When you have a chronic health condition, you are in charge of managing your condition. This is called self-management. Like any manager, you are in charge of making decisions about your condition and ensuring that these decisions are acted on. You must gather information, seek advice, and work with others to get things done.

There's no way to avoid being a self-manager - even choosing to do nothing is a self-management style. But how you decide to self-manage your condition can make all the difference between having the condition take over your life and living a full and happy life with the condition.

To get the most out of life, you'll need to become an active, positive self-manager. There are a few key skills you will need to learn:

  1. Skills to take care of your condition: These skills will vary depending on your condition, and may include things like using a new medication, cooking healthy food, or doing specific exercises to strengthen your body.You can also talk to your physician or primary health care provider to find a diabetes education program near you.  
  2. Skills to keep up your normal life: You may need to learn new skills to help you keep up your daily activities and relationships and solve new problems that your condition may cause in your life.
  3. Skills to handle your emotions: Having a chronic health condition can bring many new emotions, such as anger, depression, isolation, or frustration. You will need new skills and support to deal with these emotions.

It also helps to have an approach for setting and achieving goals to help you manage your condition. Here are the basic steps you'll need to follow:

  • Choose a goal to accomplish.
  • Identify different ways to accomplish your goal.
  • Make an action plan.
  • Follow your action plan.
  • Take a look at your results and make changes to your action plan if needed.
  • Reward yourself for things you've done well.