Achieving Goals

goal diggerI believe setting and achieving goals is important for all of us, especially while enduring health issues. Instead of having a to-do list for every new day, I like to view it as a goal list. Every evening, I think of what I would like to accomplish the following day. If I look at the items as tasks, they seem daunting; but if I approach them as goals, I feel satisfied once they are completed. This simple change in perspective can make a big difference. Day-to-day objectives can be as simple as cleaning the house, going to doctor appointments or running errands. Then there are the longer-term goals.

story will be a good oneWhen dealing with a new health hurdle, it may temporarily inhibit us from doing things we once enjoyed. It is good for our mental well-being to put those items in the forefront of our long-term goals. This way, they are not taken away from our thoughts. We may not be able to physically complete them in the present moment, but they stay with us in a positive place where we look forward to doing them once again.

I surprised myself a couple of weekends ago by achieving a goal I’ve had my heart and mind set on for several years. A goal that I did not think would be attainable until maybe next year. Being out in nature is my happy place. It is a therapeutic, peaceful escape and rejuvenating for my soul. I love the solitude and enjoy the special views that one can only see by walking in the great outdoors. In the past, Noah and I would go into the canyon behind our home almost every evening after work and on the weekends. We would walk on the trails by the American River and talk about our day and how much we love where we live. It was a large part of us.

Noah & Valen     Hiking

Following my disk herniation, almost three years ago, this mutual pastime was taken away from us. Noah and I would then go on drives to try and fill the void and enjoy the beauty that surrounded us. Health challenges come with acceptance. Even though I accepted that I could not get to my happy place in nature, I always held on to hope that it would not be forever. These thoughts kept my goal fresh in my mind as I focused on the day it would come true.

sceneryWell, it finally came true. I have been walking at the park the past several years but a few weekends ago, I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer to trail-walk with Noah. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to see what we are capable of. We set off on a weekend walk like old times and I did better than I expected. I had to heat and ice my back a lot after our walk, but I did it! I experienced firsthand all of the wonderful feelings I had reminisced and longed for the past couple years. I saw beautiful scenery I had missed and stood with Noah at the spot where we got engaged. Setting this goal and keeping it in my main focus provided motivation for me to continue to get stronger. Achieving this objective has provided confidence and hope for what the future has in store for me. We must never lose hope or sight of our goals.

What goals do you have and which ones have you accomplished?


  1. Cristina T

    Achieving goals is my game! After my 2nd transplant due to PKD I made it my goal to get back to running like I did before my kidneys starting failing again. I started out walking a little further everyday, soon I started running with my husband again. It felt so good to know I was healthy enough to actually run again. I felt to good that I signed up for a half marathon and completed it 6 and a half months after my transplant! Goal achieved!! Every day, every month, I try to set new goals, I feel so alive when I’m able to achieve them, there is no better feeling!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Cristina,
      This is fantastic! Congratulations on setting a big goal and achieving it! I’m so happy to hear that after two transplants, you are back to doing something you loved before your kidneys failed. I love to have something to look forward to and goals to work towards. Awesome to hear you are the same way. With your inner motivation and determination, I believe there are many more goals that you’ll be accomplishing! 🙂 Thank you very much for sharing your positive spirit. I’m cheering you on!

  2. James C

    I began exercising by walking 3-4 miles a day and exercising at the gym in 2011 when I was 250 lbs and the doc’s told me i needed to lose weight to get a transplant. I began running in December 2012 and haven’t stopped since. I made it my goal not to let this disease control my life. I have ran 3 half marathons, one while on dialysis which is also my fastest at 1:58:15 and a 25k while on dialysis. This past Sunday, less than 6 months after receiving a living donor transplant courtesy of my best friend, I ran my first 50k. While in the hospital after the transplant, my nurses and doctors kept telling me I wasn’t there typical kidney patient. I was ready to get up and start walking around after waking up in recovery. They made me stay in bed for the first 12 hours but that next morning I was up and out of that ICU bed. After day 2 they just let me wander around the hospital as long as I didn’t leave the floor. I spent 4 years preparing for that day and I wasn’t just going to lay around afterwords. One of my family members who also has PKD told me I set the bar really high.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi James,
      Thank you very much for sharing your extremely motivating journey. I believe motivation comes from within and you are a perfect example. I admire your determination to get in the best shape for receiving the gift of life and continuing that positive, healthy lifestyle post-transplant. Keep up that awesome zest for life and making the most of every day!


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