Welcome to our SMART goal setting activity. This month we will be helping you set realistic goals, and provide advice on the steps you can take to achieve them.

The first step of making change in your lifestyle is desire. Once you have the desire to change, you are officially on the right track to beginning your journey! This activity will help anyone, regardless of what yours goals are. This HOW TO activity will be focusing on healthy eating for people with diabetes and obesity, but this can apply to anyone regardless of what you want to change.

Start off on the right track by setting SMART goals.
SMART stands for:

Time Frame

Setting SMART goals will help you:

  • Focus on specific behaviors and skills that you want to change. Make your goals realistic and achievable by thinking about creating small steps to start.
  • Remember - Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be kind to yourself just as you would to your patients in this journey. Turn big goals into mini-goals.
  • In other words, make some short term goals and long term goals. Realize the power of your intent, and have a vision or goal and how that relates to growth. Keep your goals big, so it keeps you motivated, yet small enough to be attainable.

For Diabetes Facilitators: Ask your patient some big picture questions and then ask some more pointed questions that will help to define specific, actionable steps. Consider asking, “How would you like to feel in 3 months?” Next ask, “What do you think needs to be done to feel that way?” and then, “What can I do to help you get there?” This way you can achieve true concordance—a partnership and agreement. Give your patients positive encouragement. Ask each patient “What will you do differently before the next time we meet?”

Questions to ask when you are creating goals

What are your long term goals?

What are your short term goals?

What is your action plan?

Who is your support network?


Be Specific: Be Specific with your food, goals and activity level.

The more specific you are about your goal, the more you will be able to track your progress and measure your success.

  • ŠWhat will you do? Purge your cupboards with bad food? Buy a new healthy cookbook? Look for healthy cooking blogs?
  • How will you do it? Ask yourself, will I ask for help from my support team? Who is included in your support team? Do you have a coach, a spouse or significant other? Children? Physician? Will you sign up for some diabetes education sessions taught by a registered dietitian?
  • When will you start? Monday morning? The first of the month?


Example: A goal to eat smaller portions or more vegetables is not very specific. Instead, set a more specific goal to: Eat 4 oz of skinless chicken breast and five portions of vegetables everyday.


To assist in your SMART goals, try using programs that aid in your journey:

  • Learn how to use a Smartphone and download an engaging activity app to help motivate, guide, and track your journey - higoalsapp.com.
  • Pre plan menus, such as Gathered Table.


Make your goal measurable.

Set a goal that you can measure, in other words put a number to it. This will help you to track your progress. For example, a goal to be more active cannot be measured very well. You can, however, measure a goal to walk for 30 minutes three times a week and track it in your Hi.goals app or journal.

Think about:

  • What you will measure? Will it be your activity? The number of hours that you sleep?
  • How often you will measure it? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
  • How you will track it? In your smart phone? In a journal? With your support group?


Example: Measure your water intake to ensure you’re getting 64 oz a day.



Set small, achievable action-oriented goals.

Set goals that you have control over and can change. Focus on behaviors or an action rather than thoughts and feelings. For example, a goal to reduce cravings for sweets (a feeling) would be hard to achieve.

However, a goal to replace cookies or cakes as a dessert at supper with fruit is an achievable action-oriented goal.

Think about:

  • What will you reward yourself with instead of that piece of chocolate cake? A fresh bowl of fruit and a cup of hot tea?
  • How will you plan your reward so that you keep up your good work? Planning ahead by adding those rewards to your grocery list? Writing down your goals and successes daily?
  • When will you reward yourself? Once a day? Once a week?


Example: Curious about that fancy fruit that you’ve seen at the grocery store? Treat yourself to it and cut it up into a beautiful bowl.



Be realistic and reward.

Be realistic about the goals you set for yourself. Choose a goal that you know you can achieve. This will help build your confidence and set you up for long-term success. Reach for low hanging fruit - literally!  When declaring your goals, try to focus on the easiest goals to attain first and once those have been achieved, take the next step towards something a little more challenging. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Think about:   

  • What will you do to start your new workout routine? What three days a week will you designate for your minimum workouts? What type of workout will you participate in? Will it be walking, swimming, or weights?
  • How much time will you be designating to each workout? An hour? A half hour? Or, even 15 minutes?
  • Where will you workout? At home? At the gym? With your girlfriend, walking around the neighborhood?


Example: Start with a 15 minute workout or activity as opposed to a full hour if beginning a exercise regime, and begin with three days a week as opposed to six days a week.



Give yourself a Time Frame.

Give yourself a period of time or a target date to work on achieving your goal. A time frame will help keep you focused and motivate you to reach your goal. One week to one month is usually a good time frame to start with. Start with baby steps by giving yourself one goal for the first week, adding on additional goals every week once you have mastered your individual goals. Plan ahead and be prepared for obstacles.

Think About:

  • What will make it hard for you to reach your goal? Temptations such as dessert? Making the time to work towards achieving your goals?
  • What can you do about that now? Replacing dessert with healthier options such as a fruit? Allocating one hour a day to making progress with your goal?

Plan ahead for when you have parties or family gatherings so you don’t loose track of your new healthy lifestyle. Remember the reasons why achieving your goal is important to you.


Example: Improved health or having more energy to play with your kids may be the reason behind your goal. Remembering this will help you to stay motivated.

Tell others about your goal and share the progress you are making. Celebrate your successes no matter how small.



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