Premier Dental - December 2019




How Goal Setting Is Good for Your Life — and Your Teeth! GOING FOR THE GOAL

I have never thought a truly good life is built in a day. Instead, it takes hard work and dedication to better yourself over days, months, and years.

I don’t just save my reflections for yearly increments, either. Every 10 years, I reflect on all the positive things that happened to me over the last decade. I like to focus on and write down my accomplishments and good fortune, which allows me to see that despite a lot of challenges, life has been good, and I’ve moved forward in positive ways. If I don’t do this, I can get so mired in the “now” that I don’t see how far I’ve come. If it’s difficult for a patient to complete a lot of treatment all at once, I recommend a measured, step-by-step approach. This way, we can make forward progress without being overwhelmed. So, first, I may concentrate on just putting out fires, such as cavities and infections causing pain. Then, we concentrate on obtaining a good foundation, which often involves working on gum and bone tissues. Finally, we then concentrate on strengthening weak teeth before filling in the missing spaces and holes that the previous treatments failed to cover. Sometimes we cannot take a measured approach, as there are emergencies that crop up. But as time and finances permit, we can speed up the goals or slow them down. This approach has let my patients see that each week, each month, and even each year, they are improving. It gives patients hope and doesn’t make things overwhelming. As with most people, I don’t always accomplish everything on my list, but if I’ve gotten to three-quarters or even half of my goals, I consider it a good year. Rather than setting quick, unrealistic goals that I must abandon because I’ve put too much pressure on myself, my aim is for steady improvement over time that lasts.

As the end of the year approaches, I like to reflect on a year well-lived. I look at both the good and the bad of the past 365 days, but I especially focus on the good. Like most people, some of my years are better than others. If it’s been a rough year, I’m grateful we made it to the other side. If it’s a good year, I’m grateful for our good fortune. I have also always been a fan of goal setting. For years, I’ve set personal goals. Different than New Year’s resolutions, these overall goals focus on areas of accomplishment and improvement. My goals for the year are separated into four categories: personal life, career, health and fitness, and personal development. Personal Life I may consider working on close family relationships, or I may call friends more. Sometimes, I focus on how I spend my time and the places I may want to visit and explore. • Career I look for innovations in the dental field or current areas I’d like to improve at my practice. • Health and Fitness I may focus on changing dietary habits, such as drinking more water or cutting down on certain foods. I could even try a different form of exercise. • Personal Development I may try to find a new hobby or perhaps take a few classes in an area of interest. For example, I used to choose a country and would read all year about its history, political system, social customs, cuisine, holidays, and celebrations. Some years, I have more time than others, so I’ve accomplished more during those years. Regardless, I try not to make too many unrealistic goals, and I don’t beat myself up if I’m unable to meet everything. There is only so much time in one day, one week, one month, and one year. But when I take a year to change things, it feels doable. •


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Have a wonderful new year, and good luck with your goals!

—Hema Gopal, DMD


Published by The Newsletter Pro •

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