Goal setting with diabetes reduces your risk of developing serious health problems. Create a plan of action to develop healthier lifestyle habits. Self-management of diabetes is easier and more successful when you set clear goals.
Goal-setting is necessary to self-manage diabetes. Discuss your goals with a diabetes educator to build confidence about accomplishing them. Your diabetes care team provides information and suggestions but you must do the work.
- Set SMART goals to manage diabetes. SMART stands for specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-limited. Goals need to be defined, attainable and accomplished within a certain time period. SMART goal-setting helps you keep your resolutions.
- Pick one but no more than three goals to get started. Write your goals down. It should answer the questions what, when, where and how often. An example is stating you will workout on the treadmill at the company gym after work three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
- Determine potential barriers to accomplishing your goals and ways to overcome them. An example is defining what to do if the company gym is closed after working overtime. Establish an alternative such as walking around the neighborhood after dinner for at least 30 minutes or breaking down the 30 minutes to two 15 minute walks during the work day.
- Once you are cleared to exercise by your physician, set a goal to walk daily for 30 minutes even if it is in smaller increments. Start walking three days a week up to 30 minutes then work your way up to everyday in a few weeks. Gradual goals build your endurance and create healthy habits.
- Meal planning helps you avoid the wrong foods to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit your total carbohydrates but include small amounts throughout the day. Drink six to eight glasses of water each day. Keep diabetes testing supplies on hand to regularly monitor you blood sugar. Record your blood sugar in a daily record booklet that you bring to every doctor visit or down load from your computer.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, set a reasonable goal for how much you want to lose in a specific time frame. A 1-2 pound a week weight loss goal is reasonable. Excess weight leads to high blood pressure, heart problems and other health issues. Check your blood pressure regularly with an automatic blood pressure monitor.
- Take medication as prescribed to achieve better diabetic control. Write down a schedule for taking medication. Stick to it to avoid fluctuating glucose levels and related health problems. Know the proper times.
- If blood sugar goes down under 70mg/dl or goes up to 180mg/dl for over three days, call or visit your doctor.
- Take control of your health. Stop smoking right away. Manage stress through breathing exercises and relaxation. Check your feet daily and wear diabetic socks that won’t restrict your circulation. See a dentist at least once each year. Visit an eye specialist annually. The eye exam must include a dilatation. Keep a calendar to monitor all your health care appointments.
Self-management is the best way to gain control over unhealthy habits and improve your lifestyle. Goal setting with diabetes minimizes health risks so you feel and look your best.