How To: Make Diabetes New Year’s Resolutions.
People with diabetes are no strangers to New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, we’re not strangers to any kind of resolution. We make them on a nearly daily basis. With every blood sugar test and insulin injection and bite of food, we resolve! It’s certainly something I think every time a blood glucose flashes on my meter that isn’t, like, 104 mg/dl. But what are my resolutions usually like? “I’ll do better next time.” It’s not a terribly productive way to make New Year’s Resolutions because it doesn’t really mean anything. I mean, what the hell does “test more often” actually mean? What does “doing better” look like to you?
Here are some tips for making quality New Year’s Resolutions for diabetes:
- Be specific! I’m not the first person to ever come up with this tip, and there is a reason why specific goal-setting is so important. Vague goals like doing something “better” doesn’t really mean anything. Better when? Better how? And most importantly: better why?
- Don’t go too big. My favorite resolution is “I’m going to lower my A1C.” Great! Probably something most of us think about, like, every three months. But your A1C doesn’t go down on it’s own just because you want it to. Make a smaller, specific resolution such as: “I will test my blood sugar 8 times a day ” or “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables.” Not just “I’m going to test more” or “I’m going to eat less carbs.” If you don’t know what something looks like, you won’t be able to know if you’re doing it.
- Write down what you are going to do. Again, probably not the first time you are going to hear that this month. But it’s helpful and, unlike logging, you only need to do it once! But writing down your goals can be very helpful and will also help you figure out where you started out versus where you are going.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself. Personally, I think this is a classic mistake people with diabetes make. We’re making a few slip-ups (eating too many carbs, not exercising enough, not testing enough, not going to the doctors enough) and so we try to do EVERYTHING ALL AT ONE TIME. That’s like learning to juggle with five balls when you’ve never juggled in your life. What happens? You drop all the balls. And then you’re all FORGET THAT and then what happens? Nothing. In fact, you might even regress backwards. Once you’ve written down your specific, manageable goals then focus on one at a time.
- Get support. At some point, you’ve probably thought, “I’m the only one that this happens to.” It’s not true, but there are people who can help. We have all struggled through a variety of problems and challenges in managing our diabetes. That’s what is so great about our diabetes community! Also, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor. If you think adding a new medication or making some changes to your diet are in order, speak to a specialist. They want to help.
There are many New Year’s Resolutions guides and many of them are very helpful in figuring out tactics towards making long-lasting change. But overall, I think making specific, tactical changes to our everyday diabetes management is really important, not just an overarching “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to lower my A1c.” Those are enormous and don’t really focus on the specific issues that we each have when it comes to managing our diabetes.
Or you can take a page out of this kid’s book and take the year off from making any changes!