September 14, 2023

Goal Setting for Diabetes

General Health

Over the last few months, we have discussed a lot of different lifestyle and behavior changes related to diabetes. Now we want to talk about implementing these changes. Every person with diabetes is different and how they manage their diabetes may be different. Making goals in managing diabetes is personal and may be different for every person. The key to being successful in goal setting and goal keeping is to set a goal that is important for you.

The first step in goal setting is deciding which area of diabetes management to focus on. Some people with diabetes may prefer to set a healthy eating goal whereas others may be focusing on physical activity or consistent blood sugar checks. Each of these areas are important for diabetes management, but one may be a priority over the others at this time. To set a goal, you may want to think about what is most difficult with managing your diabetes. Next think about how making a change in that area will affect you. If you do not make a change, what will happen?

When making a goal it is helpful to use the SMART acronym to determine your goal: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific.  First, choose a goal that is specific. This means choosing a goal that focuses on one change rather than an overall broad change. An example of this would be: “I will eat one vegetable every day with my dinner meal,” rather than: “I will eat more healthy foods.” The first goal sets a specific goal rather than just setting a general goal.

Second, choose a goal that is measurable. This helps you know when you have completed your goal. It may be measured by times per day, times per week, or length of time.

Third, choose a goal that is achievable. You want to make sure that it is realistic for you to attain your goal. Walking every day for 10 minutes may be an achievable goal whereas running 10 miles every day may not be.

Next, choose a goal that is relevant. If you are planning on making changes for your diabetes, it is important that your goal pertains to your diabetes management rather than some other aspect of your life.

Last, choose a goal that is time specific. Add a time frame in which you wish to complete this goal. An example of this is: “I will check my blood sugar every morning and record the numbers for the next 3 months.”

Once you have made your goal think through different ways to help yourself achieve this goal. Write the goal out and place it somewhere you will see it regularly, set a reminder on your phone, or tell you family members about your goal.

If you reached the end date of your goal, but have not achieved your goal yet, that’s ok. Life happens and sometimes things do not go according to our plan. Even if you did not achieve your goal, you still made progress and you likely learned something about yourself or how you should create a different goal in the future. If you did achieve your goal, it may be time to set a new goal. Continue to build on the changes that you have made to continue to manage your diabetes.

Funnell, M. (2020). Life with diabetes: A series of teaching outlines. (6th ed). American Diabetes Association.