Reviewed by Robert Ehrman, MD
In his book, The Tipping Point, written primarily for businesspeople, Malcolm Gladwell describes a “tipping point” as the point at which change just happens, seeming to happen naturally and quickly. In business, marketers strive to find the point at which sales of their product go up. So, how does this concept relate to diabetes?
Here’s how. A great deal of taking care of your diabetes involves making changes—you need to be active, making choices about food, checking your blood glucose and taking medications, among other things. Many of these changes have a big impact on your life and your family.
Taking care of your diabetes can sometimes feel like more than you can handle. It’s difficult for many people to keep motivated day after day. Finding your tipping point can help make living with diabetes less of a struggle.
What is a tipping point for diabetes care?
For some people, it may be wanting to take better care of their health so they can feel better and live their lives with more energy. For others, it could be the desire to stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. Or it may be wanting to be a better parent, spouse, employee or grandparent. Some people want to be around for their grandchildren, or to dance at their children’s weddings. Others want to feel in charge of their diabetes rather than feeling like their diabetes is in control of them.
Finding your tipping point does not mean that you are always faithful to what you set out to do or are always able to make the changes you plan to make. Instead, your tipping point becomes the way to keep yourself motivated when you are having a bad day or when times get rough. It is a way to stay focused on your goals.
It also helps to remember that little things can mean a lot. Taking steps toward a larger goal is another way to stay focused on the end results. This helps you feel less discouraged when things do not go the way you planned.
Can you find your tipping point?
Start by thinking about what is important to you in your life. Does anything inspire you to make changes? What helps you when the going gets tough? You may also want to think about what is “worth it” for you. What are the things that make life more enjoyable and worth living? Are any of these worth the hard work of making changes?
Some people find that it helps to make a list of what they will gain by making changes and what they will give up. We often have to give up something when we make changes. Most of us decide to make those changes when we see that by doing so, we will gain more than what we give up. You might find that it helps to take a few minutes each day to close your eyes and picture yourself having met your long-term goals. This is a way to stay inspired and motivated.
Change is disturbing when it happens to us. People do not choose to have diabetes, so the changes that are needed can feel imposed rather than chosen. It is human nature to resist that type of change. It may help to remember that even with diabetes, making changes is a choice you have. You also get to choose the type and extent of these changes.
Finding your tipping point puts you in charge of the choices and changes you make. It might help to write your own story about your life with diabetes. You will feel more power and control over your life, and you can use your tipping point to keep yourself on track. Although diabetes may start you on the road to making changes, living life to the fullest may be the end result.