impact the liver, kidneys, heart, eyes, and even your limbs. Research tells us that diabetic health is responsive to nutrition, stress management, and exercise. So if negative health indica- tors for diabetics can be found in such a wide range of areas, then managing diabetes requires an equally whole-person approach to health.
3. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for heart health. That is, set goals that are: S.pe
cific, M.easurable, A.ctionable, R.easonable, and T. ime-Bound. Common key areas of concern for you may include managing blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. Each of these is quantifiable, which makes it that much easier to look at where you are now and set a specific, measurable number for where you want to be in the future.
4. Pick small action steps that add up. While goals like lower- ing your A1C by two points capture the big idea of where you’d like to see your health, it’s the little steps of getting there that matter most. For example, if you want to lower your A1C, you might decide to exercise outside for 30 minutes, three times every week, or to eat one plant-based meal everyday. These steps may be challenging in the moment, but over time, they will bring you towards the health goals you want to achieve.
5. Engage your support network. Because we think of diabetes and heart health as medical concerns, the first support networks we tend to think of are doctors and other medical professionals. But these conditions are also social concerns. They affect our capacity to live independently, to engage in our communities, and to spend time with our families and friends. Reach out beyond your medical support team for friends, family members, and neighbors who can help you stay accountable towards achieving your goals.
6. Plan ahead for rainy days and sugar cravings. The reality of any sort of lifestyle change is that it’s a journey full of obstacles. These opportunities test our resolve towards achieving the outcomes we desire, and provide us with the chance to outgrow old habits. Plan ahead for how you’ll stay accountable to your goals before these challenges come up. Your backup plan may be as simple as investing in home exercise equipment or car- rying a healthy snack around with you.
7. Get in the habit of celebrating small successes. I saved this step for last because I think you’ll find it’s the most important. When we set big goals for ourselves, it’s easy to get discouraged by every setback. We might set out to exercise three times a week, but only actually do it once. The key to success is to celebrate that one achievement because ultimately it was one more workout this week than you did the week before, and that’s progress. Big lifestyle changes like lowering A1C don’t happen overnight. They’re made from rainy days and weeks where you only got one third of the way to where you hoped to be, but then pushed yourself to try again the next day. Healthier living is a journey where every step counts.
Pat Mosley is an integrative health and life coach, now accepting new clients at 123 S Walnut Circle in Greensboro, NC on Mon- days, Thursdays, and Fridays. Visit iamcoachpat.co
m for more information.
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