As people celebrate the holidays and overindulge, thoughts turn to making better choices during the year ahead. The start of another year often makes people review their current behaviors and consider ways to improve them. Consider a few creative New Year resolutions that could improve your diabetes management and overall well-being.

  • Visit your regular physician at least 2 to 4 times a year. Schedule an annual checkup with the eye doctor and podiatrist and bi-annual exams with the dentist. Inquire if you should be seeing these doctors more often. Create a list of your diabetes medications along with a schedule. Follow the schedule to the letter for the best possible results. Keep a copy in your wallet at all times. Make sure to get a microalbumin test [urine test] and renal function[blood test] test each year. Get a flu shot early in the fall.
  • Know your numbers to track when it comes to keeping diabetes and other conditions controlled. Verify the numbers related to your blood pressure, cholesterol and A1C. Stick to the schedule provided by your doctor for checking blood sugar levels. Make a resolution to record the numbers during home testing and report irregularities to your doctor right away. Know the warning signs of high or low blood sugar and how to respond to them.
  • Establish a well-balanced meal plan with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, packaged cakes and cookies and salty snacks as well as alcoholic beverages and regular soda. Schedule an appointment with a diabetes nurse, dietitian or educator to help you get on the right track.
  • Include 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. A simple start is a walk every day. Walk a little further each day to boost your fitness level. Use an Omron pedometer to determine how far you are walking. Mix up your exercise routine with tai chi or yoga classes. Join a local gym to keep working out in snowy or hot weather. Invest in an exercise machine or workout DVDs to use at home. Play games and sports with the kids in your life to stay active.
  • Examine your current hygiene and habits to make improvements. Quit smoking in the New Year. Resolve to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. Bathe each day with lukewarm water and mild soap. Use a gentle moisturizer to avoid dry skin. Check your feet each day for cuts, sores and blisters. Always wear shoes including slippers around the house and pool shoes when you are by the water. Get rid of flip-flops and open shoes that may cause foot problems. Invest in comfortable shoes and diabetic socks for healthy and happy feet.
  • Share your New Year resolutions and goals. This makes it more likely you will follow through on them. It also helps to get the support of your friends, family and business associates. Help others with their New Year resolutions and it is sure to improve your own mood.
  • Deal with stress immediately. Do stretching exercises and take several deep breaths when you feel anxious. Get seven or eight hours of sleep each night. Avoid drinking beverages with caffeine that may make you feel jumpy. Make time for relaxation and recreational activities with other people. If feelings of stress or depression persist for several weeks, schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss them.

The New Year is a perfect time to reassess your behaviors and find ways to improve them. Establish definitive goals and take small steps each day to achieve them. With a bit of effort, you will be amazed at how much better your life will be next year!