Good Intentions

Good Intentions

The intention to do something has long been thought of as a good way to measure what people actually do. In other words, people who say they are going to do something are more likely to do it. But many studies examining the intent to exercise showed a 48 percent gap between people’s intentions and their actual activity.

Why Exercise Is So Hard To Do

Most people have heard all about the benefits of exercise. Regular physical activity helps you look better, feel better and live longer. And if you have diabetes, you know there is an added benefit of lowering your blood glucose levels. But, for most of us, even though we want to exercise and be healthy, it still remains a struggle to get up and do it.

Activity monitors are new devices that help you achieve your fitness goals by tracking your calories, steps and distance. Some have apps for your smart phone that can help you track your results and keep you motivated.

Making It Work For You

The most important tip is to take the time to figure out what will work best for you. You are the one who knows best what will motivate you to get started with an exercise plan that you can stick to. For some people, it is exercising with a friend, and for others it is time alone. Some people do better with a class, while others prefer to exercise when they want to or in the privacy of their own homes. Some exercise early in the morning, while others prefer later in the evening to ease the stress of the day.

A good way to figure out what will work for you is to come up with a list of ideas and try them out.

Write down whether or not you exercised and also make note of:

  • your blood glucose levels before and after exercise
  • how you felt
  • what helped you to do your exercise
  • what got in your way


Write it on your calendar or enter it into your smartphone. Think of exercise as an appointment you are going to keep, just as you do the other things on your schedule.

Habits are things you do regularly without thinking, like brushing your teeth. You probably don’t have to think about whether you will brush your teeth before you leave the house: you just do it. When you make exercise a habit, you are less likely to talk yourself out of it—you’ll just do it.

No matter how good your plan, things happen that get in the way of exercise. After all, diabetes is only one of many things on your to-do list. But if you find you’re often unable to exercise because of your schedule or other events, it’s likely that your plan is just not working. That does not mean you have failed, it just means you need to come up with a Plan B for when things get in your way.

By Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE

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