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The Importance of Goal Setting

By January 20, 2016January 21st, 2022Michael's Operatory

I’ve written about the importance of goal setting HERE. I usually discuss it at the beginning of the year. It’s a great way to start off. Have you written out your goals over the next 12 months? Over the next 3 years? How will you know where you want to end up unless you paint a picture? A lot of people don’t goal set. But you need to. And I’ll tell you why: if you write them down, chance are you will accomplish them! If you fail to plan, you’re only planning to fail.

So what kinds of goals am I talking about here? Well, I find that we typically share the same types of goals, like:

  1. Acquire a new asset (e.g. house, car, clothes).
  2. Get healthier.
  3. Have a family (marriage, children, etc.) and spend more time with them.
  4. Travel more.
  5. Make/save more money.
  6. Acquire a new skill (e.g. learn a new language, learn to play the guitar).
  7. Try a new hobby (e.g. golf, stamp collecting, acting lessons, wine tasting, etc.).
  8. Reinvest (this could be a home renovation, an office renovation/upgrade, etc.).
  9. Reduce risks (online risks, family risks, etc.).
  10. Do something charitable (e.g. volunteer in Jamaica this year ;-).

Now, within these categories, what you need to do is very simple: write down a few S.M.A.R.T. goals that you hope to accomplish over the next 12 months. So in 12 months from now, you will have that new house/car, have traveled to Italy, be 20 pounds lighter, be a better golfer, have $50k saved in the bank, and have volunteered in Jamaica. The point is this: if you accomplish the SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RESULTS-ORIENTED, and TIMELINE-based goals that you set for yourself, you will have a sense of accomplishment; you will be a better version of yourself; you will have had a successful 12 months.

Now here’s the kicker: every month you need to revisit your goals to make sure you’re on track. If you’ve properly budgeted for that expensive trip to Europe, then you must take it. Don’t even think about not doing it (unless there’s some kind of emergency). You owe it to yourself to go and fulfill one of your goals.

What not to do: procrastinate on achieving your goals, put up barriers (usually financially-based) as to why you can’t accomplish a goal, or forget about your goals.

The final piece to the puzzle…

Tell your personal and professional goals (but perhaps not all of them) to your family, friends and especially your team members. This will help them to start thinking about goal-setting for themselves. And here’s the best part: perhaps you can align your goals with theirs. Example: if one of your team members wants to make more money, and it’s a firm-wide goal to make more money, then you can incentivize and empower them to earn more money by having them make the firm more money! Build in a bonus system of sorts. This way your goals are aligned.   What about traveling more? You could combine that goal with getting continuing education credits and bringing some of your team members with you. This way, they accomplish their goal of traveling as well, will be refreshed when they get home, and the team will be better off because of the team building event.

I’ve spoken before about blurring the lines between work and play and here’s my theory: all of us choose to work where we are. We could be anywhere doing anything with anyone. But we’re not. We’re here with each other. So let’s make the best of it (to the extent that everyone’s a team player and drinking the cool aid that you’re pouring!). And let’s make it fun. And let’s leave a legacy (i.e. something to make the world a better place). And by using goal setting, we can make sure we’re having fun, leaving a legacy, and being successful in life 😉  Blurring the lines basically takes something personal (e.g. you love to run) and something business (e.g. you want to increase marketing exposure for your dental practice) and combining the two (e.g. you organize an event for patients to attend/participate in an organized run and have sponsors and giveaways, etc.). Now you’re blurring!

Good luck!

DMC