What are your most important health concerns?

Completing the health assessments will help you identify and develop personal health goals and priorities. Think about your goals and write them down, using these helpful guidelines: 
  1. Be specific. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and want a better understanding of your disease, formulate the goal in simple, clear terms. For example:  “I want to understand why it’s important to take my insulin dose twice a day.” If you want to lose weight, you might write: “I want to lose enough weight to fit into a size 8 dress by summer,” or “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months.” 
  1. Be realistic. Don’t set a goal that’s impossible to achieve. For example, if you rarely exercise, don’t write, “I want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the month.” Instead, you might start by saying, “I want to walk for 20 minutes every other day by the end of next month”.
Include “feelings” goals. Some goals are hard to express but are just as important to your health. These may include your energy level or feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger. Be sure to evaluate how you feel, perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10, or in a journal. Awareness of your feelings is an important step toward improving your health. For example, “I feel sad almost every day,” or “I just can’t keep up anymore – I feel like my energy level is about 2.”  This type of information is important to share with your health care team so “feelings” goals can become part of your action plan. For example, “I want to feel happier at least half the time by 3 months from now.”  Or,  “I want to get my energy level up to a 5 or a 6 by the end of the year by exercising more.” 

What do you want to tackle first?

Setting priorities is best accomplished through discussions with your family and health care team. Share your personal goals and discuss what seems most important to you. Let them make suggestions or comments. For example, your family might suggest that your weight loss goal of 20 pounds in 2 months is unrealistic; they know you too well! Your doctor may say that the most important goal in terms of your overall health and quality of life is to bring your type 2 diabetes under control within the next 3 months.
Recognize that you can’t accomplish all your goals overnight. Choose one or two goals to work on over the next 3 to 6 months. Then add another goal or two, or modify a goal that you haven’t yet achieved.
Determine what you need to achieve your goals. Is it a specific diet suggested by a nurse educator? Is it better information about your health risk factors or a specific disease?
Finally, record your priority planning in a notebook or in a Word document on your computer, listing:
  • the specific goal
  • time frame
  • resources needed
  • progress

You are now prepared to discuss the next steps on the road to better health with your doctor and other heatlh care team members!

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