Think about what you want to accomplish this year, then list how you can achieve your goals.
Editor’s Note: Physicians Practice’s blog features contributions from members of the medical community. The opinions are that of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Physicians Practice or UBM.
I have packed away the holiday decorations. I have also written off the missed opportunities and almost accomplished goals from the previous year.
I have started to focus my goal-oriented attention on the future. I have asked myself what I want to accomplish this year and how I will do it. Most of us take the New Year as a reflection point, a taking of an account, so to speak. I invite you to do the same. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish this year? How will I do it?
Here are five steps I am taking to accomplish my goals.
Our doubts can stop us even before we start, so start there. Identify your barriers: What do you think will stop you?
I want to elevate my public speaking to the national level. My inner critic quietly whispers my faults, my previous rejections, all the reasons I am not ready. We all have this inner critic. It’s how we choose to respond to it that matters.
This year, I shouted back at my inner critic: I am ready to try. I have practiced and improved my presentation skills. Observing experienced and talented presenters has helped me to fine tune my skill set. Feedback from regional and state presentations have helped me to smooth my idiosyncrasies and modify my style.
What about you? Are you ready to push back against your doubts and dream big?
Dreaming may be the first step, but you need take many more steps to get there. The second step is to plan out what you need to do to arrive at your destination.
I like lists. Their orderliness keeps me on target. Breaking down a larger goal into small actionable items rewards me with the ability to cross off my progress and encourages me to maintain the forward momentum. The mere act of writing down steps provides a tangible road map to follow.
Getting onto a national stage to speak about medical education, women in medicine, or another medical topic I am passionate about requires forethought. My initial steps include identifying relevant conferences and turning to my network of physician educators for opportunities. I will draft ideas for a few presentations. That way, I will be ready whenever calls for proposals are announced and submissions are opened. Then I will commit to submit. Each of those steps also can be further divided as needed.
What are your steps? What will your journey look like?
Don’t let the plan you have carefully detailed get in the way of actually reaching your goals. A change in timeline or new opportunities can bring you closer to success-if you maintain a goal-oriented perspective. For my own goal, tunnel vision could prevent me from seeing or seeking out previously unconsidered venues to speak.
When faced with potential opportunities and distractions, carefully consider how these affect your path. Ask yourself: Will this get you where you want even if the journey looks different? If it does, then consider taking an alternate route to your destination.
Sometimes, we get it wrong. Sometimes, we fail despite doing everything correctly. Learn and persevere.
I have submitted proposals that have been rejected. I have found that picking myself up, understanding provided feedback, and refocusing on the next submission keeps me from wallowing in discouragement.
Remember to celebrate even the small victories. I recently had a poster accepted for a national conference. It’s not quite a speaking engagement, but it’s still at the national level.
Each step forward matters. Look for wins that can keep you motivated on your journey.
I ask you again: What do you want to do this year? Once you have your answer, go do it!
KrisEmily McCrory, MD, FAAFP practices full scope, academic medicine in upstate New York. She works actively with family physicians both within the state and nationally in the area of medical education and curriculum, women’s health and maternity care, as well as issues related to the family medicine workforce.