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Do You Have a Vision for Your Type 2 Diabetes Health?

Imagine living your best life with type 2 diabetes. What would that look like? How would you feel? What experiences would you pursue? What would you do regularly? What would you avoid?

Shifting focus away from numbers

These are questions that target the aspirational and empowering. And they differ from the standard way we're expected to think about and set personal health goals.

Instead of focusing on a specific measurement like blood glucose readings or A1C results, these questions challenge us to envision what our individual "healthy life" looks like and decide what is most important to us.

We might find that having the energy to walk the dog every day or play with the grandchildren really tugs at us. Or it might be about feeling confident enough to take that trip to Italy, the lake, or that class reunion. It's definitely about rolling out of bed in the morning and looking forward to the day.

Envision the quality of life you want

By envisioning the quality of life we want, our attention shifts to the feelings and experiences that matter to us instead of a lab result number. What we focus on is highly personal, empowering, and very motivating.

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Why consider a health vision?

When we tap into how we experience our health, we tap into a different part of what nurtures and motivates us. We focus on our personal values and want to experience and achieve.

Lab results are still important

Don't get me wrong, the traditional goals like glucose levels and A1C results have their place when you have type 2 diabetes. They provide us with tangible, quantifiable information on the effect our diabetes management is having. But they tend to stand separate from what we experience day-to-day, emotionally and somatically.

When glucose levels are well managed, we reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, retinopathy, or neuropathy. The promise is for a longer life with fewer ailments.

Your daily actions matter too

But what if our A1C stays on target, but our daily routine is so restrictive that we can't fully participate in a family celebration? Or if we end up giving up our favorite hobby? Or if every day was exactly the same as the one before?

By focusing solely on our lab results, we can lose track of our quality of life.

Ideally, we want both: high-quality health and high-quality life.

Achieving both: High-quality life and health

By adding a health vision to our health goals, we begin to articulate what makes for a high quality of life while still managing type 2 diabetes. Coupling a vision with specific, measurable goals encourages a well-rounded, holistic approach—one that includes health and self-care, provides motivation beyond tracking your numbers, and is highly personalized and more personally meaningful.

When we combine our visualization of what we want with the actions we will take to get there, we create a motivating link between our tangible actions and the results we want.

Crafting your health vision

Take a minute, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Imagine a healthier, happier you. Then, put into words what that looks like and how you get there.

An example

Here's an example of what a health vision could look like:

I want to have enough energy to take care of my work and family and not be physically exhausted at the end of every day. That looks like getting to bed on time, so I get enough sleep. It also means I take my medication every day, recharge by taking breaks, eat a nourishing lunch that gives me energy for the afternoon, and say "no" to plans and activities that drain my energy and enthusiasm. 

What would your health vision be?

A statement like this clarifies what we can do to experience the kind of health we want. It clearly states what we'll do specifically. It has an aspirational tone while still being grounded in realistic optimism.

What's your health vision for your life with type 2 diabetes? Feel free to share it in the comments.

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