Being SMART about the future
The New Year is a time to reflect on that which has past and that which is yet to come. Many people have New Year resolutions in mind that reflect along the lines of getting fitter, eating well, travelling or being less stressed. People set goals to fulfill these new promises to themselves and step forward positively. So perhaps, whilst all the good will and intent is in the air, it is also a perfect time to reflect on the journey your practice is taking also.
In fact, the very essence of your dental business can be dependent on how mindful you are about the things you want to achieve in your practice. As depicted in Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, an annual review of past, present and future performance is no bad thing and its very reflection can help to determine a more secure and happier future.
The daily grind and “busyness” of our lives can mean that we lose focus easily and become distracted by unimportant trials and tribulations. Many people find that their lives can go in dozens of different directions throughout the year and, as a result, they seldom accomplish their major objectives in life. This is because as business owners we have to wear many different hats and the entire act of juggling all the seemingly important things in our lives can place stress and strain on us as individuals. There is also pressure applied to the business however, the consequences of this are precariously not seen in the short term.
Hence, a review of where you want to go with your business is an essential management task that needs to be thought about in detail. Here are some questions that may help in this analysis:
- Am I on track to attain my vision?
- What worked well last year?
- What didn’t work as well?
- What changes can I make in my practice to help overcome my difficulties?
- How can I measure these changes so that I stay on track?
- What achievable goals can I set?
However, setting attainable goals is not to be taken lightly. It’s one thing to want something to happen but quite another to actually set a goal to make it happen and work towards that goal in a conscious dedicated and consistent manner. Many people may feel “ I’ve tried that goal-setting stuff before and it didn’t work”. Most people agree that goals are important but there seems to be a huge discrepancy between goal setting and goal-achieving. This is because action is required on a continual basis. But more importantly you should only be setting goals that a) you really want to accomplish and b) that are realistic to achieve.
This means getting SMART about your goals:
The S stands for Specific
This means setting specific boundaries around that goal so that you will know when you have achieved it.
The M stands for Measurable
This means you can track how far along the line you are to success.
The A stands for Attainable and the R stands for Realistic
This means that you should only have goals that are out of reach but not out of sight, i.e. achievable in your mind.
The T stands for Timely
This means you need to set a deadline when this task must be completed; otherwise it remains a point of stress on your “To –Do” list.
10 Steps to setting benchmarks for a successful year:
- Create a vision
- Set SMART goals
- Identify what you will gain by this process
- Understand who will be carrying them out
- Know the challenges that lie between you and your goals
- Consider who can help you
- List the skills or knowledge that you require
- Develop the plan of action
- Take the action and make it happen
- Celebrate your success
So, learn from the past, take action in the present and look towards the future without losing focus. Make 2014 your year of success and a happy new year to you all.
DWB working in close association with The Perfect Smile Advanced Training Institute