How to Get UnStuck if You’re in a Diabetes Rut
Last updated: March 2022
We all get in a rut from time to time. The gap between knowing what we need to do and actually doing it can be a big divide at times. This is true of things beyond diabetes but is so common in diabetes self-care. Part of my job is to help you redefine your goals and jump-start your self-care again - basically get out of that rut.
How to reset type 2 diabetes goals
So, here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years that may just help you:
1. Be curious
Too often I think we structure diabetes self-care in a way that’s strait-laced and regimented. It doesn’t allow for exploration, failure without guilt, or experimental learning. Those pieces are just as important in understanding how diabetes affects you. For example, have you fallen off the blood sugar checking bandwagon? Try monitoring your blood sugars around something that you’re curious about - maybe your favorite beer, or a new type of exercise.
2. Be okay with the middle ground
Sometimes it can seem diabetes management has to be all or nothing. You either do it or you don’t. I find myself reminding people there’s a lot of in-between that equates to success, too. For example, struggling to be active and feeling pressure to get to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week? Recognize that shifting from no activity to even 1 or 2 days a week, is more beneficial than none!
3. Narrow your goals
I find someone struggling to manage diabetes is trying to do everything at once. It can feel overwhelming. It can be exhausting. And it can feel like nothing is working. When that happens, reduce your expectations for yourself and start small. For example, forgetting to take your diabetes medications? Narrow your energy to just one time of day - try making sure you get your meds in at least at breakfast, with any meds taken the rest of the day being a bonus. Build on your routine from there until you reach your goal of taking all your medication on a regular basis.
4. Re-evaluate if your plan is sustainable or realistic
Too often, I’ve seen those newly diagnosed with diabetes (or who have a life-changing experience), have a sudden desire to overhaul everything in their life. This can work for some, but for many the number and severity of all those changes is unsustainable. The ultimate result typically means giving up completely on diabetes self-care and feeling like a failure. If you’re in this position, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Take a step back. Take a breath. And ask yourself, with what’s on your plate, what’s a reasonable, long-term plan for your diabetes management?
In summary, you’re human. It’s okay to be in a rut sometimes. And if you find you have trouble getting out of it, try one of these techniques, or visit with a local diabetes care and education specialist.
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