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How to Use SMART Goals for Type 2 Diabetes Self-Care

SMART goals for diabetes management

Although there is more than one way to set a goal, your Level2 coach will advise you to make SMART goals. SMART is a method of creating goals so they are easier to define and more achievable.  

Let’s break it down: 

What is a SMART goal and why is it important? 

SMART is an acronym for a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, Time-Bound goal. SMART goals increase our focus, motivation and help identify what success looks like.  

What questions help us make our goals SMART? 

  • Specific – What exactly do I want to accomplish and where will this goal take place? 
  • Measurable – How will I know when the goal is accomplished? 
  • Achievable – What can I realistically achieve with this goal and in this time? 
  • Relevant – What makes this goal important to me? 
  • Time-bound – When will I start and when will I accomplish this goal? 
  • Who can support me? 

Start setting SMART goals 

Let’s look at a few examples of lifestyle changes you may wish to focus on… 

  • I want to exercise more  
  • I want to lose weight 
  • My blood sugar spikes after eating 
  • My A1C is too high 
  • Increase self-monitoring 
  • Connect with my healthcare team 

Example one: I will exercise more (not SMART)  

Ways to make it SMART:  

“I choose to exercise for 4 days a week for 20 minutes at my local gym.”  

“I will exercise at the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 9:30am for 20 minutes, starting tomorrow.” 

Example two: I want to lower my A1C (not SMART)  

Ways to make it SMART:  

“I will wear my CGM 7 days a week for the next 3 weeks.” 

“I will eat protein and fat before my carbohydrates for lunch 3 times this week, and chat with my coach.” 

“I will fast for 16 hours a day (8 hour eating window) for the next week.”   

Example three: I will eat healthier (not SMART)  

Ways to make it SMART:  

“I choose to eat 4 servings of vegetables 2 days a week.” 

“I will replace ice cream with a protein snack in the evening 4 days this week.” 

Problem solving: Try it out 


When planning out your goals, consider the following questions. It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal. 

  • What barriers could get in your way? 
  • What strategies could you use to be successful? Think about your strengths that have helped you be successful in the past. 
  • Who can support you with this? 
  • Assess your environment – does anything need to change? 
  • How will you track progress? 


On a scale of 0-10 how would you rate your confidence in achieving this goal? If 7 or less, revise the goal or review strategies to help you get to a confidence level of 8 or above. 


Gauge your progress.  What did you notice as you reflect on your experience?  What helped you be successful?  What barriers did you encounter?  How can you overcome the barriers for next time?  Will you stick with this goal or change your focus?