Diabetes To-Do List
Its hard to cross things off of a lifelong task list
September 2008 —It seems that I have a never ending "to do" list to help me move towards better health and diabetes management. It is a mental list, not something I keep on paper or on the computer. Maybe if I had taken some time to actually write things down, I would have recognized a pattern earlier (sounds like my logbook!) and tried to make some changes.
What I recognized is that this list is full of things like "eat better," "try harder," and "focus more" - it is chock full of negative implications (that I eat bad, don't try hard enough, and lack focus)! What do those kinds of mental messages do for me? They make me feel like I am a failure. It doesn't take much of that attitude before my energy and willpower start to dwindle away, and the next thing you know I'm being sucked down the negative spiral of depression!
I know that all of us have lists of things we want to improve on – it comes as part of our lives with diabetes. I am in charge of managing my diabetes, which at its most basic level breaks down to making good decisions as often as I can. There are many things that I can't control (or even manage), but if I can make good decisions with those things I can manage, I will be in a better place.
I think it can be a really good thing to be growing and always stretching to be something better. But there are a few things that make my list a liability rather than something beneficial.
I guess the reasons are all interwoven to a point, but I have to start somewhere. The items are all very vague and because of that ambiguity, it is impossible to measure success. How can I ever mark something as complete and get it off my list? If I can break it down to some single task, I can take that on, do it, and cross it off. How can I feel that I'm making progress on something? My list is set up to be a constantly growing to do list, and the items are huge! Those are never good.
The next time I can summon up some motivation and energy I am going to attack this mental list I've got going and totally revamp it. It will be full of small, measurable items (try a new food this week, take one walk after work before Wednesday), and it will be an active list. I'll make it something I check things off of and add things onto all the time. It will be what corporate folk like to call "a living document." Instead of holding me hostage, it will serve me, and instead of draining me, it will empower me.
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dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.
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