Friday, September 21, 2012

Goal Setting

While I admire goal setting and see it as a great strategy for getting things done. Goals need to be attainable. If you overestimate what can be accomplished, you set yourself up for failure. This means letting down yourself as well as everyone else who was relying on you.

If you set a goal of "I will lose 20 lbs before bathing suit season". Well that's good. But are you trying to do it in 2 weeks or in 3 months. The 3 month time frame is much more realistic as healthy weight loss is around 2-3 lbs/week. Attainable is 3 months, unattainable is 2 weeks - and if you don't lose it, will you be depressed and eat more?

The National Breast Cancer Coalition, or, was formed in 1991 and in 2010 added the aim of ending breast cancer by 2020. If you read their website now it looks like they are going after politicians.

From their blueprint:

"What does the end of breast cancer by 2020 mean? By January 1, 2020, we must understand how to prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place and how to prevent them from dying from the disease.

NBCC will have a strategic plan in place to achieve its mission, will have implemented much of it, and will have obtained support and partnership from leadership among all key stakeholder groups."

If you read their 2012 progress report, which they say progress has been made but you need to read this report with their 2011 report. To me, it looks like a lot of spin. They are 20% through their deadline but I didn't see 20% progress.

Now MD Anderson in Texas has announced they are launching a new $3 billion war on cancer where they have assembled a team of specialist with two goals. They want to reduce the number of deaths from a group of cancers by 2020.

"...Dr. Ronald DePinho, president of the large cancer treatment and research center, is launching this project in two parallel tracks: "One is to apply the existing knowledge, to make a near-term impact in this decade," he said.

"The second is to also say, 'We do not know everything we need to know to ultimately cure the disease.'"

The cancer center calls the program "an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths."

"The Moon Shots Program signals our confidence that the path to curing cancer is in clearer sight than at any other time in history," DePinho says.

Doctors at MD Anderson believe that dying from cancer can eventually be as rare as dying from pneumonia. And DePinho believes this can happen sooner rather later for patients suffering from the following five types of cancer:
  • lung cancer
  • melanoma
  • triple negative breast cancer and ovarian cancer (which are very similar on the molecular level)
  • prostate cancer
  • acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome & chronic lymphocytic leukemia (blood cancers)"
Is this goal a little more attainable? I don't know.  I admire both sets of goals. But what if they don't attain them? 2020 is 7 years and just about 100 days away. Can they do it? How many of us will be let down and discouraged if they don't?

Those who are living with cancer hold on for the dream of the cure for cancer. It has been talked about for decades and centuries and by putting these very short deadlines on it, will it make a difference?

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