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How to set Lasting Health and Diabetes related New Year’s Resolutions

Ah – the end of the year is upon us! How did 2022 go by so fast!?

I expect all of us made some type of resolution for this past year, but how many people stick with that resolution and make it a habit that continues beyond January 31st? Really – according to data, nearly 80% of people who make a resolution will fall off of their plan by the early part of February. 

So, you want to make some changes – what should you consider to achieve lasting benefit? Consider some habits of people who do stick to their goal they create a habit after reaching their goal. They don’t veer away and think things will continue to work well all on their own.

If your goal in the New Year is really to sit down and work on playing chess better, then you have to work at that by playing the game repeatedly as well as seeking out those who can help and benefit your progress forward. The same can be said for health goals at any point of the year regardless of it being January 1st!

resolutionsThe following tips are the best way to stick with your resolution and carry it into the year ahead where you can choose a new focus – maybe a bit more fun like learning to Salsa!

  1. Find your WHAT and WHY – Choose something that YOU want to improve. Not your doctor, or significant other or best friend. This must mean something to you. If you want to focus on health then determine what is working and what isn’t. What is the reason you want to make a change. When looking at improving diabetes management, you aren’t doing it to make “diabetes” happy. There is a reason you want to contain things. Is it because you want to perform better in exercise, or enjoy travel or time with family more or visit the doctor less, etc.? What is your WHY? You’ll be more likely to stick with the plan if you really see the reason the change will be beneficial for you.
  2. Start with 3 goals – Progress from one to the next and then make more to keep moving forward. Start with the health change you want to make and then set small goals to get you to the endpoint. Remember, the goal isn’t to have this perfected by January 31st. This is a long process much like an endurance sports event. If your issue with diabetes management is more around mealtimes then focus on a small goal that you can evaluate – perhaps adding that pre-bolus consistently for one week. Once you have that nailed then move on to another small goal such as checking your CGM accuracy with a fingerstick once a day or verifying pump settings in one time of the day, etc. A great app that helps with analysis of insulin, timing and meal intake is Undermyfork: Diabetes App.
  3. Define your time – We all work on some type of schedule. Work schedule along with dentist or doctor appointments all get penciled in so we remember to be there on time. Aim to do the same thing for meeting your goal. If you are trying to add exercise 3 x/week into your plan, then sit down and look at your schedule and put it in there as if it were a doctor appointment. Don’t schedule over it unless something emergent comes up that really takes precedence. Set a time to evaluate your progress – week to week is good as it keeps you on task as well as forms habit that is motivating when you see a change to the positive.
  4. Keep a Journal – Progress is hard to keep track of, so to really see impact of what you are trying to change, keep a journal of your forward steps and success. Make note of where you got off track and how you did getting back on target. Positive self-talk goes a long way in reaching goals.
  5. Find a partner – If you have been trying to navigate a change all alone it makes it a lot harder to stick with goals. If you are the only one in your house that is trying to change something but the rest of the house continues the habit you want to break you’ll be less likely to succeed. Choose a friend or enlist the help of your spouse or partner who you can check in with – it can make a difference. It is even better if you have a friend who also has diabetes and is working to improve their management too. Set up a plan to check in daily at lunchtime, or to exercise together every Saturday. An accountability person can help you stick with the plan as you are trying to be there for them in the same way. You can help motivate each other!
  6. Plan a reward – If your goal is to learn to improve glucose management around exercise, then plan a race or an event that lets you shine in what you’ve accomplished. Remember your performance is only for yourself. Starting to run and you’ve nailed your management around the 5K? Sign up for a race and keep yourself motivated.
  7. Plan to take things slow and “Keep On Keeping On”– Life will get busy and no one is going to slow down just because you are trying to make time to improve your management. Remember to give yourself time as well as grace as you adjust to the changes. There will be setbacks but get right back to your plan. Expect that you might need to backtrack a bit if you took time away from your goal but start back where you left off and make a new plan from there.

As always, if you have decided on some things you want to center in on and improve in your diabetes and health management it helps to have someone guide you on the way. Integrated Diabetes Clinicians know very well how diabetes and the variables play into day-to-day life. We are set to provide education as well as great motivating nudges along the way as you reach each goal. Give us a call to help you turn a resolution into a habit in the year ahead!

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