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SMART goals: what they are and why you need them.

Whether your goals are personal or diabetes-related, make sure they’re SMART.

SMART is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. By defining your goals using SMART, you can break down exactly what you’d like to accomplish, when you’d like to accomplish it and how you plan on doing it. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of the elements:


The more specific you are about your goal, the more likely you’ll be to achieve it. Describe it in detail: are you aiming for a particular time in range? Do you want to inject 20 minutes before you eat breakfast? Well defined goals are also easier to measure. 


Once you’ve established your goal, you’ll need to come up with a way to measure your progress. The criteria you use here are the ‘stepping stones’ on the way to the end result – achieving your goal.


This is probably the most important element. Whatever you’d like your goal to be, make sure it’s possible. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big, just that your goal should be attainable. Setting realistic goals will help keep you motivated, rather than setting you up for failure.


To make sure the goal you’ve set is relevant, ask yourself why it’s important to you. How does it line up with your values and other long-term priorities? What difference will it make in your life? Is it meaningful to you? If you’re struggling to answer these questions, you may want to rethink the goal you’re focusing on.


Your goal should have a start and end date. By giving your goal a deadline (whether there is a real time constraint or not), you add a sense of urgency. This will automatically make you more motivated to achieve your goal and help you stay on track. 

Of course, any diabetes-related goal will be relevant to your long-term health, but is it also specific, measurable, achievable and time-based? SMART goals help you create realistic goals that can keep you motivated.

Your SMART goal

Write down the framework below, and fill in the details to set your SMART goal for the month.

S = Specific

M = Measurable 

A = Achievable

R = Relevant

T = Time-based

What to read next?

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Exercise, a little every day:The ultimate guide to diabetic exercise, including how to make it fun!

Time in target: what it is, why it’s important, and how it can help: Understand the new measure that’s more helpful than the HbA1c.

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.