By Charlie G ❘ 2013

Diabetes. A world of possibilities coverThis is chapter 4 of my book “DIABETES. A world of possibilities”, which I’m publishing here for free. You can access all the chapters published until now here.

In health, as in any other sphere of our lives, the first thing we must have clear is why we want to be healthy, or lose weight, or overcome a disease, because that motivation is what will give us the strength to continue forward every day, and is what we use in moments of weakness.

Many productivity theories teach that, in order to reach something, we have to set goals and write them down on paper or a computer, read them each day, and stay focused on the achievement of those objectives.
While I agree with these theories, I believe that having a clear goal does not help much without having clear reason why you want to get it.

Maybe it has something to do with human nature, which for thousands of years has been trying to find answers to the whys of things. This curiosity about how things work and about the causes, events, and phenomena of life seems to be the spark that ignites the interest and motivation of inventors, explorers, and scientists.

If that is true, it would not be surprising that we need to know the reason why we want to be healthy to activate all the forces in our body-mind-spirit to achieve what we want and desire.

One of the most famous theories about the achievement of goals is called S.M.A.R.T. These letters are an acronym of the concepts behind this theory. That is, according to Edwin A. Locke, the author of this theory, to facilitate the achievement of goals, these should be:

Specific: Goals should be as specific as possible. That is, instead of having the goal “get healthy,” you could write the goal “lose 10 pounds in weight.”
Measurable: Goals must be measurable by you or by someone else. For example, “every two months, I lose 2 pounds.“
Achievable: The goal you set must be achievable. Saying “I want to lose 20 pounds in one month” is not very realistic.
Relevant: Your goal must be important to you.
Time framed: It is very important to have an end date in order to check whether it was achieved or not. For instance, “On December 31st 2013, I will have lost 10 pounds.” Just as it is important not to put a date too close in time to be unreal, it should not be too far away in time, either.

An example of a poorly declared goal would be: “I want to have my blood sugar better controlled.”
An example of an appropriate and effective goal could be: “On December 31st 2013, my (HbA1c) will have decreased from 8% to 6.5% through proper diet and regular exercise.

The next question to ask yourself would be, “why do I want the HbA1c to be 6.5%?” Each person will have their own whys, but those could be: to reduce the risk of retinopathy; to avoid the symptoms of having high blood sugar; to keep my kidneys working well for many years; to be in a better mood and be able to actively play with my children; to live more years; to keep my libido and enjoy the sex life with my wife/husband.
Probably, reading these examples of whys woke your motivation much more than just reading the above goal without the whys. If these examples do not motivate you, find your own reasons why (in case you are pursuing a similar goal).

The practical part of this section might be thinking and writing the goal/s you intend to achieve and write the whys next to them. Then, place the list somewhere you can see it and read it every day, preferably in the morning before you start your daily routine.

That will help you make better decisions concerning your goal during the day.

Once the goal is clear, next you can write the necessary steps to achieve it. These steps will be like small goals that you will be achieving on the way to your goal.

For instance, if your ultimate goal is to make a particular type of diet, you could start by changing breakfasts, then lunches, and finally dinners. At this point, everyone has to know himself and act accordingly. In my case, I am all-or-nothing—that is, when I start a diet, I do it one hundred percent instead of gradually. Although, I have sometimes felt overwhelmed by so much change at once and stopped following the diet.
So, act on your goals and on the steps of the process in a way that fits your personality.

Dedicating this time to think and search in your mind and/or soul the answers to your why could be the most important thing you do to change your health and enjoy a healthier and happier life.

Furthermore, motivation gives you more optimism and hope (1), which in turn stimulates your immune system, helping you to live longer and healthier.

Decide to be healthier and refuse to be dominated by your diabetes.

(1) Arnott, T. (2004) Dr. Arnott’s 24 Realistic Ways to Improve Your Health, Nampa/Idaho: Pacific Press, p. 19.

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