Tell Yourself a New Story
We are entering a New Year. Are you ready to achieve your health and diabetes goals? Success may be as simple as changing the story you tell yourself each day.
Gabe gets up every morning and tells himself the same story: “I am a person who can’t stick to anything. I don’t follow my diet. I forget to check my blood and I don’t always take my diabetes pills. I’m hopeless. I should tell my doctor to save his advice for someone who can do what he says.”
When members of his health care team ask him to take on a new health behavior, he already assumes he will fail. But is he really someone who can’t stick to anything? Is it worth even trying to set diabetes goals? I met with Gabe and asked him to list a few things that he does on a regular basis. He listed the following:
- I go to work each day.
- I call my mom once a week to see how she is doing.
- I attend church Sunday mornings.
- I brush my teeth several times a day and floss every evening.
Gabe completes these behaviors each week, without fail. He does them because they are important to him. He doesn’t realize that he really is a doer. He can stick to certain actions and get them done. Once he realized this, he became much more open to trying the diabetes care behaviors that his health care team has suggested.
Does your personal story keep you from reaching your diabetes goals? Take the following steps that I used with Gabe:
1. Write your personal story. Here is an example:
“I am a person who …can’t stop eating”
2. Now, take your story and prove it wrong. List the times when you DO stop eating - on the phone, in the car, at a concert, in a library, at the doctor’s office, etc. You are definitely able to stop eating... when you feel it is important to do so.
3. Next, correct your story to reflect the real truth about yourself:
“I am a person who CAN stop eating when I want to.”
4. Gabe made some changes and you can too. Don’t take a huge step, but choose a small behavior. For example, follow your meal plan for breakfast only. Once you do that for several days, add lunch to your list. Eventually, you should be able to expand your life changes to include all meals and snacks.
What kind of story do you tell yourself each day? Is it an accurate one? Does it prevent you from taking care of your diabetes? Don’t let the story that you tell yourself keep you from caring for your health and your diabetes. Set diabetes goals and then change your story to reflect who you really are. Have a wonderful 2009!
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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