The reality is that you are in charge of your diabetes. Your health care support people keep you educated about what to do to take care of yourself, but you are the center of team. A pro-active attitude on your part will keep you healthy.

Changing behavior to improve your health is the subject of much study. But first, do you need to change, and what needs to be changed. Do you need to lose weight? What about your eating habits? Is your diet balanced and healthy? Are you in control of your carbohydrate intake? Do you exercise for 30 minutes four times a week? Are you keeping your doctors appointments? Do you need to stop smoking?Are you testing your blood glucose as instructed-and treating the information accordingly?

 

Ready to Change
There is a lot to do to take care of yourself. Are you ready to make changes? Have you ever taken on a big goal only to miss your mark completely? Maybe you were not properly ready, and the goal was not a good choice.

Behavioral researchers use the Readiness to Change Model to help us define if and how ready we are to make changes.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation- You are not aware that the behavior is a problem. You have no intention of changing the behavior.
Stage2: Contemplation- You are aware that the behavior is a problem, but you are on the fence about doing anything about it. You are ambivalent—the risks do not outweigh the benefits.
Stage3:Preparation-You accept the need to change and start planning how and when you will conduct this change.
Stage4: Action-You put your plan into action and keep a check on how you are doing.
Stage 5: Maintenance-As time passes, your change is working and you are feeling the benefits.

Choosing a Goal
What stage are you in? Since you are educating yourself on this website at the moment, you are probably contemplating some change. When you are ready to set a goal, it is important to set yourself up for success by following the SMART rules for goal setting. A goal should be:

SPECIFIC: Bring your goal to a specific task—I will walk 10 minutes at lunch three days a week, rather than I will try to walk more.
MEASURABLE: Keep track of your progress with your goal by tracking and measuring it. Mark your walk and the length of time on your calendar.
ATTAINABLE: Can you really accomplish this goal? How realistic would it be to set a goal of running one hour a day every day when you are really a couch potato?
REALISTIC: Can you do this goal realistically with your lifestyle and resources? Do you have good walking shoes? Is there a place to walk at lunch, and do you have the time inyour work day. Would it be better to walk before work?
TIME: Define a time frame you will do this—give yourself a time goal—I will do this walking schedule for the next month.

So, write down your goal, think about what you need to accomplish it, and make a plan. Perhaps you want to share your intentions with others by being a part of DiabetesCare.net`s "Forums" community and write about your goals and progress. 
 

Reviewed by Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN - 05/13