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Keep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits

Everyone looks to January 1 as a reset button to calibrate our systems with healthier routines and choices. The lists are always the same: exercise more, eat less, stop drinking, and watch less mindless TikTok videos.

Keep it Simple This Year with No Resolutions—Just Healthy Habits

If you have type 1 diabetes (T1D), your goals might be to lower your A1C, lose weight, or make your diabetes management a priority.

Instead of aiming for perfection this year, try setting new habits. The English author and philosopher Will Durant coined the famous phrase, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Consistency is Key

The meaning of consistency implies dependability. Whether on the job, in relationships or with diabetes management – consistency equals achievement. It may sound boring, but persistence is obtainable, not perfection—and persistence (good habits) results in success (excellence).

Diabetes, whether we like it or not, demands consistency.

Forming Healthy Habits

We’ve all heard that history repeats itself. It’s unrealistic to say no more carbs, no sugar, or couch potato behavior. Year after year, people start off January strong, only to lose motivation mid-February. According to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail for various reasons. We set unspecified goals without achievable planning. Also, setting expectations too high and not considering the how leaves people flat and discouraged. The key to remember when it comes to change, is that it’s a process.

How to Set Goals and Keep Them

Just as perfection is a prison, we cannot let ourselves off the hook by being lazy—whether it’s not exercising or checking our glucose numbers—when we hold ourselves accountable with small changes, these tiny adjustments produce big results over time.

If you need proof, watch how minor corrections affect your overall blood sugar levels, especially your A1C.

Try following these simple tips to help form new habits this year.  

Smart Goals to Promote Healthy Habits

Monitoring blood sugar levels

There are so many contingents with diabetes to consider when improving blood sugar levels and your A1C. Whether you wear an insulin pump or do multiple daily injections(MDIs) for your insulin therapy, it’s important to be aware of daily fluctuations outside your normal control range. For example, if a site stops working or you overcorrect for a high blood sugar level.

There’s a fine line between berating yourself with unrealistic standards versus ignoring repeated three a.m. highs.

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  

This can be applied to every area of our lives, especially diabetes. Focus on your strengths, talk with your doctor, and be proactive in making necessary adjustments.

Here are some more healthy lifestyle changes to improve your management in the coming new year.

Healthy Food Choices

Eating carbs and sugar doesn’t cause weight gain. However, too many calories consistently and insufficient exercise are proven to add extra pounds.

Tiny adjustments like filling up on more fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein-rich foods will keep you full longer and aid in weight loss.

Additionally, your heart will thank you for avoiding less fat, sodium, processed foods and fast food restaurants that contain added sugars, salt and highly refined carbohydrates. Also, it helps to read food labels. That so-called ‘low-fat’ yogurt may actually contain more fat grams than you think.

Pro Tip: Instead of correcting hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) by binging on sweets, chocolate and high-calorie soda—try raising your blood sugar with healthier options. Glucose gels, tablets and drinks are designed to get over hypos fast without causing an unavoidable high you’ll be chasing within hours.

Drink Water

Drink more water. Some Native Americans believe this essential chemical compound sustains life and has sacred elements. When you have T1D, water is vital for healthy hydration as it helps prevent high blood sugar levels. Water flushes out toxins and excess glucose from the blood, promotes healthy kidneys and regulates blood pressure. An American Diabetes Association (ADA) study reports that well-hydrated people are less likely to develop other chronic diseases and live longer than those who don’t drink enough agua. Talk with your doctor about how much to drink – it depends on a person’s age, weight, and activity level.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting at least seven hours of sleep at night is essential for physical and mental health. Proper rest is vital for diabetes management as it affects how your body responds to insulin. And the body’s ability to move glucose out of the blood.

What’s more, a good night’s sleep improves brain function and creativity while lowering the risk of stroke, dementia, obesity and heart disease.

For further information on the benefits of nightly shut-eye, check out these “8 Tips to Help You Sleep with Diabetes.”

Exercise

It’s been proven that exercise improves blood pressure and glucose levels and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Simply getting 7,500 steps a day is obtainable and beneficial to your mental health and happiness.

Beyond the physical benefits (weight control, increased energy and immune system boost),working out is good for the soul. A light daily walk lowers stress, increases endorphins and raises your vibration.

Reach out to the Diabetes Community

As overwhelming as diabetes can be, knowing you’re not alone is crucial. If you’re feeling depressed or have a blood sugar issue—no one understands better what you’re going through than someone in the diabetes community. DiabetesSangha offers free online meditation sessions. You can find additional classes and resources on their website.

Coping with diabetes can feel isolating, especially if you build walls and keep your diabetes a secret. It’s okay to be a private person, but life can be challenging, and it helps to know there is an online world at your fingertips. Groups, forums, and websites are full of resources you can access as little or as much as you want.

Realistic Targets

It may be an oxymoron to think about the big picture while taking life one day at a time, but truthfully, it’s vital to do both. Significant results are inevitable when you shift your focus to one or two daily achievements. Keep a journal of your progress and congratulate yourself on small victories. So be it!

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