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Dr. Stephen Covey is a mesmerizing lifestyle guru who has revolutionized business management with his seven principles of living life effectively. When his wife was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he was shocked to learn that four out of five people don't know how to manage their diabetes.
And he realized that his seven attitudes could help those people gain control of their lives.
Together with Bayer Diabetes Care and the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), he has created a booklet melding his seven management principles with the AADE's seven self-care behaviors. It's a powerful little tome that aims to teach people to begin with global principles of effective living and then use those principles to guide their responses to diabetes.
The first principle, "Be Proactive," teaches us that although we have no control over what life brings us, our response to those circumstances is entirely within our control. It involves being "response-able," and is the opposite of being reactive, which leads to a passive resignation and a demoralizing sense of powerlessness. In exercising this habit, you choose to respond to diabetes proactively and take the actions that will benefit your health.
The second habit, "Begin With the End in Mind," means that we need to articulate our ultimate purpose and then set goals that will lead to its achievement. Making decisions in harmony with our values, we can take small steps that, together, will take us toward the end that we envision.
The third principle, "First Things First," tells us to focus on what's really important, not just urgent superficialities that do not further our mission. Keeping our vision in mind, we can decide on whatever aspect of our self-care is most important and then choose to take care of it first.
Habit Four, "Think Win-Win," is an interpersonal principle. It's about creating the positive energy of cooperation that helps us work effectively with our medical team and our loved ones.
Habit Five, "Seek First to Understand," transforms the process of discussion by teaching us to really listen to others, allowing us to understand and then be understood by our healthcare team and our family of support.
The sixth habit, "Synergize," encourages finding a solution that is greater than the sum of the parts, a solution that flows from understanding and is win-win. It helps us build relationships with others that lead to progress as an effective diabetes self-manager.
And the seventh habit, "Sharpen the Saw," involves sharpening ourselves, taking time to engage in activities that make us more effective. A habit of sharpening the saw in the physical, mental, spiritual, and social realms will lead to the realization that diabetes does not change our lives; rather, we change our own lives.
Dr. Covey says that by incorporating the first three habits of self-management and personal leadership, the next three of interpersonal leadership, and the last habit of self-renewal, his wife transformed her diabetes from a negative into a positive for herself and their whole family. It's all about personal responsibility and integrity, he says. "The heart of the whole thing is finding meaning to your travails, to have some sense of purpose that drives you on. I'm going to find meaning in it, and I'm going to use it to bless not just my life, but other people's lives."
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People With Diabetes booklet is available at www.diabetes7.org. It's free. The AADE seven self-care behaviors (Healthy Eating, Being Active, Monitoring, Taking Medication, Problem Solving, Healthy Coping, and Reducing Risks) can be found at the AADE's website at http://www.diabeteseducator.org.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.