image of a woman running, exercise is one of the best forms of controlling your diabetes from Diabetes Insight, Cork, Ireland

As we approach a new year, it is the time that most of us start contemplating changes that we want to make in our lives. The most common of these are losing weight through changes made to our diet and increasing exercise. We start off the New Year full of hope and enthuasiam. As the months roll by many of the resolutions that we make tend not to succeed as the pressures of every day life start to take priority. In the long term, we find ourselves a year later right back where we started, and probably that little bit heavier and a little less active than we were a year ago!! The problem here is, as the years roll by, the resolutions that we set ourselves become to much for us to achieve and we give up, drowning in a sea of guilt despair and low self esteem. Does this sound familiar?

When you have diabetes, these problems can be compounded, because the changes that you have to make have a signifcant impact on your over all long term health, increasing that burden of change all the more. Having health care professionals, family members and friends reminding you of what you already are aware of all the time does not help either, and makes you feel even more alone.

Here at Diabetes Insight, having worked for over ten years with people with diabetes, does not make me an expert, but it does make me acutely aware of the main reasons why most people fail at not keeping new years resolutions.  There are three simple reasons firstly, that they set their goals too big, secondly they have set too many goals all at the one time and thirdly, the goal does not motivate the person enough to change.

So lets look at why this happens? When you attend a clinic, you are told something for example, you should be four stone lighter than you are, and you need to drop your HbA1c from 9% to 6%, simply because thats what the research says is better for your long term health. You may also have blood pressure and cholesterol issues on top of all that to contend with as well as other health problems. There is a sense of urgency on behalf of the health care professional for you to make these changes, because they worry about the long term consequences for you if changes are not made. [pull_quote align=”left”]The first question to ask of your health care professional when setting goals is where do you think I should start? What is the priority right now?[/pull_quote]

If you have a few mountains to climb, you cannot climb them all at once, nobody can. What is the priority right now? Is it weight loss? Is it getting your HbA1c down? What will have the most significant impact on your health at this present moment?

As well as asking your health care professionals the above questions, ask yourself the following:

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  • What do I need to get me started on this goal?
  • What supports do I need?
  • How must I reward myself for achieving my goal?
  • What does having this goal give me?
  • How do I stay motivated to achieve my goal?

 

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[quote author=”Author Name” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]Goals must be……..positive, as detailed as possible, within your control, impact on your current situation, worth the initial cost, in line with your values[quote]

In business or coaching, SMART goals is a tool that is used when establishing a plan for setting goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Realistic. Lets look at Specific first.

If our goal is to lose weight, and we need to lose four stone, for most of us, that is what I would call a very general, wide reaching statement of intent to lose weight. In order to make it Specific we ask ourselves the following questions:

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  • What exactly do I want to accomplish?
  • Who is involved?
  • What do I need?
  • What are the limitations?
  • Where will it take place?
  • What is the time frame?
  • What is my reason for accomplishing the goal?

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When we look at Measurable

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  • How much?
  • How Many?
  • How will I know when its accomplished?

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Looking at Attainable goals, maybe four stone right now is too much of a goal. Maybe half a stone in the next month is more attainable or two pounds a week is more achieveable than just four stone
In order for a goal to be Realistic you must have both the willingness and ability to achieve it. Ask yourself the following:
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  • How strongly do you feel about this issue?
  • What have you done about it so far?
  • What have been the outcomes?
  • What has stopped you from doing more?
  • What different ways could you approach this?

 

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When setting goals, making changes &/or resolutions, your attitude for success is also paramount. If you don’t believe from the outset that you can make the changes, then simply……. you won’t.

[pull_quote align=”left”]Success is something you plan for, work towards and you must have a will/way forward…[/pull_quote] No matter what your goal is, make it small, make it realsitic, make it achieveable. Do not try to do everything all at once, you will only set yourself up for failure. The changes that you make for your health, for your diabetes, are for life, they are not just for today or tomorrow. And changes for life require time, perservence and commitment. Yes it will be hard, yes there will be times you want to give up, and that you may. But the best thing you can do when that happens is try again, and keep trying, for one day you will succeed.

Wishing you and your loved ones, a long and healthy New Year for 2012!

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