Module 2: Knowing Your ABCs

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes

For the complete discussion guide, download this page as a  [PDF – 181 KB]

What You Need to Know
woman taking her blood pressure

Diabetes increases a person’s chance of developing certain conditions that can put their life at risk, but controlling the ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking cessation) can prevent serious complications of diabetes. The goal of this session is to help participants understand how to use the ABCs to track progress in these three areas, providing important steps they can take to lower their chances for heart disease and stroke, and helping them set goals to improve their health.

Discussion Time: 45 to 60 minutes


  • Diabetes and heart disease
  • The ABCs of diabetes
  • Managing your ABCs
  • Barriers to changing behavior
  • Goal setting discussion

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Name each of the ABCs for diabetes management.
  • State their target goals for A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking cessation if they smoke (or how they are going to determine them).
  • Name three behaviors they want to change to manage their ABCs.
  • Name at least two factors for successful goal setting.

Suggested stories for this module:


Key Messages

  1. Diabetes increases risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The number one cause of death among people with diabetes is heart disease.
  2. Remembering the ABCs can help participants track and take steps to improve these levels to lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.
  3. People with diabetes can work with their health care team to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely, and trackable). These goals can then be reevaluated and changed as needed.

Connecting Threads

Connecting Threads are topics that can be incorporated into New Beginnings sessions depending on the goals and needs of your participants.

Recommended Connecting Threads:

Going Virtual Tips

  • Take a few minutes at the beginning of the session to explain the features of the video teleconferencing platform and the ground rules for virtual sessions. For example:
    • Mute video or phone when not speaking.
    • Say your name before speaking (especially on the phone).
    • Participants are not required to have or use a video camera.
      They can submit photos of themselves instead. This may make group members more comfortable.
  • Instead of pairing off participants into the activities of this module, use the breakout room feature of your video teleconferencing platform (if available) or go around the “room” and have each participant share with the whole group. See the Connecting Thread: Facilitating New Beginnings Online [PDF – 221 KB] for ideas for adjusting activities for virtual groups.
    • The video stories for this module can be played by sharing your screen (and computer audio) through your video teleconferencing platform. Another option is to share the links to the videos with your group members by email before the session starts.
  • The audio stories can be inserted into the New Beginnings PowerPoint template [PPT – 599 KB] along with images that reflect the story.
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Page last reviewed: May 18, 2022