by CJ Walker
Medically Reviewed by:
Tiffany Taft, PsyD
by CJ Walker
Medically Reviewed by:
Tiffany Taft, PsyD
Managing type 2 diabetes may mean you need to make a complete lifestyle change. It’s easy to feel like it’s too much to handle, but you have the power to keep moving forward.
Let’s face it — it can be difficult to live with diabetes. It takes so much trial and error to manage our condition.
Diabetes can be demanding, draining, and consume a large part of our time, no matter how much we try to deny it.
When you’re dealing with a demanding condition like diabetes, it’s easy to get discouraged and unmotivated. It’s especially difficult when you don’t see results from the diligent work you put into managing the disease.
I can personally attest to this. As a busy wife, mom, and nonprofit organization founder, living with diabetes has been extremely difficult for me at times. The demands of managing diabetes — which required a complete lifestyle change — became too much to handle for me, and I became easily discouraged.
Despite the difficulties of managing diabetes, I never gave up. I’ve learned how to stay the course despite adversity and have found ways to motivate myself to keep moving forward.
What can you do to motivate and encourage yourself? Here are 6 tips that I’ve found to be helpful in keeping my spirits high.
The attitude you have matters! Your situation may not change, but you can change how you think about it and what you do with it.
A positive attitude makes coping with daily hassles easier. By adjusting our perspective, accepting our diagnosis, and focusing on the positive aspects of our lives, we can choose to adjust to our new reality.
To shift my thinking, I first had to accept my diagnosis. Then, I recognized that the lifestyle changes I needed to make would help me become healthier and more able to support my family and community.
When we accept that we have an illness, it doesn’t mean we give up and let it destroy us. We accept it for what it is, and we’re willing to do what we must in order to get through it.
Despite your diagnosis, don’t let it define you. It is up to us to make the most of where we are. That requires change. And in order to change, you need confidence, mental effort, and a sense that it’s important enough to make a change.
To stay motivated in the long run, you must find the right “why” behind your actions. The reason you do what you do must be strong enough for you to keep doing it.
My husband and my children are my constant motivations to keep going on this diabetes journey.
Whenever you find yourself unmotivated and discouraged, just remember your “why.” Remind yourself of everything you’ve faced and all that you’ve gained and accomplished on your journey thus far.
You’ll realize that you have more than enough strength to keep going.
Find your “why” by creating a written or digital list of why you want to manage diabetes. Then keep that list in a conspicuous place so you can motivate and encourage yourself as much as you need.
Managing diabetes requires strategies that make success easier than failure. To prevent diabetes distress and burnout, keep your diabetes management goals short instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.
Make sure your plan works for you rather than the other way around. If you keep missing your goals, perhaps you have set the bar too high. That can easily get you discouraged.
Whenever you find yourself unmotivated and discouraged, just remember your “why.”
Set small, achievable goals rather than aiming for bigger ones. Steps that are small, manageable, and decisive are the key to success.
Keeping your focus on one or two goals will help you remain positive, allowing you to be in control of your situation, which boosts motivation.
Diabetes management requires discipline, focus, and multitasking. Balancing food, activity, and medications on a daily basis can be challenging.
Give yourself more credit for showing up every day and not giving up. Refrain from criticizing yourself when things don’t go well. Instead, pat yourself on the back when things do go well — even if they’re small wins.
Whenever you achieve a small victory, reward yourself and celebrate! It’s more likely that you’ll achieve your goals if you can celebrate small victories along the way.
Seek out diabetes-related inspiration by connecting with others living with diabetes.
Know someone who’s doing a great job treating diabetes? Build a support network. Find out what they eat, how they live, and how they feel while taking care of themselves. Then check with your healthcare team to see if what they’re doing could work for you.
The comfort that comes from knowing that you’re not alone with diabetes and are surrounded by others is a great way to stay motivated.
Make it a priority to take some time for yourself amid all of the diabetes management you need to do.
You still need to take time to remind yourself that you are a person outside of diabetes. Find something you’re passionate about and take the time to pursue it.
It’s more likely that you’ll achieve your goals if you can celebrate small victories along the way.
The more involved you are in activities that fuel your energy, the easier it will be to stay motivated. Self-care also includes taking time for yourself and doing activities that support you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Remember that everything you do to manage your diabetes is making a tremendous difference in the quality of your life now and into the future.
The fact that we have diabetes cannot be changed, but we can change the narrative.
Maintaining a positive outlook, setting simple, attainable goals, being surrounded by a supportive network, and taking time for yourself will help you stay motivated and encouraged while managing diabetes.
Managing your health conditions doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you’re taking care of your condition and doing your best, that’s all that matters.
If feeling discouraged or unmotivated starts seeming like too much to handle, or you start to feel hopeless, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. Help is available. Reach out to a mental health professional or supportive community. Learn how to find support here.
Medically reviewed on December 22, 2022
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About the author
CJ Walker, a mom of three and wife from Virginia, has been living with type 2 diabetes since 2019. She’s a fervent advocate for chronic illness, especially diabetes. Diabetes stigma, awareness, and prevention are at the forefront of her advocacy efforts, as well as chronic illness discrimination in the workplace, healthcare, and education. In addition to her work with The Genetic Diabetic Blog, she’s been published on Type2Diabetes.com, The Mighty, and Medium.