Getting Started with Lifestyle Changes


Getting Started with Lifestyle Changes

If you’re a person with diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol you might be using medications to help with these conditions. And your provider may have mentioned that in addition to taking medications, you should also make some lifestyle changes. But do you know where to start with this? Read on to find out.

What lifestyle changes should I make?

Deciding to take control of your health by making lifestyle changes can feel very powerful. It can also feel overwhelming. The list of changes you can make is long and there is so much information that it can be hard to know what’s what. Here’s our list of the main areas where changes can be made to improve your health.

  1. Diet
  2. Activity
  3. Alcohol
  4. Smoking
  5. Stress
  6. Sleep

How can I make changes?

Each of us has long standing behaviors related to most, it not all, of the categories on this list above. A good long term goal is to decide to make changes in each category so you are doing all you can to live your best life. A great short term goal is to pick one category on the list to start with (for example, sleep or activity).

Once you’ve decided what category you are going to tackle first take the following approach:

  1. Pay attention to and learn what your current habits are.
  2. Identify changes that can be made.
  3. Write down why you want to make a change
  4. Pick 1 or 2 small changes to make. An example would be, going to bed at the same time each night to get enough sleep or walking for 15 minutes after dinner.
  5. Brainstorm some ideas for how to make the changes.
  6. Choose an idea to try.
  7. Ask yourself if it worked. If not, try a different idea.

Changing behaviors takes time and patience. You may not get it on the first try. It’s important to keep trying. Keep learning about things that can help you and support you as you take control of your life for your health.

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