If you're on track with your diabetes management, you deserve a reward! Take a second to think about how you usually reward yourself. Is it with a slice of pizza? A pan of brownies? A candy bar? It's tempting to use food that you stay away from as a prize for your success, but it's not going to help you in the long run.
When you're trying to form a new habit, you're far more likely to stick to it if you associate it with positive feelings. This might sound obvious, but it's actually been scientifically proven. Psychologists refer to this concept as "positive reinforcement." Essentially, the process of creating a habit requires three steps: cue, routine, and reward
is trigger that leads to the habit behavior.
- For example, an alarm on your phone may tell you to it's time to hit the gym and exercise.
is what follows the cue.
- In this example it would be going to the gym.
is what follows the routine, and it is what we use to decide whether or not to repeat the routine.
- For example, you can allow yourself to listen to a audiobook only when you're working out. If you give yourself a good reward, you're likely to repeat the habit behavior for the sake of it! So...
Treating yourself can provide you with the motivation and reinforcement that you need to stay on track with your diabetes management.
The key here is to use things that aren't food to reward yourself. While food may provide instant emotional gratification, it can really hinder your diabetes management. You don't want to spend an hour power-walking to eat back all those calories in a muffin!
Changing habits can be really difficult. Not sure where to start? Check out One Drop's Guide to 50 Ways to Treat Yourself
- the dangers of associating unhealthy food with good behavior
- ideas for better, longer-lasting ways to reward yourself for your handwork!