A:Behavior changes are tough to make. But setting speci;c
targets and making a plan to track
progress can help you succeed.
I tend to set weight-loss goals but abandon them in a month.
W;at’s a good strategy to help me stay on track?
KAREN KEMMIS, P T, DPT, MS,
WHAT TO KNOW
When it comes to goal setting,
broader isn’t better. Focus on the
details and think SMART.
Speci;c: The goal should be speci;c
and include details about who, what,
when, where, why, and how. Who is
involved? What do you want to
accomplish? When will you do the
activity? Where will you do it? Why do
you want to do it? And how will you
carry out the actions?
Measurable: You want to be able to
measure the steps that will help you
with your goal. For example, if you’re
trying to lose weight, determine the
number of calories you will need to
take in each day in order to lose, say,
a half-pound a week.
Attainable: A goal should be
something that you can realistically
achieve. Once you are successful with
your initial goal, set another one to
continue with your progress. A;er you
lose 10;pounds, for instance, plan to
lose another 10 until you hit your
overall weight-loss goal.
Relevant: Determine why it is
important to change your behavior,
and write it on paper. You may want to
lose weight to improve painful joints
or to help with blood glucose control.
Time-bound: Assign a speci;c time to
your goal. It may be best to set a
relatively short time frame, such as
four or six weeks, to improve your
focus and dedication to the behavior
change. At the end of the time
period, you can reevaluate your goal
and make adjustments—or create a
A general goal of losing 25 pounds, for
FIND OUT MORE
instance, doesn’t specify how you’ll go
about making it happen. A goal that
follows the SMART system—eating no
more than 1,500 calories per day for
six weeks in order to lose weight—is
speci;c. You can track your actions as
you work toward your goal.
Using the SMART system is the ;rst
step toward achieving your goal. Then
put the goal on paper so you can track
your progress. For example, keep a
daily log of the number of calories you
consume or write it on a calendar each
day. Achieving your goal one day will
help you stay on track the next. If you
struggle, you can see where that
happened and make adjustments for
the following day.
Changing behaviors to accomplish
goals can be challenging, but setting
SMART goals can improve your odds
of success. Pick a goal that is speci;c,
measurable, attainable, relevant, and
time-bound, then track your daily
progress as you work toward long-
Team up with a diabetes educator. They have the experience and training to help make
managing your diabetes easier. —Kellie Antinori-Lent, MSN, RN, CDE