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Create Lasting Habits When Living With Diabetes

Create Lasting Habits When Living With Diabetes

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Constance Brown-Riggs

Among the finest approaches to developing latest habits is to begin small and construct upon successes over time. This fashion, you’ll be able to make lifestyle changes and create latest habits that last.

Goals comparable to eating healthier, getting more exercise, and taking higher care of ones’ self are common. Unfortunately, so is giving up on goals that feel unsustainable or unachievable. Most individuals fail at weight-reduction plan and lifestyle resolutions because they set unrealistic goals and wish more support as they strive to enhance their health.

Among the finest approaches to developing latest habits is to begin small and construct upon successes over time. This fashion, you’ll be able to make lifestyle changes and create latest habits that last.

Changing Health Behavior

Health behaviors, that are any actions or habits that contribute to maintaining, restoring, or improving overall health and wellness, are essential for managing diabetes. Some key diabetes health behaviors include self-monitoring blood glucose levels, eating a balanced weight-reduction plan, engaging in regular physical activity, taking medications as prescribed, and getting regular check-ups with a healthcare provider.

By adopting these behaviors, individuals with diabetes can higher manage their disease, reduce the danger of complications, and achieve positive mental and physical health.

“Behavior change is vital in diabetes care because it may possibly result in improved disease management, a greater quality of life, and enhanced self-care and self-management skill,” said diabetes specialist Megan Warnke, who lives with type 1 diabetes.

Nevertheless, despite the advantages of adopting diabetes health behaviors, research shows behavior change is difficult.

“Behavior is difficult to alter because most of us attempt to make too many changes directly,” said Dr. Lakeisha Gatling, a licensed social employee in Houston. “Along with making too many changes directly, we can also get trapped in considering patterns comparable to all or nothing considering, blaming, or negative mental filtering, which keeps us ‘stuck’ in maladaptive patterns of behavior which might prevent or delay change.”

In line with Dr. BJ Fogg, behavior scientist at Stanford University and creator of “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Every part,” behavior change doesn’t must be overwhelming or daunting.

In “Tiny Habits,” Fogg introduces a straightforward and practical approach to behavior change. He suggests you begin with a goal you need to achieve, break it down into small, achievable steps and discover where each step suits naturally in your life. Then, be certain that you’re taking the time to nurture each step, give yourself positive reinforcement for making progress, and rejoice whenever you reach milestones.

With enough practice and dedication, you’ll eventually find a way to make the behavior a component of your life. It’s going to come naturally without counting on willpower or motivation alone. And that’s where habit stacking is available in.

What’s Habit Stacking?

Habit stacking is a behavior change method created by Fogg that involves connecting an old habit to a brand new one. The habit stacking strategy is analogous to behavior change plans that outline how, when, and where to perform a behavior.

Nevertheless, habit stacking differs since you link the brand new behavior to a different habit as an alternative of a particular time and place.

Here’s the habit stacking formula: after/before [current behavior], I’ll [new habit].

For instance: After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I’ll meditate for one minute, or After I order at a restaurant, I’ll ask the server to place half the entre right into a “to go” box.

Stacking habits may be approached in several ways, and the nice news is that you just will not be limited to a single approach to habit stacking.

The Chain Method

“The chain method involves linking a brand new habit to an old habit,” Warnke said.

For instance, you need to start eating healthier snacks, so that you chain it to an existing habit like preparing lunch for work. “Each time you prepare lunch for work, you portion out nuts to take for a snack,” she said.

Using the formula the chain would read: After I prepare lunch for work, I’ll portion out nuts for a snack.

The Sequence Method

Sequencing involves doing a series of existing, related habits so as and adding a brand new one.

For instance, for those who’re seeking to increase your physical activity, Warnke suggested one of these sequence: After I get up and switch the shower on, I’ll perform 20 squats [the new habit], after which take a shower.

The Pairing Method

The pairing method involves combining two habits, so that they occur at the identical time. This method is especially effective whenever you use temptation bundling — linking a pleasurable behavior with an motion you might want to do.

For instance, in case your goal is to be more physically energetic and you like listening to your favorite playlist, Warnke advised that you just pair the 2 activities. “Take heed to your favorite playlist [existing pleasure] while out for a run [new behavior],” she said.

The right way to Start Stacking

Discover a trigger. Identifying a trigger is an important first step in habit stacking. A trigger is an motion or event that helps remind you to perform your required behavior, and it is going to often come from an existing every day routine. Choosing triggers which are already a part of your every day routine makes remembering and acting upon them easier. So start by creating an inventory of your current habits.

 “The secret is to seek out a behavior or habit that you just have already got almost on autopilot after which add a brand new one to it,” says diabetes educator Vandana Seth. “For instance, certainly one of my clients struggled with drinking water throughout the day. We discussed the concept of drinking at the very least one glass very first thing within the morning. Since he loved having his cup of coffee very first thing within the morning, I asked him to contemplate keeping a glass of water right by the coffeemaker, and while the coffee was brewing, he drank his glass of water. After doing this consistently for per week, he began to sit up for his glass of water.”

It’s also essential to make sure your trigger aligns along with your latest habit. “In case you’re trying to recollect to take your diabetes medication with breakfast every morning but only eat breakfast on the weekend, that habit will only occur on the weekend,” Warnke said.

Select a brand new habit. Start by stacking one latest habit with an already established one and perform the stack for one or two weeks. When you’ve got the hang of it, add one other habit to your stack. “Pick one or two latest habits you’d prefer to work on. Trying to alter all the things all of sudden may be overwhelming and make you less likely to achieve success,” Warnke said.

Be specific. At any time when setting latest goals or habits, attempt to be as specific as possible. “For instance, wanting to exercise more is a very good intention, nevertheless it doesn’t really explain how or whenever you will exercise more,” Warnke said. “As an alternative, take into consideration what exercise you’d prefer to do, how much time you’ll be able to realistically spend doing it, and what days or times would work best.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Trying different habits or stacking them otherwise can provide help to find essentially the most useful and sustainable routine. It’s also necessary to trace your progress and reflect on the habit-stacking process, so you’ll be able to determine what works best for you.

Aim for progress, not perfection. It will be important to do not forget that striving for perfection may be counterproductive with regards to lifestyle changes. As an alternative, deal with making progress and celebrating small wins. It may well take anywhere from just a few weeks to several months for a habit to grow to be automatic. “Changes aren’t going to occur overnight,” Warnke said. “Nevertheless, the small stuff you do each day to enhance your health will result in significant changes in the long term.”

Create accountability. For much more success with habit stacking, involve your diabetes support team. A support system could make all of the difference in helping you persist with your lifestyle goals. “Accountability and support play a key role in using habit stacking and seeing sustainable results,” Sheth said. “Dietitians might help guide clients with this process and collaborate on making a structure to the old and latest habits to construct consistency with healthy eating in addition to monitoring blood glucose.”

Finally, be patient. “While habit stacking may make it easier to keep up a habit, changes to lab results, diabetes symptoms, and weight still take time,” Warnke said. Lifestyle behavior change may be difficult, nevertheless it doesn’t must be overwhelming. Habit stacking is an approach that may provide help to set realistic goals and develop latest habits which have the potential to enhance your diabetes management and the standard of your life.


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