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Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions – Wait a Couple of Months

A new year, 2016, is rapidly approaching, and it’s both customary and logical at this milestone to look back at 2015, and to look ahead as the calendar flips a page. Statistics say that more than half of us will make New Year’s resolutions as part of that “looking ahead” thing on January 1st, and those same statistics show less than 10% of us will achieve whatever goal we set. The most common general reason we fall short relates to the resolution itself – we set unrealistic expectations. Having spent most of my life in the northern half of the U.S., I tend to think the January, dead-of-winter timeframe plays a role too. So, I have a suggestion for your New Year’s resolution – postpone it for 2 ½ months.

I think the beginning of Spring is a more appropriate time for making a “new life” kind of commitment anyway. But more importantly, I have a January-February-March assignment for you that will help make your “vernal eqinox” resolution in March make more sense. On January 1st, 2016 begin keeping a daily record of all things that are important to managing diabetes – a diary (or journal, if you prefer). Record what you eat each meal, how active you were that day, whether or not you took your medication, how you slept, and any blood glucose readings. Keep this record for two months – January and February. Try to be accurate (a cheap pedometer is great for measuring activity), but don’t over-analyze things. This is a commitment to 5 minutes a day for 60 days.

In March, start looking for patterns – good patterns and not-so-good ones too. Think about what you might change to improve your diabetes management, preferably simple things like not skipping breakfast so often or setting a daily reminder for medication. Take your time – think about it seriously. Consider sharing your thoughts with a registered dietitian nutritionist or certified diabetes educator.

Then, on March 20th (the first day of Spring in 2016), make the commitment to change something for the better – your 2016 resolution. Your decision will be based upon the data you collected, so you’ll know it makes sense. And, the best surprise – if you simply continue to keep daily records you’re already supporting behavior change in a most effective way.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.