I’m taking some time off next week, so I’m addressing the topic of New Year’s resolutions a bit early. Besides, it never hurts to have extra time to really think about your dentist goals and decide how you want to improve in the coming year. As a dental coach, New Year’s is one of my favorite holidays. I love the opportunity to make a fresh start, to abandon the mistakes of the past, and to throw myself into personal and professional growth. However, it is important to establish your resolutions in an effective way. How often have you made a resolution only to have it fail by February? If you’re like most people, this happens every year. To make sure you keep your New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to set specific and practical goals.
Establishing Your Dentist Goals
As anyone who has worked with me knows, self-guided assessment is fundamental to my work as a coach. To affect lasting change in your life, it is important to know who you are and where you are going. Before setting your New Year’s resolutions, you must establish two things:
- What is most important to you?
- What keeps you from making those things the focus of your life?
Often, writing can help with this exercise. Sit down and make a list of the things, people, and ideals that you value most. Include all aspects of your life, including your practice, your family, and your spiritual or mental wellbeing. Once you have created this list, make a second list – what did you spend most of 2014 thinking about? Maybe some things will be on both lists. Look at the things that are on the first list but get overshadowed by the items on the second. Your New Year’s resolutions should revolve around cutting back on the less important things and focusing on those that are essential to your very being.
Making Change Happen
Of course, all this heady and theoretical work is important, but it will get you nowhere if you do not have a practical solution for reaching your dentist goals. Often, the solutions will be apparent. Poor communication or time management skills are often at the heart of our problems. When we are constantly frazzled, thinking about all we have to do on a daily basis, it takes all of our energy. Find those core issues that cause you problems and create a specific plan to change your life. A New Year’s resolution of “Improve Communication” will fail by February, if not by January 2. Unless you know how you’re going to improve, it will be impossible to do so. Instead, resolve to “Improve communication by holding morning huddles, taking a communication class, and verbally expressing appreciation at least twice a week.” When you are that specific, you can look back on December 31, 2015 and honestly say that you fulfilled your New Year’s resolution.