Guest blogger, Clarissa Rivera, RD, LD, CDE, is a Dietitian Diabetes Educator at the Texas Diabetes Institute in San Antonio, TX.
is the season for new year’s resolutions! During a follow-up call this week, a patient and I discussed how we often make new year’s resolutions without proper planning. As a result, we set goals and never reach them. Does a coach put their football players on the field without a game plan? No! We need to prepare and plan for success in order to be successful.
As I looked to my own goals, I realized that the demands of family, graduate school, and work had led to eating out more often and weight gain over the past year. A colleague recently mentioned she had not been to the doctor for an annual check-up in years. Another co-worker mentioned he had stopped exercising for months due to a busy schedule.
As educators we often challenge our patients to set their health as a priority. We also challenge patients to make meaningful changes to their diabetic management. Yet, how often do diabetes educators struggle with keeping their own health goals? This year trade in your new year’s resolutions for a successful game plan!
Game Planning 101
Step 1: Take a moment to decide which health goal you want to focus on this year.
Keep it simple and focus on one or two habits you want to change. If you desire a healthier weight, look at starting with one goal. For example, say to yourself, “I will start by taking a healthy lunch to work for the next month.” Maybe it’s time to get back to regular exercise.
Another simple goal could be, “I will take a 15 minute walk during my lunch break for the next two weeks.”
Step 2: Set SMART goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
For example say, “I will schedule my annual physical this week,” or “I will wear a pedometer and walk 5,000 steps daily for the next month.”
Step 3: Call in the reinforcements.
Find some support! Ask a friend to walk with you. Let your family know your weight loss goals. We know accountability works!
Step 4: Make it fun!
Start a department contest and see who can track the most steps this month. Another could be to join a new fitness class like Yoga or Zumba.
Step 5: Get Connected.
Join Pinterest and start collecting healthy recipes. Also add some new phone Apps like AADE’s Goal Tracker, Fitocracy (exercise log), MyFitnessPal (food diary, calorie counter), Sworkit (video exercises), and Breath2Relax (relaxation techniques).
Step 6: Keep track of your progress and set an end date.
Keep an exercise journal and/or food diary. Set up reminders on your mobile phone and office calendar. Once you've completed your goal, set a new one!
This year make your health a top priority. Set yourself up for success with a winning strategy!