Garner has also found that breaking a daily 30-minute physical activity goal into shorter sessions is helpful for some people. “You don’t have to do it all in one lump,” she says. “Walk 15 minutes in the morning and then 15 after dinner.”
Feeling accountable for results is also helpful, according to Garner. She asks her patients to keep a diary of their blood glucose levels, diet, and activity and to bring it to follow-up appointments. Knowing that she’ll be reviewing the diary provides motivation for some.
Garner also emphasizes the importance of having realistic expectations. “You have to go slow, take precautions, set small goals, and measure them so you can be successful. Otherwise, you’ll become demotivated and won’t want to exercise.”
For Haidee Merritt, following through with a planned activity comes down to acknowledging the difficulty of staying motivated and taking the first step. “Sometimes during my workout I just burst into tears because it’s so frustrating that I’ve lost feeling in my feet and can’t perform the activity well or for very long,” she says. “But once I finish a workout, I never regret doing it.”