It’s that time of year when we reflect on the days that have passed, and look to the days ahead. This year has been like no other that I’ve experienced, full of highs, lows, the mundane and exciting. There are a number of things that I am thankful for professionally and personally and it is these things, and goal setting that help me through the times that are hard and sad.

I’m a big advocate of goal setting and it really is that time of year when a lot of goals or resolutions are set. Something to keep in mind when setting a goal is to be specific. Think through and clearly define and articulate what your goal is and why it’s important to achieve, what difference it will make in your life.

If you set a goal to simply ‘eat better’ it becomes a loose goal with loop holes. Eating better is great when it is clearly defined. Think about what this looks like compared to the current state of eating. Does eating better mean eating 2 serves of fruit everyday for 2 months? or forever? Does it mean drinking 2 litres of water everyday? Drinking 2 units of alcohol 3 times a week? Eating a serve of fish? Goal setting is an effective exercise when done well.

When you have clearly defined the goal include time frame, think about what to do if you miss a milestone or slip up. Do you get on with it? Double up or down the intake the next day? Whatever you do don’t beat yourself up. Recognize it, acknowledge it and move on.

Be sure to set a reward for achieving your goal. Just as I’m a big advocate of goal setting, I’m equally as enthusiastic in celebrating goals. This could be buying something I’ve had my eye on, eating a treat, having a special occasion wine.

Goal setting keeps us moving forward, and helps us to move on from things that have been challenging. It gives us something to look forward to on dark days, and a reason to celebrate on the bright ones.