals. It’s important to keep your goals manageable and achievable, so that you have a hope of reaching them, and you can be satisfied when you do.

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