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Personal Goal Setting for Living Well with Diabetes

Living with diabetes can be challenging, as it requires you to manage blood sugar levels and make healthy lifestyle choices. Also, keeping track of everything can be overwhelming, including monitoring your blood sugar, taking medications, eating well, and being physically active. However, setting specific and realistic goals can help you stay motivated and focused on your diabetes care.

Why set personal diabetes care goals

Setting goals is a common practice in healthcare. Though when it comes to changing our behavior, everyone is different. We each have our own reasons for wanting to change and challenges that get in the way. If you set a personal goal, make a plan, and track your progress, you can increase your chances of making important behavior changes.1

How to create your diabetes care goals

You may have heard of the “SMART” criteria, a set of rules for creating goals. It’s often used in healthcare to help people better define their health goals and measure their success.2

It can be useful to learn how to make “SMART” goals, an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound:

  • Specific: A specific goal is clear and well-defined.
  • Measurable: A measurable goal is quantifiable and trackable.
  • Achievable: An achievable goal is realistic and attainable.
  • Relevant: A relevant goal aligns with your values and purpose.
  • Time-bound: A time-bound goal has a deadline and a sense of urgency.

By setting SMART goals, you can break down your diabetes management into manageable steps and track your progress along the way. You can also celebrate your achievements and reward yourself for your efforts.

For example, you may want to increase your physical activity to help achieve an activity goal of 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. But, you’d like to start slow. An example of a SMART goal might be “My goal is to take a 10-minute walk, 3 times a day” for a specified number of days or weeks. This SMART goal should be intrinsically motivating, enjoyable, and tailored to your activity level.

  • Checking your blood sugar. Ask your healthcare provider when and how often to check your blood sugar. For someone who’s told to measure their levels twice a day, their goal may be “I will check my blood sugar every morning and evening and record them in my journal.” (Did you know that if you’re a member of the Sincerely Health Diabetes Program, you can record your numbers in the app?)
  • Making healthy food choices. You could try planning meals ahead of time, and when you’re on-the-go, carry baby carrots, nuts, or sliced apples with you.
  • Learn coping skills. Having diabetes can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do to cope. You could try spending time with friends or doing something you enjoy, like a hobby, taking a walk, gardening, or listening to your favorite music.

Tip: Remember, you’re in charge of your own goals. Also, knowing that challenges will come up will help you come up with ideas on how to overcome them. Not all changes need or can be made at once – and small changes can have big rewards1.

If you’ve been recently diagnosed or even if you’ve lived with diabetes for years, diabetes programs like the Sincerely Health Diabetes Program can help you with practical skills and keep you on track.


1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DSMES New Beginnings Module 2. 

2: Bailey, R. Goal Setting and Action Planning for Health Behavior Change. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2019. 

3: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Steps to Help You Stay Healthy With Diabetes.


The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied on as medical advice. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, evaluation, or treatment of a qualified health-care provider. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, or if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. You should consult a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and before starting a new diet or health program. Statements within this article have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.