Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Motivation to change

A strange thing happened a few weeks ago.  I suddenly became very motivated to conquer my diabetes.  After struggling for 10 years, suddenly I had a renewed incentive to change my eating habits and workout routine. Why now?  What exactly happened in that clinic that suddenly inspired me to change and could I use the same methods to help change other things in my life also?

I struggled for 10 years to manage my diabetes.  There were times that I was a somewhat motivated to do something but I never really knew exactly what to do.  I was given plenty of information but was not confident in how to proceed.  The truth is that the world, culture that I live in, constantly puts pressure on me to do just the opposite of what I need to do.  The speed of life, diet, commercials, everything temps us away from what we need to be healthy.  Some of it is obvious, while most is so subtle we have a hard time even knowing when to say no.  

I floated along until I reached a point where I knew I needed to change or I faced severe health consequences.  People are usually not motivated to change unless they reach a point of desperation.  For me I had recently had unusually high and low blood sugar readings and was feeling lethargic and ill at times.  I knew I needed to change my eating habits and exercise more, but I did not have the energy to workout like I needed to.  A relative suggested I try the Diabetes of America clinic to get specialized treatment.  
At the clinic I was able to get immediate results and feedback of my blood tests.  The doctor sat with me and asked questions about what I ate, my workout habits and gave me great feedback to what was causing my problems.  I understood exactly what the problem was now and how to beat it.
The Doctor convinced me that it was possible to change, adjusted my medication to solve the immediate problem and gave me a vision of what was possible with a reasonable amount of change.  I was given a new meter to test my blood sugar and introduced to a new way to keep track.  
The nutritionist gave me a goal and a plan to reach that goal.  I now know what I can do and have the plan to do it.  I have a goal and will be held accountable to change.  Since then I have been consistent in taking and recording my blood sugar levels.  I am eating better and working out more.  The positive results were immediate.  Better blood sugar results and I am feeling much better without the highs and lows.  And I've stayed on track for the first three weeks.

From this experience I can discern the ingredients that helped motivate me to change.
1.  Must be motivated to change.  Without a strong need or desire to change, ie. health, relationships, faith etc. a person will not change.
2.  Must have correct knowledge of the problem.  Truth is powerful.  If you have any doubt, you will more than likely not follow through.
3.  A reasonable vision of what can be done.  What does victory look like.  Without a clear and reasonable goal, one will not pursue change.  
4.  A plan to accomplish that goal.  Sometimes small steps are the best.  If we can get some immediate accomplishment, it helps to motivate us to go on.  
5.  An accountability to see that it gets accomplished.  We need a person to hold us accountable.

Discussion question
What motivates you?  Who are the key players in your life that motivate you to change and hold you accountable?  Is it possible to change without any of these key components?

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