12 Easy Health Goals
For many, a new year means a fresh start. It’s a time to make resolutions, set goals, and promise to make this year different. But then a few months pass and suddenly those big, lofty ideas start to feel overwhelming and take a back seat. However, your health and diabetes management shouldn’t fall to the wayside, no matter what time of year.
In 2023, try focusing on building new healthy habits one month at a time. These smaller goals will be more attainable and will keep things feeling fresh, exciting, and motivating to stay on track. By the end of 2023, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle! These sorts of lifestyle changes will also do wonders to improve your diabetes management and overall wellbeing.
Below are 12 goal ideas to consider for the new year. You can customize the list to best suit your needs, focus on one each month, come up with new ones, or tweak them to make them something you want to achieve. You can even invite a buddy or family member to join you on this journey!
January–Focus on the Diabetes Plate Method Way of Eating
The Diabetes Plate Method is a simple, but effective way of eating for people with diabetes. To use the Diabetes Plate Method, fill half of your plate or meal with non-starchy vegetables, such as greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, or broccoli. Then fill one quarter of your plate with lean protein like fish, plant-based proteins, turkey, or chicken. Finally, the last quarter of your plate is dedicated to starches and carbs. Whole grains are a great option, or starchy veggies like potatoes, fruits, or dairy products.
February – Read Nutrition Labels
Reading nutrition labels is an easy step in learning more about healthy eating habits. They are small but mighty pieces of information about the foods you are fueling your body with. First, always look at the serving size. Many times an item may seem like it is low in calories or carbs, but the serving size is tiny. Learning how to decode food labels will go a long way in learning how to eat right.
March–Learn About Your Health
This is a great opportunity to learn about why and how you can live a better, healthier lifestyle. Learning about the why can provide motivation to keep on your health journey every day. Diabetes.org is a great resource to learn more about diabetes and its complications. For tips and tricks on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, sign up for the Healthy Living e-newsletter.
April–Get More Steps
Spring is a great time to buckle down on increasing your physical activity. Walking is a fantastic way to get healthy that doesn’t involve any special equipment or location—you can do it anywhere! Be sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes and start increasing your steps. You can invest in an inexpensive pedometer or use a free phone app to monitor your daily steps and push yourself little by little to increase that number each day.
May–Start Meal Planning
Meal planning is a great way to manage diabetes because you know exactly what you are going to eat and when. Prepping food ahead of time also means you’ll be less likely to stop at the nearest fast-food joint because you’ll already have food ready at home. If you have a Diabetes Food Hub® account, you can use the meal planner option to make it even easier to plan ahead!
June–Hydrate the Right Way
There is no way around it, water is simply the best way to stay hydrated, especially in the hot summer months. At the very least, start to cut out drinks like soda, sweet tea, and iced lattes. They are packed with sugar that will raise your blood glucose (blood sugar) and derail your diabetes management plan. Instead, try focusing on having at least a glass of water with each meal and increase your water consumption from there.
July–Eat Lean Meat
The summer is a great time to grill, but those beefy burgers and hot dogs can have negative impacts on your health. Instead, try grilled chicken, shrimp, or even a grilled vegetable napoleon the next time you fire up the grill. Did you know you can even grill romaine lettuce? If you are feeling extra motivated, try incorporating meatless Mondays!
August–Try New Exercises
Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to fitness. There are plenty of different options, from fitness classes, lifting weights, and even video games! Just remember, when you start new exercises, be sure to get started safely and be mindful of any diabetes complications you may have that could be impacted.
September–Prioritize Your Mental Health
Having a chronic disease like diabetes not only takes a toll on your physical body, but also on your mental wellbeing. People with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing depression, especially women. So, use this month to make time for self-care. There are plenty of ways to ease your stress like journaling, meditating, or simplifying your routine.
October–Use New Recipes
Healthy eating does not need to be boring or bland. That’s why the Diabetes Food Hub is packed with diabetes-friendly recipes that will keep your taste buds happy. Create a free account and save some new recipes that pique your interest. Use this month to try a new one, whether it’s every week or even every day. (We’d love to see pics of your creations on social—just use #DiabetesFoodHub.
November–Be Proactive Against Diabetes Complications
Unfortunately, there are many complications that can accompany diabetes. Taking good care of your body and monitoring your diabetes closely is the first step you can take in preventing them. However, use this month to book an eye exam to check your eye health, check yourself for diabetes-related foot complications, and talk to your doctor about checking for signs of kidney disease.
December–Focus on Gratefulness
Wrap up the year by writing down one thing you are grateful for each day. It helps train your brain to focus on positive things instead of wallowing in the negative. You can also spend time expressing gratitude to your support network whether it be a caregiver, that friend who always listens, or an online community that’s always there. Let them know how much you appreciate their support on your journey to a better wellbeing.
No matter what goals you decide to achieve this year, the American Diabetes Association® is here to support and cheer you on. Happy 2023!