Caring Currents

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People With Diabetes

Last updated: Apr 03, 2008

Self-help guru Stephen R. Covey teamed up with the American Association of Diabetes Educators to adapt his international bestseller and business-world bible, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , to help people with diabetes (and their loved ones) see diabetes not as a setback but as a chance to take charge of their lives. Covey brings personal experience to the project: His wife was diagnosed with the disease.

The first few of Covey's seven habits, refashioned for people with diabetes and their caregivers look like this:

1. Be proactive: Many things in life are beyond your control -- and that may include a diabetes diagnosis. But how you and your parent respond to the disease is within your control. For your parent, that might mean thinking: "I choose to eat healthfully," instead of: "I have to eat healthfully."

2. Begin with the end in mind: Choose one behavior to target and set a small goal that can help your parent meet his ultimate purpose of successfully self-managing his diabetes. It might be getting your parent to commit to something simple like: "I will take a 15-minute walk every day."

3. Put first things first: Help your parent choose the behavior he finds hardest or the most frightening, and make it a priority. Maybe it's taking medication or monitoring blood sugar, make a choice to tackle the toughest thing first.

Words to live by, whether you or your parent has diabetes or not. If you've met with success helping your loved one manage diabetes through small lifestyle shifts I invite you to share them here.