Make a Plan Towards a Healthier You in 2016

By the National Diabetes Education Program

The beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to look ahead and think about what you want to do to improve your health. Even if you know what you want to do, figuring out how to do it and fitting it into your daily routine can be a challenge. Making changes step-by-step – such as losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active – can go a long way towards better health.

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a program of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), has valuable tools and resources to help you get started.

The first step is to make a plan. The NDEP’s Make a Plan tool (http://ndep.nih.gov/resources/diabetes-healthsense/make-a-plan.aspx) can help you think about what is important to you and your health and how you can break down your goals into small, achievable steps. This tool will help you set one goal to work on first. This should be something that is important to you, and is something that you are willing and able to do.

For instance, if your goal is to be more active, you may want to start walking 10 or 15 minutes a day. Make sure your goal is realistic. If you know that you work late, it might not be realistic for you to say that you are going to go for a walk after work. Instead, you might try getting out for a walk in the morning, or using some time during your lunch break to fit this in your schedule.

Choose one goal to work on first. Start this week. Pick one change you can start to make immediately.

Don’t give up. It’s common to run into some problems along the way. If things don’t go as planned, the NDEP’s Make a Plan tool can help you think about other ways to reach your goal.

Another resource to help you with your health goals is the Weight-Control Information Network’s (WIN) Changing Your Habits: Steps to Better Health tip sheet (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/diet/changing-habits/Pages/changing-your-habits.aspx).This resource can help you understand and overcome barriers to accomplishing your health goals and provides tips on how to keep your health goals part of your daily routine.

For more information from the National Diabetes Education Program and other NIDDK programs, please visit niddk.nih.gov.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.