This past week marked a major milestone in my commitment to creating optimal health in my life. As I shared in a June “TED* Thoughts”, several years ago I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – my primary health Challenger.
The major measure of average blood sugar over a 3-month period is Hemoglobin A1c (just A1c, for short). Generally, anyone with an average A1c of over 6.5% is diagnosed with diabetes, while 6.0-6.4% puts one in the pre-diabetes category. When I was originally diagnosed, my A1c was over 7.0.
Results of my blood work this week came in as 5.8%. I was thrilled to see the lab report say in black-and-white, “normal for a non-diabetic.” As Dr. Scott Conard commented upon hearing of the results: “You are now ‘un-diabetic.” (Scott is my coauthor of the forthcoming book, Diabetes and The Power of TED*:A Story of Health Empowerment.)
The baby steps of creating optimal health are paying off! Healthy eating, regular exercise, and inching ever closer to a preferred weight are proving that diabetes – in some fortunate few – can, in fact, be reversed.
Mine has. So, goal accomplished. Cross it off the “to-do” list. Move on to the next thing. Right?
Hardly. While it is a time to pause and celebrate – which I am – having achieved this success brings with it another subtle Challenger: what to do when a goal has been obtained.
When tasks and goals are rooted in the problem-focused, anxiety-based and reactive Victim Orientation, success is often the precursor to eventually returning to old habits and behaviors. The reason is that anxiety really drives this personal operating system. When a goal is accomplished from this mindset, the intensity of the problem (e.g. diabetes) diminishes, so the anxiety decreases as well. Since anxiety drives the problem-solving behavior, there is a tendency to not continuing to take action. Over time we return to our default ways of being.
Alternatively, achieving success from a Creator Orientation, is a time to, again, celebrate and – most importantly – reflect on what contributed to the success and what lessons were learned in the process of creating the envisioned outcome. That’s what Challengers do – they spark learning and growth. Receiving the diagnosis of diabetes has certainly served as such a Challenger in my life.
Applying the lessons learned to now maintain, and maybe even incrementally improve, my A1c readings is my new vision. Continuing to create optimal health is a foundational choice that will continue to unfold and take shape through additional successes (and, no doubt, at time setbacks).
Success can be a conscious Challenger that causes us to pause, reflect on what’s been learned and to envision how to applying those lessons as we continue to create.