By KELLY CHAMBERS, MS, RD, CDE
Special to HRN
Making behavior changes can be very hard. This is whether we have diabetes, are at risk for diabetes or want to make healthier choices. Even though we may know how important it is to make a change, it can be hard to get started with that new habit.
Many of us take on too many changes at one time. This often sets us up for failure. Just one or two small changes can lead to big differences. Walking 10 minutes a day or limiting portions at meals may help delay or prevent developing Type 2 diabetes. It can also improve blood sugar levels for people that already have Type 2 diabetes.
To get started making changes, set a goal or make an action plan. When making your action plan, use the SMART criteria below to help improve your success rate.
Also, remember to make sure that it is your action plan or goal — not what you think your doctor or your family would suggest you do.
After setting your action plan, give yourself a score between one and 10. The score reflects how confident you are that you can achieve this plan. If you score is under six, you might want to revise the plan so that your confidence level is higher.
S: Be specific about your goal including what, why and how.
M: Make sure your goal is measurable, so you know when you reach your goal.
A: All goals need to be attainable. Do not over commit to something you know will be very hard to achieve.
R: Ask yourself if this plan is realistic. You want set a goal that is doable, so you can be successful.
T: Set a time period for reaching your goal.
Some examples of SMART goals may include:
I will walk for 10 minutes during lunch break on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next four weeks.
I will plan and record dinners five nights a week for the next two weeks.
I will test my blood sugar every night at bedtime for the next two weeks.
Remember it takes a number of weeks to develop a new habit. It is common to have a few slip-ups along the way. Do not beat yourself up over it. Try to figure out the slip-ups that stopped you from reaching your goal. Then list some solutions to overcoming those slip-ups, or barriers.
If you are having trouble setting goals or overcoming barriers, consider setting up an appointment with a diabetes educator or dietitian. Most insurance companies will cover diabetes education.
Also, many insurance companies are adding weight management counseling as a covered benefit.
Here are two free events on Nov. 14 for Diabetes Month at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital:
n Pre-diabetes class: 3-4:30 p.m.
n Cooking Demonstration by Chef Chris Smith
“The Diabetic Chef”: 5:30-7 p.m.
To register, call 541-387-6379
For more information, call Providence Diabetes Educator Kelly Chambers at 541-387-6379 or visit www.providence.org/diabetes.