Making Diabetes Changes: Force vs Flow

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Blog, Motivation, Ownership | 0 comments

At some point, most of us yearn for change—especially when it comes to improving our health. Yet, we often find ourselves resistant to it. The truth is, change is an inherent part of our lives. We’re constantly evolving, moment by moment.

The Nature of Change

Change happens naturally and continuously. Every new piece of information we receive, and every experience we go through, subtly shifts our perspectives and actions. This process is so seamless that it often goes unnoticed, like water flowing down a river. Water finds the path of least resistance and effortlessly reaches new destinations.  From the moment you were born, you have subtly changed every day bringing you to where you are now.

Two Approaches to Change: Force vs. Flow

Since you are already changing, it makes sense to direct those changes in the direction of your definition of “better“.  Perhaps in your diabetes world, it is better glucose control, better ability to deal with stress, better options for caregivers, better food choices, and countless other “betters”.   When it comes to intentional change, there are two primary approaches: force and flow.

  1. Force: This method involves pushing, breaking, and redirecting. It’s like hammering through obstacles. While it can be effective, it requires a significant amount of energy. Forced change can alter your journey dramatically but can also be exhausting and sometimes damaging, especially when you’re not feeling your best. Save this for big emergencies and not day to day situations.
  2. Flow: This approach embraces natural, effortless change. It’s about finding the path of least resistance and allowing change to happen organically. For those dealing with health challenges, like diabetes, this method is less threatening and requires less energy. It aligns with our natural tendencies and promotes a sense of ease and well-being. This is a GREAT strategy that you can adhere to for a lifetime.

The Secret Ingredient: Willingness

The key to effective change is your willingness. When a change makes sense to you, feels positive, and fits within your realm of understanding, you’re more likely to embrace it. If you don’t like it, you will resist and, in time, become frustrated and stop doing what you don’t believe in.  In my coaching practice, I start with small, manageable changes that my clients are willing to make. This builds momentum and confidence.

Navigating Change with Intentionality

When you’re not in survival mode, intentional change is easier to manage. Survival mode (activation of your sympathetic nervous system) triggers short-term, reactive thinking, hindering intentional, long-term changes. Feeling safe and secure (activating your parasympathetic nervous system) is crucial for making thoughtful, intentional changes.  Only from a place of calm, comfort and peace can you think clearly enough to make beneficial, long-term decisions.

Here’s a simple, two-step approach to embracing change:

  1. Create a Sense of Safety and Well-being: Engage your parasympathetic nervous system so that you feel safe and comfortable. My favorite and primary way to do this is a technique that stimulates the vagus nerve called Polyvagal breathing.  Check out this free recording from my Insight Timer platform.  You can also give yourself “permission” to take time to do this activity.  When you are in charge, it increases your sense of security.  Lastly, become curious about this process.  Curiosity does not suggest judgment, outcome, or scrutiny, just a gentle wondering.
  2. Decide What You’re Willing to Change: Identify small, manageable changes that you’re willing to make. These should be steps that align with your goals and feel achievable.  Trust your gut to tell you what you “need” to take the first step.  It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but you.  Consider all the possibilities and do the one that feels right deep inside.  Do that.  See how it feels. Repeat.

By focusing on these steps, you can navigate change more smoothly and effectively. Embrace the flow, and you’ll find that change becomes a natural, positive part of your journey toward a better life with diabetes.  Just be sure to start small and do something you know you can do.

You got this!

Patricia Daiker Diabetes Coach



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