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4 Steps for Physicians to Achieve Goals in the New Year


Don't waste your time with resolutions. Set your goals properly in order to achieve your objective.

2017 is the start of a new year. How often have we approached this time with all kinds of resolutions, the majority of which are quickly forgotten within a matter of days?

To make inroads in 2017 on long-standing goals or aspirations, it’s best to abandon resolutions altogether. They have no real power. They might sound good and temporarily make you feel good, but they pale in comparison to effective goal setting.

Reaching Your Goals

When you set goals properly, you increase the probability of movement in that direction and of achieving your objective. So what are the fundamental aspects of goal setting? Fortunately, they are relatively simple, and they are completely within your grasp.

The fundamentals of goal setting include quantifying your goal, establishing a time line, putting your goal in writing, and plotting the steps to reach your goal. Let's review these items individually:

Quantifying your goal - It's wonderful to say that you want to be more efficient this year than last year or to attract more new patients, or to lose weight. Unless you attach a specific number to your goal, you are pretty much wasting your time. If you want to attract 10 percent more new patients this year over last year, that is specific. If you want to lose eight pounds, that is specific.

Establishing a timeline - By when do you choose to accomplish your goal? Do you want to attract 10 percent more patients in the first quarter of the year, or the first six months, or within 12 months? Do you wish to lose eight pounds this month, within two months, or in another specific time frame?

Putting your goal in writing - Unless you write down your goal and review it on a periodic basis, it carries little weight. A verbally announced goal might sound good, but unless you've written it down, it simply isn't for real.

Plotting the steps to reach your goal - The last of the elements to effective goal setting is to identify the series of steps needed to reach the end line. If you seek to lose eight pounds, perhaps you will choose a goal of losing two pounds a week for four weeks, or two pounds a month for four months. In support of this quest you might choose to eat a heavier breakfast and a lighter dinner; give up pasta, potatoes, or starches; attend an exercise class twice a week; and so on.

Steps Matter

As you guessed, the specific steps that you list in pursuit of a goal becomes all important in its ultimate realization. Announcing a quantified goal, establishing a time line, and putting your goal in writing, are all essential. If you don't plot the steps, however, you might not ever begin.

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