How To Set SMART Goals for Diabetes!

Last Updated on by Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES

Goal setting is important for success, which is why I want to make sure you have the resources needed to set monthly goals or even become a daily goal setter. The method I use is creating SMART goals for diabetes.

You will quickly learn that setting goals for 2024 (and beyond!) is simpler than anticipated when you follow my 4-step method. It is a framework that was created with you and your health in mind.

Benefit of Goal Setting

There is not one but multiple benefits to setting goals. You will have a clear and concise plan to follow that can translate into achieving a desired outcome.

Goal setting for diabetes management is especially crucial because it allows you to narrow in on your care and create a personalized plan.

Whether looking to increase your daily physical activity, reduce your Hemoglobin A1c or spend more quality time with loved ones, goal setting will get you there.

Gray background with summary information from blog titled "How To Set SMART Goals for Diabetes!"
Infographic states:
"goal setting for diabetes care:
make a list; pick a priority; create a SMART goal; identify a supporter"

My 4-Step Goal Setting Method

I know that goal setting can be overwhelming, which is why I created my 4-step goal setting method. It is a simple yet effective way to create goals that you can (and will) achieve.

The 4 steps:

  1. Make a List
  2. Pick a Priority 
  3. Create a SMART Goal
  4. Identify a supporter
Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES typing on a laptop.

1. Make a List

The first and honestly most important step – making a list! For this step, grab a pen and paper or type electronically then list all the habits, qualities or desires you would change.

There is no right or wrong way to create this list. You could have 5 or 500 items listed. The point of this activity is to allow yourself to become more self-aware and visually see your habits (or lack of).

This activity also serves as a reminder of all the influences that impact your health. From sleep and physical activity to hydration and mental wellness, all play a role in your ability to manage or prevent the progression of diabetes.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and stuck on where to begin, here are habits that I frequently hear from my clients that they are looking to improve or change. Use any of these to kickstart your list!

  • Sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Physical activity level
  • Hydration
  • Decrease Hemoglobin A1c
  • Manage blood sugars at meals
  • Prevent prediabetes from progressing to diabetes

2. Pick a Priority

Now, take your completed list and either star, circle or highlight the top habit you want to focus on. (Keep the rest of the list, you will need it later!).

3. Create SMART Goals for diabetes

For the third step, you will complete a smart goal activity by taking your top priority and creating a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Go ahead! If you need a reminder on how to write a smart goal, check out the examples below.

Examples of SMART goals:

  • I will improve my sleep quality by listening to mediation before bed each evening.
  • I will walk outside for 10 minutes at a slow pace every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • I will commit to drinking 20oz of water each morning upon waking.
  • I will order a non-starchy vegetable with my meal each time I dine at a restaurant.
  • I will eat 1 cup of vegetables at lunch each day.
  • I will invest in myself by working with a diabetes dietitian for 3-months to create a personalized nutrition plan.

4. Identify a Supporter

Last but not least, identify a supporter as you start making strides in reaching your goal.

You are not meant to tackle your diabetes journey alone. Finding someone that can support you and keep you accountable is necessary. This person could be a medical provider, mental health provider, family or friends, or a diabetes dietitian

If struggling with how to start the conversation with the person you identified, use any of these examples:

  • I have committed to getting my health on track this year, will you hold me accountable?
  • Spending more quality time with friends and family without worrying about my diabetes is important to me and I need some support.
  • Are there any resources that can help me track my daily blood sugars so I can gain a better understanding on how food impacts me personally?
  • Are you interested in working together to manage our blood sugars?
Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES, diabetes dietitian, teaching a patient about diabetes.

Create New Goals!

Remember how I told you to keep your list? You can now use my 4-step method to create goals for all those habits one at a time. You can’t go wrong when setting SMART goals for diabetes.

Explore More

Flourish with Diabetes!

If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!

Springtime Nutrition logo, green leaves with green writing.

Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life?  Get started today!

Stay in the know and be the first to hear about new blog releases, launches, exclusive promotions and so much more! Sign up for the Springtime Nutrition newsletter- simply complete the form below!

headshot of Kari Garner, owner of Springtime Nutrition
Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist/ Registered Dietitian/ Owner / Springtime Nutrition, LLC

Kari is a diabetes expert with more than 18 years of experience. Kari currently works as a diabetes educator with a large hospital system in Charleston, SC and is committed to improving the lives of people with any type of diabetes.

Scroll to Top