Training goals are important. Without them, we lose direction, motivation and focus. Our training then becomes less effective and less consistent. I feel that is the value of the personalized training program I write out for my clients. They have a plan (that is specific and appropriate for them) that gives them a center of focus, raises motivation, and improves consistency. These intangibles provide the mental basis for which specific, physical, objective goals can be pursued. Your mind and your thoughts are a powerful determinant of your success.
I spend a good part of my week writing out programs to help clients pursue and achieve their goals. I sometimes lose focus in my training and end up just doing whatever I can. I know better. I know specific goals will help me stay focused and improve my motivation. Yes, even I lose motivation time to time.
An important component of effective goal-setting is to make the goals as specific and objective is possible. Also, goals should include not only outcome-orientation (losing twenty pounds), but also process-orientation (training four days per week, for 45 minutes). You can read more about outcome and process-orientated goals here.
So, one of my goals is to improve leg strength, power, mobility, and single-leg stability (I partial tore my left hamstring two years ago). I have pursued maximal strength lifts in the past (barbell squat and deadlifts), but want to stay in my philosophy of "moving well." While I still see value in training the "big lifts" and use them as part of my program, I want my goal to be more specific to my needs. I figured out my new training goal, yesterday. The Pistol (single-leg squat)-Lateral Hop complex is it. I was able to perform six good reps yesterday and in the past have done 8-10 Pistols in a row. However, single-leg stability and endurance (my heart rate was 160 bpm after only 6 reps) are challenged more with a 48" Lateral Hop. Check out the video. My new goal is 30 good reps of the Pistol-Lateral Hop Complex without falling down.