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Positively healthy

Living with diabetes

Whether you’re managing diabetes or supporting someone who is type 1 or type 2, it’s not always easy. Everyday decisions like what to eat can affect blood sugar and overall health. So how can you stay motivated or help someone stay on track? It starts with a good outlook.

Are you often thinking about what you “should” be doing? These thoughts don’t tend to be helpful. They can make you feel guilty and often lead to avoiding. Start working toward more encouraging thoughts. Instead of “I should eat healthy foods,” you could think, “I get to eat healthy foods.” Over time and with practice, you can create a mindset that will motivate you.

Staying motivated

Whether you have diabetes or you’re caring for someone who does, here are some tips to help you along the way. 

Set goals that work for you

There comes a time when you realize you want to make a change — a shift that betters your health or your quality of life. The first step is to find what motivates you. Ask yourself: “Why do I want to make this change?” “In what ways will this change make my life better?”

Start with small steps

For example, if you want to be more active, start with a short-term goal of walking for 10 minutes three times a week and then work up to an hour for each walk.

Caregiver tip: Recognize and celebrate wins when goals are met to help motivate! Use non-food rewards like a movie night or a bike ride.

Take care of you

Pay attention to your health. In addition to your doctor, visit your dentist regularly and have your vision checked. If you’re having a hard time emotionally, seek professional help through a counselor or therapist. Reach out to people who encourage and motivate you. It may include a doctor or other health care professional, family and friends or an organized diabetes support group.

Caregiver tip: Be that support system for those in your life.

Remember why it matters

It’s OK to feel discouraged sometimes. Just remember why it matters. Keep a list of what inspires you to stay healthy. Then look at it when your motivation is low.

To learn more about diabetes, log in at and look under “Stay Healthy.” 

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Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Aetna and Healthwise are not responsible for the decisions you make based on this information. If you have specific health care needs or would like more complete health information, please see your doctor or other health care provider. For more information about Aetna plans, refer to

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