In dental school, we learned how to do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). As dentists, we’re so focused on doing this at a professional level, but forget to do this in our personal lives. I’ve seen this lead to colleagues feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. I’ve noticed times I feel unfulfilled or discontent is when my actions are not in alignment with the greater vision for my life. Sometimes we are reaching for goals that we didn’t even set for ourselves. Reflecting at the start of a new year, quarter, semester, or any new transition is a perfect time to reflect on previous goals and get clear on future goals. It's important to reflect, get clarity, dream big, create a vision, set intentional goals, and break it down to SMART goals and daily habits.
I see it in a Macro ➡️ Micro perspective
my Vision and Dreams are who I want to be
my Goals are where I want to go
my Habits are how I’m going to get there
I recommend sitting down for 20-30 minutes to sit down and think about some of these questions:
- What were my 4 big goals from 2021?
- What HAVE and HAVEN’T I achieved, learned, launched, etc?
- What brought me the most joy in 2021?
- What am I most proud of from 2021?
- One year from now, who do I want to be? What is my vision?
- What are my core values? (for me, it’s connection, freedom, adventure, community, growth)
- How do I want to feel at the end of the year? (calm? healthy? less busy? more fulfilled?)
- What qualities must I possess to feel the way I want? (more organized? focused? consistent? committed? creating more impact?)
- What are 4 BIG dreams/goals I have that are aligned with my vision of who I want to be? (for example, find a new associateship, start teaching at a dental school, buy or start a practice, start a side gig, build a consistent yoga practice, start a podcast or blog, commit to learning a new dental skill, learn to golf, take control of my health, buy a new xyz, travel more, learn a new language etc.)
- When I think about the person I want to be, what actions and habits does that person have?
- Now this is the fun part! Pick ONE goal per quarter. We have to cut away the things are not aligned with our vision. Break down each quarter into SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely)
- specific- what do you want to do?
- measurable- how will you know when you’ve reached it?
- achievable- is it in your power to accomplish it?
- realistic- can you realistically achieve that?
- timely- when exactly do you want to accomplish it?
- Lastly, write that shit down! Maybe a photo or two. Stick it to your bathroom mirror, take a picture and make it your phone lock screen, tell your partner or family for accountability, etc.
- Re-visit this plan every quarter. And give yourself grace and flexibility to modify. It’s okay to change what you want.
This is a super fun process that I love going through myself. I’ve found that having a plan actually creates more freedom for spontaneity! It keeps me true to my vision and values, so I don’t clutter my life with the things that make me feel more busy and stressed. I hope you give it a try!
What other annual check-in things do you do for yourself?