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SMART versus SMARTER: Which would you rather be?

Jan 09, 2018

I wanted to take advantage of my first blog for 2018 by reflecting on what most of us typically think about on January 1 (or prior to the first of the year). What are my resolutions? What are my goals for the upcoming year? Obviously, the first thought was “Of course – let me think SMART about this.” We teach our patients about the SMART goals and use it for ourselves to have a simplified approach to goal setting. We know that SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. 

Recently, I was enjoying five minutes of social media time, when I noticed a post on Facebook from one of my friends. She is a coach for a weight-loss clinic and shared information about another acquaintance who lost 40 pounds in four months. With the post, she attached a picture of the SMARTER goals. I was intrigued because this success story can be useful for clinical practice when speaking to patients about weight loss.

I did not read the image immediately, but I took a moment to think about what the E and R stood for. I could not guess, so I investigated and found a great explanation on “How to make smarter goals” from a lifecoach named Tim Brownson onadaringadventure.com. After reviewing the picture, I saved it on my computer in order to utilize it for myself in the upcoming year, but also to promote among people with diabetes as they set new goals towards diabetes management.

Here is summary of the SMARTER goals:

  • Specific: Clear, easily understood
  • Measurable: Quantifiable, trackable
  • Action-oriented: Reality, action
  • Realistic: Achievable
  • Timebound: Timeline, deadlines
  • Ecological: Per adaringadventure.com, “Your goals have to be relevant to the big pictures. There’s no point in setting goals that may damage your health or relationships with loved ones.”
  • Rewarding: Per life coach, Tim Brownson, “Ask yourself – Why am I doing this? This is the part where you have to know what your values are. Know what motivates you and keeps you driving forward if and when things get tough.”

Applying the SMART goals to clinical practice and our diabetes services can allow help us, as diabetes educators, improve the chance of achievement and success among our patients. 

Which would you rather be this year – SMART or SMARTER?

Think about trying this new approach by implementing it during the month of January with patients and evaluate the results for achievement of goals in three months. Share your findings in the comment section of this post for future reference.

I wish everyone the best for improving your current or future clinical services in the field of diabetes for the upcoming year!


Jennifer Clements

About the Author

Jennifer Clements received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Campbell University in 2006 and completed a primary care residency at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2007. She is also a certified diabetes educator and board certified in pharmacotherapy. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy.

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