How to Set and Achieve SMART Goals — in Life and Diabetes

By Wendy Gregor

How to Set and Achieve SMART Goals — in Life and Diabetes

Goals are steps that give you direction to achieve your ambitions. They provide excitement towards the possibility of the future. But if goals are too generalized or unrealistic, they could be detrimental in reaching your vision.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are intentionally specific and actionable so you can regularly evaluate your progress and increase chances of success. Using SMART goals can motivate you, build confidence, and enhance your own self-efficacy.

SMART Goals Defined:

  • Specific: Select one clear action that you want to accomplish.  
  • Measurable: Determine how you will quantify your progress so you can track it. 
  • Achievable: Set a goal that will challenge you, but something that is not impossible to achieve. 
  • Realistic: Determine what you can commit to and make sure it is within reach. 
  • Timely: Define the time frame for the goal. 

How to Set a SMART Goal:

Specific

Brainstorm what you want to accomplish. Identify what exactly will be required to accomplish your vision and what may get in the way. Determine why this vision is so important to you. 

  • General goal example: I want to be healthier. 
  • SMART goal examples: I will lose 10 pounds. I will lower my A1C by 1%.

Measurable

When you measure your progress, you remain on track — or can recognize when you're off track and identify ways to get back on track. Your goal is measurable when you can establish how you know it is finished.

  • General goal example: I want to be healthier by losing weight. 
  • SMART goal Examples: I will lose 10 pounds in 3 months by losing 1 pound each week. I will lower my A1C by 1% in 3 months. 

Achievable

Develop a challenging yet reachable plan. Don't sabotage your success from the moment you set your goal — set a goal that will push you but isn't out of reach.

Realistic

Make sure your commitment is within reach by considering all obstacles. Be sure your goal is realistic and within a reasonable time frame. If needed, research what is realistic based on evidence-based recommendations or speak with your doctor. 

  • General goal example: I want to be healthier by losing 10 pounds in 2 days by eating right and exercising.
  • SMART goal examples: I will lose 10 pounds in 3 months by losing 1 pound each week by cutting all of my portions by 50% and wait 15 minutes after meals to evaluate my hunger level. I will lower my A1C by 1% in 3 months by replacing starchy vegetables with non-starchy vegetables at 2 meals each day.  

Timely

Determine a deadline (rather than some time off in the future) to create a sense of urgency, accountability, and to eliminate procrastinating.

  • General goal example: I want to be healthier by losing weight, eating right and exercising.
  • SMART goal examples: I will lose 10 pounds in 3 months by losing 1 pound each week by cutting all of my portions by 50% and wait 15 minutes after meals to evaluate my hunger level. I will lower my A1C by 1% in 3 months by replacing starchy vegetables with non-starchy vegetables at 2 meals each day.
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How to Achieve a SMART Goal:

Act immediately after you develop and write down your SMART goal. Begin your goal be creating a time frame for when you plan to begin. For example, I will begin my goal tomorrow morning.

One of the most important parts of achieving your goals is setting the right goals. The SMART goal framework is a great way to put you on a path for success in accomplishing your goals — in life, and in diabetes.

 

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Orignially published on July 23, 2019, updated on July 23, 2019

Topic: Diabetes Management

Wendy Gregor

About Wendy Gregor

Wendy Gregor, MA, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with Cecelia Health. Wendy provides real life insights and recommendations to inspire clients to be their best with diabetes.