Resolutions can be made at any point in the year, but the New Year is a popular time to establish changes to improve our lifestyle. Coming up with resolutions and setting goals can be effective steps to improve health, for people with or without diabetes.
Key areas of goal setting for diabetes management include eating healthier, being more physically active, and engaging in other healthy behaviours to improve blood glucose control, such as regularly monitoring blood glucose levels. You can read more about these in the Kraft Diabetes Centre. Whatever your resolution is, you can use the following strategies to make it a reality:
- Be specific and realistic. Specific goals are easier to define, measure, and achieve than general goals. For instance, “be more active” is general and “walk for half an hour 6 days a week” or “join a health club and workout out three days per week” are specific. The goal you set should also be something you’re willing and able to do.
- Keep it small and simple. Small, simple changes are easier to accomplish and can make a big difference in achieving an overall healthier lifestyle. For instance, swapping your lunchtime pop for water or 2% milk, or adding a 15 minute walk to your lunch break, are small steps in the right direction.
- Make your goals measurable on a timeline. Measurable goals allow you to measure progress, which will encourage you to stay on track. A timeframe is important to create a sense of urgency. For instance, if your resolution is to eat more fish a goal may be: once per week, I will choose a salmon salad sandwich for lunch.
- Enlist the support of others. Get family, friends, and co-workers on board with your goals to help make them a reality. For example, start a walking group on your lunch break, regularly go for a coffee and stroll with a friend, or make a point of adding more vegetables to everyone’s plates at dinnertime. Health professionals like dietitians and personal trainers may also be useful supports to help meet your goals.
- Celebrate your successes. Making lifestyle changes isn’t easy, so reward yourself when you reach your goals. For instance, buy a new book, gym shoes, or some other item you’ve been eyeing.
- Leave room for life’s indulgences. Part of engaging in a healthy lifestyle is allowing yourself to partake in life’s indulgences, whether it’s chocolate cake or the odd glass of wine. Be realistic when setting goals to allow for these. Don’t be discouraged if you sway from your path – just plan to make up for it!