Now that we are well into 2016, how many of us have actually managed to successfully keep our New Year’s resolutions? Remember those? Have we followed through with our exercise regimens or plans for professional and personal development? Are we still focused on growing our business or are we simply trying to make it through each day?
Whatever the case, the majority of New Year’s resolutions typically fail by February 1. Why? Because we often set personal and professional goals that are unattainable or impossible to adhere to over time because they come from a negative place, such as “This year, I won’t ____.” Or, “I’m going to exercise an hour every day.”
In other words, we focus on negative generalities rather than on positive courses of action, or we set goals that are unrealistic and unattainable. Believe it or not, there is good news!
You Don’t Have to Wait for New Years Day
Just because January 1 rolls around every 364 days does not mean that it’s the only day when we can set personal and professional goals. After all, that puts a lot of pressure on one day! With March upon us, we can start the habit of setting healthy goals that will lead to ongoing success. While many people consider January 1 a fresh start on the year, any day can become a fresh start or a new beginning with the right mindset.
Trust Your Instincts and Set Your Own Goals
Just like you wouldn’t set the same goal as your neighbor, we must also remember to set our own unique goals for their practice. While we dentists are usually confident in our clinical skills and scientific knowledge, when it comes to business and leadership skills, there’s very little training in these areas offered in dental school. As we develop our own practices, it’s easy to second guess our business acumen, leading us to trust someone else’s advice in the industry – even if it goes against what we know has worked in the past. This is a huge mistake! Just like personal goals, our goals are not one-size-fits-all. They should be tailored to you, your team and your practice.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “The devil is in the details”? The same proves true for goals that fail as a result of being too general or vague. If you set a New Year’s goal to lose weight, consider everything that goes into that goal. You need to know your healthy weight range and daily calorie intake as well as practical exercise options to help you shed pounds. If you don’t take the time to consider these factors, then chances are you’ll be discouraged and give up when you don’t see quick enough results. The same is said for professional goals. As dentists, our clinical skills and knowledge are very specific as we take a course of action to treat our patients. Similarly, we should always have specific objectives and detailed plans of action to ensure our goals are attainable.
Regardless of whether it is January 1, August 15 or another day in the year, you can set healthy attainable goals today that will guide you on the path to success. In doing so, remember to focus on the positive, trust your instincts and set a specific plan of action that will motivate you to become the best dentist and person you can be.