So this is the first of what we’re calling the psych series on the TDFC blog. In each post I’m going to blog about different topics in sports psychology and how they might impact your diabetes management or how you play sport. After all, diabetes is a chronic medical condition that requires continuous self-management. Whilst diabetes is a physical condition, there are psychological factors that influence your management and impact your sport and exercise experience. For example, diabetes may give you anxiety before a big performance, or poor levels may leave you feeling frustrating after you play. Or perhaps, testing around your teammates has an impact on your confidence? Some, or all of these may have an impact on your relationship with sport and exercise and it is my hope that through this psych series, you find some useful bits of information that can help you have a great experience with sport and exercise. I hope these posts are helpful and I look forward to any feedback or questions you may have.
Your driving force
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic medical condition that requires self-management day to day, hour to hour. When considering trying to be physically active on top of that and the challenge increases. The aim of this blog is to help you develop a clear mission for why managing your diabetes is important not just for the health reasons but to help you get the best out of your physical activity. To establish your driving force. No doubt there will be days where the frustration of not being able to just turn up to play the same way your friends do, or perhaps the aggravation you may feel when you must check your levels and your teammates are warming up can be overwhelming. Creating a clear mission and having that written down somewhere you can see often, will help you on those days. It will remind you doing the things that must be done, will help you in the long run.
How to develop your driving force
When you have some free time, take 3 minutes to jot down as many reasons that you love to play football (or any other physical activity you engage in). There are no right and wrong answers and don’t worry about grammar or spelling. With no restrictions, right as many as you can. Once you’ve done that, select between 5 and 10 of those reasons and underline them. Now, for each of those reasons, write down the best things you can do to help you achieve your goal. To save me trying to explain this further, I’ve completed this exercise with Chris to provide an example. Having completed those steps, you should have a list of reasons and behaviours that will help you reach your personal goals. Lastly, I want you to write at the bottom of your page, a clear mission statement that sums up the reasons you do what you do. Again, if you’re stuck just look at the example for some ideas. If you are struggling for time, make the exercises shorter by listing less reasons. For example, 3-5 reasons instead of 5 -10. This may also be helpful if you are a parent trying to complete this with your children. This exercise is great for helping to take ownership of your sport and helping you push through those days when you are feeling low or motivation is hard to come by.
Please check out Chris’ example below for how this could turn out for you.
I hope this helps and as always, please feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions.