Setting goals: Making the ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ exercise choice

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

Now that the High Holidays have passed, many of us may have taken the opportunity for some internal reflection and are now ready to set some fresh exercise goals. This is indeed a wonderful time to embark on a new fitness path. However, without some guidance it is easy to fall off the exercise wagon, especially if the goals we choose really do not mesh with our lifestyles.

Exercise is not a cookie-cutter endeavor; what works for your friend, co-worker or neighbor might not necessarily work for you or even appeal to you.

The best exercise is one that will keep you engaged, wanting to return to the gym day after day in pursuit of physical betterment.

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Experts in the field of Exercise Physiology have devised a unique system to facilitate this decision-making process, enabling you to set fitness goals that are tailor-made to your parameters. This is known as the S.M.A.R.T. choice system. 

S.M.A.R.T. stands for the following:

– Sustainable: Choose an exercise goal that you personally feel you will be able to sustain, despite distractions and a busy schedule.

– Measurable: In order to keep yourself on track, choose a path that will enable you to see measurable results along the way, whether they are in the form of weight loss, reduced inches, or a better time in a sprint.

– Attainable: Some goals, while highly desirable, may be a bit too lofty to be realistic. Choose a fitness goal that you and your trainer feel is actually attainable, given your physical abilities and time constraints.

– Relevant: By choosing a goal that is relevant to your life, you increase your chances of success dramatically. Here in land-locked Missouri, setting a goal of becoming a world-class surfer might not be relevant…or realistic

– Time-Dependent: Setting a time frame in which you hope to achieve your goal encourages you to stay on task.

There you have it — the smartest way to choose the perfect fitness goal for yourself. Every so often, check back with this list to ensure that you are still on track with each of these aspects. The results will be rewarding!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.