Dental Practice Management: Don’t Lose Enthusiasm for 2013

Each January, across the country, gyms and health clubs become very, very crowded.

It happens like clockwork, usually starting within the first day or two of January. Then, after a week or two, the crowds slowly start to thin out. Within a month, gyms are more or less back to their pre-January usage levels.

Why is this?

Simple: New Year’s resolutions. In December, as individuals and families plan for the New Year, they set goals and look for ways to better themselves. One of the most popular is always some variation of “get in better shape.”

So they join the local gym!

But after a few weeks, they settle back in to their old habits and they lose the motivation to get themselves out of bed or off the couch.

This problem is hardly unique—in fact, we dentists are often guilty of the same exact thing.

We set ambitious goals for the New Year, and start off the year determined to do things differently. But after a few weeks, the motivation is gone and things go back to normal

But it doesn’t have to be this way. And one of the most important things you can do to combat this tendency is to make sure that you’ve set the right goals.

Take a look at your goals right now and ask yourself:

Are they measurable? To be effective, your goals must be specific and measurable. “Grow the practice” isn’t either. Get specific—for instance, maybe your goal is to increase profitability by 15% as compared to 2012. This type of specific goal gives you a clear target to aim for.

Is there a date associated with each one? To be effective, your goals must be time-sensitive. Everything should have a deadline—otherwise there is no sense of urgency, and it’s easy to “let things slide.”

Are there action steps for each goal? Setting a goal is like choosing the destination for a journey. But without a detailed map, you won’t get there. Don’t just create a goal, create a list of action steps designed to get it done!

Is there clear accountability? Finally, there must be accountability. If you’ve assigned certain parts of the process to members of your team, follow up with them regularly. If the goals rest primarily on your shoulders, find a friend, a colleague, or a family member to hold you to them.   I lean heavily on my old dental school buddies who have shared and similar goals and aspirations.

Don’t let your enthusiasm for 2013 wane! Instead, take this opportunity to review and revise your goals to make them even more effective. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today!

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