Making my Goals a Habit

As Diabetes educators, we preach to our clients to convert healthy smart goals into habits to ensure long term success. Studies have shown that healthy goals and lifestyle modifications lead to improve health outcomes in managing and preventing Diabetes. Sure, it’s effective, but it’s not as easy as checking my Facebook page every 2 hours or so. I swear I’m trying to break that habit. A personal experience with a loved one recently diagnosed with Diabetes got me really thinking about what this really means, and the challenges involve in turning goals into habits.

Case in point, how do you get in the habit of sticking yourself every morning to check your blood sugar when the thought alone is enough to trigger an anxiety attack? Ok that’s a little extreme, but hopefully you get the point. Also, what about impulses or other existing habits that hinder the new goals from becoming habits. What gives? Finally, how do you effectively give up things you’ve done subconsciously most of your adult life to pick up new ones you do not necessary like but have been told is good for you?

Habits are defined as settled, regular practices or tendencies. They’re usually repetitive actions we take with minimum conscious awareness. How do you get to a place where healthy goals around Diabetes management become a part of your everyday life and something hard to give up?

We’ll have to start by acknowledging that habits don’t happen overnight but developed over a period. Experts mentioned a minimum of 66 days for any activity to become a habit. We should take time to understand and appreciate the habit we’re trying to eliminate or incorporate in our lives. What are the triggers and rewards obtained from the activity and the level of effort that will be required to make a change. It sure will require a conscious effort on our part, setting cues or reminders to help us be successful. Keep in mind that patience will be a major requirement as you give up bowls of chocolate chip ice-cream after dinner for plain yogurt or fresh fruits. Tears might be shed initially when you must get off the couch and go for brisk walks most days of the week. Support buddies will drive you crazy some days but will be ready with hugs and increase your chances for success. This will be a journey filled with ups and downs but staying the course ensures better health outcomes. Setting specific doable goals weekly is a good way to increase your chances. Years of experience has thought me to not be quick to judge but to be patient and willing to find new ways to assist clients and love ones develop new habits on their journey of living a healthy and fulling life.

Want more? Check out the following helpful web articles for fun ideas and tips. Please share your thoughts and insights, I’ll love to read your experience in turning healthy goals into habits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409

https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/about-diabetes/general-diabetes-information/setting-goals-for-healthy-living/