I am the educator in our weight management program tonight. I will talk about the benefits of exercise and how to get started. As part of this process, we will talk about setting goals. Creating behavior change goals and getting them down on paper is challenging for many people and can be difficult to facilitate as an educator. But, goal setting, and doing it well, is important. Earl Nightingale (1921-1989), a World War II veteran, author, and motivational speaker said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.”
A common method used for goal setting for behaviors is the SMART goal system. The letters can mean different things, but commonly refer to: Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Action-oriented, Relevant or Realistic, and Time-bound. Look at the difference between “I want to lose 25 pounds” and “I will follow a meal plan totaling up to 1500 calories per day for 6 weeks to lose weight.” The first one is vague; the second follows the SMART goal system. I know exactly what I plan to do, how I plan to do it, for how long, and why. I have a SMART plan! As diabetes educators, we facilitate goal setting and give encouragement to achieve the goal. “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination,” said Earl Nightingale.
But, we can’t be everywhere for everybody at all times. So, a resource has been created by AADE, the AADE Diabetes Goal Tracker mobile application for smartphones and tablets. Yes, there is an app for that! It is a free resource for you and people with diabetes that can help them set, track and achieve their goals related to managing diabetes. It is based on the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors™.
The app includes information about diabetes, complications of diabetes, the seven self-care behaviors, tips on setting goals, and an opportunity to set and track goals. Within each behavior area, there are some sample and community goals to provide an individual with ideas of possible goals and a direction on how to write their own. As a goal is set, the person names the goal, determines how they will accomplish it, thinks about possible barriers, and has the option of setting reminders. Since each of these steps can be challenging, there are Feature Goals that include all of this information to be used as a starting point or to get direction. Each person can choose to keep their goals personal or share with other users of the app. For each goal, the person can check-in to self-evaluate how things are going.
I was fortunate to be in the group that worked on the app and am very proud of how it turned out. It is user-friendly and has a positive feel to it.
For more information about the Diabetes Goal Tracker app, go to: www.diabeteseducator.org/goaltracker. You can find the app by searching for "AADE Diabetes Goal Tracker" on the iTunes or Google Play Store.
Give it a try and let us know what you think!