The Pillars of Training: Part 4

Training = Efficiency + Intensity + Progression + Longevity + Goal


Factors that influence goals include,


Goal setting and motivation


When we set a goal, the brain starts to set the conditions that allow us to achieve them. The brain cannot distinguish between what we want and what we have. The difference between these two creates a host of emotions such as fear and anxiety, which can only be relieved through achieving the goal.

The neurotransmitter (chemicals that assist brain function) dopamine acts as a motivator and creates a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. It helps to keep us focused on our goals and motivates us to attain them by rewarding us via an elevation in mood.


The “endowment effect” arises from taking ownership of an idea, object or person. When we own it, it becomes integrated into our sense of identity. In turn, this makes us hesitant to part ways; this loss triggers a dopamine shut-off.


The bigger the goal, the more fear and anxiety your brain will create. In order to counter-act this, it only makes sense that we break these goals down into smaller, more achievable targets. The more targets you own, the greater the potential for dopamine and the greater the potential for achieving that goal.

A tried and tested method for setting goals is SMART goal setting:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Time-bound

SMART goal setting takes the science of goal setting into account by breaking it down and considering the factors that influence a goal, as well as providing actionable steps.


A specific goal identifies the components of that goal and allows you to start working towards it.


A measurable goal makes it easier to execute by providing markers for progress.


An achievable goal is relative to the experience of the one setting them.


A realistic goal means you need to be realistic with the commitments required for that goal.


A goal must have a start date and an end date in mind. This is where you can begin to plan for the short-term, mid-term and long-term.


Despite having a SMART goal, it is important that we do not focus too much on the long-term. The short-term is where the action takes place and the short-term is the starting point.


Set a goal. Execute. Celebrate. And keep it moving.

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